Important Dates in Osteopathic History
1874 Dr. Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917), a licensed frontier
physician, first articulated basic osteopathic principles.
1892 First college of osteopathic medicine, the American
School of Osteopathy, founded in Kirksville, MO. (See "Osteopathic
Colleges heading later in this section for dates of other schools.)
1893 First class graduated from ASO, including 17 men and
1896 Vermont became first state to license DOs.
1897 Founding of the American Association for the Advancement
of Osteopathy (later known as the American Osteopathic Association)
at a meeting held April 19 in Kirksville, MO. Officers established
as president, first vice-president, second vice-president, secretary,
and treasurer, with a board of trustees of five members. Dues established
at $1. Constitution provided that members were to be graduates of
recognized schools of osteopathic medicine.
1898 First recorded osteopathic research, at ASO on humans
and dogs, to test and record on sphygomograms and cardiograms the
effects of stimulation and inhibition and the effects of lesions
and their attempted correction. OSTEOPATHIC PHYSICIAN, Dec 1908,
p. 11). Board of trustees increased to seven members. Adoption of
the POPULAR OSTEOPATH as the association's official organ (first
issue appeared in January 1899, last issue in June 1900). Associated
Colleges of Osteopathy organized.
1899 Annual dues increased to $5. (Subsequent dues changes
as follows: 1918, $10; 1938, $20; 1944, $30; 1948, $50; 1952, $75;
1962, $100; 1973, $125; 1977, $175; and 1980, $275; 1987, $315;
1990, $390.) Board of trustees increased to nine members. Constitution
amended to provide that membership should consist only of graduates
of reputable colleges of osteopathic medicine, with a reputable college of
osteopathic medicine defined as one which is a member in good standing of
the Associated Colleges of Osteopathy.
1901 Change in name of the American Association for the
Advancement of Osteopathy to the American Osteopathic Association.
Appearance of the first issue (September) of the JOURNAL OF THE
AMERICAN OSTEOPATHIC ASSOCIATION. Establishment of first standing
committees, as follows: committee on education, committee on publication,
and committee on legislation.
1902 Adoption of standards for the approval of osteopathic
colleges. Adoption of a new constitution, which provided that graduates
of those schools that, are recognized by the association and no
others shall be eligible for membership in this association. The
OSTEOPATHIC PHYSICIAN adopted as the official bulletin of the association,
serving as such from August 1902 until December 1903. (The OSTEOPATHIC
PHYSICIAN was published from October 1901 to October 1924.)
1903 First inspection of osteopathic colleges.
1904 Adoption of the code of ethics. Publication of the
first directory of osteopathic physicians, as a separate book, under
the auspices of the association.
1905 Requirement of three-year course for AOA-approved osteopathic
colleges (effective in September).
1907 A.T. Still Postgraduate College of Osteopathy founded;
name changed in 1909 to A.T. Still Research Institute. (See also
1909 Board of trustees increased to 15 members. First annual
convention to have commercial exhibits.
1912 Establishment of first headquarters office in Orange,
1913 A.T. Still Research Institute laboratories opened in
Chicago. Branch opened in California in 1917; this became the only
location after 1918 when the Chicago property was sold. Bulletins
and books began to be published by this organization.
1914 First issue of the OSTEOPATHIC MAGAZINE, published
for the laity by the AOA, appeared in January. (The name was changed
to HEALTH in September 1955.)
1915 Requirement for four-year course for AOA-approved osteopathic
colleges (effective in September).
1917 Death of Dr A.T. Still. More than 5,000 DOs
DOs play key role in treating various illnesses as noted by the profession’s
involvement in the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919.
1919 Provision made in new constitution and bylaws for a
house of delegates to serve as the legislative body of the association,
and for the establishment of divisional societies to elect delegates
to the house.
1920 First meeting of house of delegates held in June at
the Sherman Hotel in Chicago.
1922 Headquarters office moved to Chicago.
1927 First issue of the FORUM OF OSTEOPATHY, the
association's news magazine, appeared in April. (Name changed to
THE DO in September 1960.) American Osteopathic Foundation
(for support of research, publications, and educational facilities,
as well as a variety of other philanthropic activities) founded.
In 1935 merged with A.T. Still Research Institute to become A.T.
Still Osteopathic Foundation and Research Institute.
1928 Establishment of Distinguished Service Certificate
1930 Establishment of the committee on public relations
(later known as the department of public relations; then superseded
by the council on federal health programs and the bureau of public
education on health).
1931 Establishment of the student loan fund and the osteopathic
Christmas seal. (Later, the proceeds were divided evenly between
student loans and research).
1936 First inspection and approval of osteopathic hospitals
for the training of interns. (During the 1936-37 fiscal period,
18 hospitals were approved and 81 doctors served internships; during
1959-60, 94 hospitals were approved and 466 doctors served internships;
for 1973-74, 125 hospitals were accredited, 65 hospitals were approved
for internships and/or residencies, and 585 internships and 481
residencies were being served; for 1978-79, 150 hospitals were accredited,
91 hospitals were approved for internships and/or residencies, and
851 internships and 631 residencies were being served.)
1937 Office of president-elect created.
1938 Adoption of a plan for the standardization of osteopathic
1939 Requirement of one year of preprofessional college
for matriculants in approved osteopathic colleges established. Establishment
of advisory board for osteopathic specialists, as well as the first
specialty board (radiology). AOA Committee on Research established.
Osteopathic Research Council (advisory) organized in 1943; name
changed in 1945 to Osteopathic Research Board. Bureau of Research
replaced Committee on Research in 1951; in 1951, the bureau and
the research board were merged to form present bureau.
1940 Requirement of two years' preprofessional college for
matriculants in AOA-approved osteopathic colleges.
1943 Inauguration of the osteopathic progress fund.
1944 Adoption of standards for registration of osteopathic
hospitals not approved for intern training (first registry appeared
1946 Andrew Taylor Still Memorial Lecture established (first
lecture given in 1947).
1947 First approval of osteopathic hospitals for residency
training. (During the 1947-48 fiscal period there were 71 approved
residencies and 37 doctors served residencies; during 1959-60, there
were 389 approved residencies and 289 doctors served residencies;
during 1973-74, there were 850 approved residencies and 481 doctors
served residencies; in 1978-79, there were 1,175 approved residencies
and 631 doctors served residencies.
1948 Association's headquarters building at 212 E. Ohio
St., Chicago, completed and occupied by the staff on September 1.
1950 Court decision in Audrain County, MO, established the
right of DOs to practice as complete physicians and surgeons in
a county hospital. The court defined the practice of osteopathic medicine
to include prescribing or administering drugs and performing surgery
with instruments. (After 1950 a number of other legislative and
regulatory bodies moved to provide full practice rights to DOs within
their jurisdictions.) See 1973.
1953 Establishment of AOA NEWS BULLETIN, beginning
December 4. (Became AOA NEWS in March 1968, AOA NEWS REVIEW
in July 1968, and AOA NEWSBRIEFS in May 1973.)
1957 AOA recognized as accrediting body for osteopathic
education by the US Office of Education, Department of Health, Education
1958 Requirement of three years' preprofessional college
for matriculants in AOA-approved osteopathic colleges. (In 1973,
97 percent of matriculants had at least a bachelor's degree.)
Forty-two years after its start, the osteopathic medical profession
continues to grow, recording 13,708 DOs and five osteopathic medical
1961 DOCARE formed.
1962 A California public referendum prohibited the granting
of new licenses to DOs in the state. The College of Osteopathic
Physicians and Surgeons, Los Angeles, was converted to an allopathic
medical college. This institution, upon receipt of $65 per applicant,
granted some 2,500 unearned MD degrees to DOs in that state, with
the concurrence of the California Medical Association and the California
Osteopathic Association. A new group, Osteopathic Physicians and
Surgeons of California, was chartered by AOA for DOs who chose to
retain their osteopathic degrees and identities. A long court fight
was begun, which was resolved in 1974 when the California State
Supreme Court ruled that licensing of DOs in that state must be
1963 DOs accepted by Civil Service as medical officers.
First DO appointed a medical officer. Health Professions Educational
Assistance Act passed; provision included for matching construction
grants for osteopathic colleges and loans to osteopathic students.
1964 Five-story AOA headquarters building completed. DO
appointed by HEW as a member of the National Advisory Council on
Education for Health Professions in PHS.
1966 First osteopathic nursing home approved by AOA Committee
on Hospitals. Army, navy, and air force directed by Secretary of
Defense to accept qualified DOs who volunteer as officers in the
medical corps. AOA was designated by the Department of Health, Education
and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services) as
the official accrediting body for osteopathic hospitals under Medicare.
This allowed the osteopathic profession an equal but distinct recognition
under the federal healthcare program.
1967 DOs drafted as medical officers in the armed forces.
AOA recognized by the National Commission on Accrediting as accrediting
agency for all facets of osteopathic education. Osteopathic hospitals
approved by National League for Nursing as clinical training facilities
for the associate degree in nursing.
1968 Residency deferment program for DOs developed by Department
1969 Almost 200 DOs serve in the military as medical officers
only three years after the Secretary of Defense accepts qualified
DOs who volunteer as officers.
1970 First university-affiliated college of osteopathic
medicine (Michigan State).
1972 AOA first required continuing medical education as
a condition for AOA membership. Profession honored with commemorative
postage stamp observing 75th anniversary of AOA.
1973 Full practice rights in all 50 states and the District
of Columbia accomplished, when Mississippi passed law granting full
practice rights to DOs.
1974 Ban on licensing new DOs since 1962 voided by California
State Supreme Court. 100th year anniversary of osteopathic medical
1979 More than 1,000 new DOs were graduated from the colleges
of osteopathic medicine.
1982 More than 20,000 DOs were in practice.
1983 First DO is established as flag officer in the medical
corps of the military service.
1987 Purchase of headquarters building, 142 E. Ontario St.,
Chicago, IL; occupied on July 13.
1990 First AOA/GME Leadership Conference, held in Chicago,
IL, in September.
1991 In recognition of the centennial celebration, the AOA
launched the AOA Care-A-Van project to screen medically underserved
people across the nation.
1993 Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine becomes the
sixteenth accredited college of osteopathic medicine and enrolls
its first class.
1995 First DO named to serve on Physician Payment Review
Commission (PPRC). The Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training Institution
(OPTI) accreditation system for graduate osteopathic medical education
was approved. AOA celebrated 100 years of CME by holding its centennial
convention and scientific seminar.
Enrollment in osteopathic medical schools continues to expand, recording
3,043 first-year students in 2001--an increase of 881 from 1993.
Osteopathic medical profession continues to grow, recording 42,210
DOs and 19 osteopathic medical schools.
The Healer Within®, a 2,000 square-foot
traveling science center exhibit created by the Kirksville College
of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM) in Kirksville, Mo., arrives at the
Smithsonian Arts and Industries building in Washington, DC, May
28 -- September 5, 2003. The Healer Within®, exhibit
explains the preventative concepts of health and wellness and is
based on the principals of osteopathic medicine and self-directed
wellness. The central theme throughout the exhibit is that each
of us have the power within us to obtain optimal health.
from around the world gather in Chicago to explore the possibility
of creating a worldwide osteopathic medical organization.
AOA launches its new consumer Web site, which is located at www.osteopathic.org.
The new Web site caters to an audience seeking general information
on osteopathic medicine or on particular health conditions. DOs,
osteopathic medical students and other members of the profession
seeking information on osteopathic medicine or the AOA can find
what they are looking for on DO-Online, located at www.do-online.org.