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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 5 women.

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 1913, 1927.)

1909 Board of trustees increased to 15 members. First annual convention to have commercial exhibits.

1912 Establishment of first headquarters office in Orange, NJ.

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 in practice.

1918 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 awards.

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 specialties. 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).

1939 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 in 1945).

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.

1952 AOA recognized as accrediting body for osteopathic education by the US Office of Education, Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

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.)

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.)

1960 Forty-two years after its start, the osteopathic medical profession continues to grow, recording 13,708 DOs and five osteopathic medical schools

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 resumed.

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 of Defense.

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 profession celebrated.

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.

2001 Enrollment in osteopathic medical schools continues to expand, recording 3,043 first-year students in 2001--an increase of 881 from 1993.

2002 Osteopathic medical profession continues to grow, recording 42,210 DOs and 19 osteopathic medical schools.

2003 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.

Representatives from around the world gather in Chicago to explore the possibility of creating a worldwide osteopathic medical organization.

2004 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.


© 2006 American Osteopathic Association
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Special thanks to the AOA Committee on Osteopathic History and the Still National Osteopathic Museum.

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