Started this article as I began to investigate the history of physicians in the United States. I began in an effort to understand how MDs and DOs became physicians eligible to practice medicine, but DC followed a different path to chiropractic. In my preliminary efforts- I will try to outline the history of osteopathy, its founding, write about Schools of Osteopathy, and try to provide current information about the field.Nancy Sculerati MD 11:34, 11 March 2007 (CDT)
Howell JD. The paradox of osteopathy. New England Journal of Medicine. 341(19):1465-8, 1999 Nov 4. UI: 10547412:"In the spring of 1864, Andrew Taylor Still, a rural Kansas practitioner, watched helplessly as the best medications then available failed to save his three children from spinal meningitis. Still founded a school to teach his new system of osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri, in 1892...Osteopaths, on the other hand, have worked hard to employ the entire therapeutic armamentarium of the modern physician, and in so doing they have moved closer to allopathy.  The move toward assimilation became explicit in California in the early 1960s, when the California Medical Association and the California Osteopathic Association merged in what has been called the osteopathic profession's darkest hour.  By attending a short seminar and paying $65, a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) could obtain an M.D. degree; 86 percent of the D.O.'s in the state (out of a total of about 2000) chose to do so. The College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons became the University of California College of Medicine, Irvine. Many osteopaths feared that the California merger was the wave of the future and that the profession would not survive. But it did, and in so doing it may have become even stronger. D.O.'s are now licensed in all 50 states to prescribe drugs, deliver babies, perform surgery - in short, to do anything that M.D.'s can do."...Despite national recognition, osteopathy is still a regional phenomenon in ways that mirror its historical origin. The ratio of D.O.'s to the population varies by a factor of almost 3, from a low of 7.7 per 100,000 population in the West to a high of 20.4 per 100,000 in the Midwest; the number is 8.5 per 100,000 in the South and 18.3 per 100,000 in the Northeast. M.D.'s are far more evenly distributed throughout the country. ...Some leading osteopaths say that manual therapy should be part of almost every visit to an osteopathic physician. A recent president of the American Osteopathic Association claimed that he "almost always turned to [osteopathic manipulation] before considering any other modality," and he asserted that 90 percent of his patients got better with osteopathic manipulation alone.  Such claims underscore a raging debate within osteopathy and a disconnection between its theories and its practice. A 1995 survey of 1055 osteopathic family physicians found that they used manual therapy only occasionally; only 6.2 percent used osteopathic manipulation for more than half of their patients, and almost a third used it for fewer than 5 percent.  The more recent their graduation from medical school, the less likely practitioners were to use osteopathic manipulation, a finding consistent with the view that osteopathic practice is moving closer to allopathic practice. A decreasing interest in osteopathic manipulation may also indicate that more physicians enter osteopathic medical school not as a result of a deeply held belief in the osteopathic philosophy but after failing to be admitted to allopathic medical schools.  The osteopathic physicians who are more committed to osteopathic manipulation tend to be more likely than their colleagues to have a fundamentalist religious orientation. ...Although the number of allopathic medical schools in the United States has remained stable since 1980, at about 125, the number of osteopathic medical schools has increased from 14 to 19. The number of graduates each year has increased at an even more disproportionate rate. The number of graduates of allopathic medical schools has increased only slightly, from 15,135 in 1980 to 15,923 in 1997, whereas the number of graduates of osteopathic medical schools has almost doubled, from 1059 to 2009, over the same period...Although they constitute only about 5 percent of U.S. physicians, osteopaths may be disproportionately important for the health care system by virtue of their distribution in terms of specialty and location: 60 percent of graduates of osteopathic medical schools select generalist fields."
Burke, Martin C. The DOs: Osteopathic Medicine in America (review) Perspectives in Biology and Medicine - Volume 48, Number 4, Autumn 2005, pp. 618-621