October 29, 2020
After recent public comments disparaging the legitimacy and training of osteopathic physicians, SNMMI joined with 32 other medical societies in the following statement of support.
The Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) is deeply troubled by the recent negative portrayal of osteopathic physicians. As leading medical organizations that represent more than 800,000 physician members across 45 specialty societies, we stand together to combat these ill-informed mischaracterizations.
We, the undersigned medical specialty societies fully recognize the qualifications and contributions of physicians trained in osteopathic medicine. Doctors of medicine (MDs) and doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) graduate from nationally accredited medical schools. Today, more than 25% of all US medical students attend osteopathic medical schools.
Just like MDs, DOs complete post-graduate training, including residency and fellowships, in their selected specialty field. Both groups have unified training requirements through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and meet the same licensure requirements. DOs and MDs practice side-by-side during and after this training in every specialty. Osteopathic physicians are fully licensed to practice medicine in all 50 states. According to 2019 figures from the American Osteopathic Association, nearly 57% of DOs practice in primary care specialties: 31.4% are family physicians, 18.1% are internists, and 6.89% are pediatricians.
Our organizations represent hundreds of thousands of physicians across the country, DOs and MDs alike. DOs and MDs take an oath to place the care and wellbeing of others before themselves, and their degrees do not alter that pledge or their qualifications to uphold it. As healers servicing the health needs of our country, all of us, with equal goals and a shared voice, must call out those who disparage our colleagues through racism, sexism, or misinformation. To do any less would blemish not one professional group, but all. We stand with our osteopathic physician colleagues and members, and together, rise to meet our collective call to ensure the health of all Americans.