AAO Story

In 1937, sixty-six physicians, concerned about ensuring the future teaching of the basic osteopathic principles set forth by Andrew Taylor Still, met and founded the organization now called The American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO).

Since that time, the Academy has grown to over 7,000 physician and student members who are dedicated to following and teaching the preventive and holistic philosophy of medicine which is osteopathy’s trademark. With an emphasis on palpatory skills in diagnosis and manual medicine, members of the Academy are known for being physicians who use their hands as well as their heads and hearts to help the body heal. 

The American Academy of Osteopathy is an osteopathic medical society with a focused educational mission. Members are predominately osteopathic physicians (doctors of osteopathy, or DOs) and osteopathic medical students who have a high degree of interest in the art and science of osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). The Academy welcomes membership of allopathic physicians (MDs) who share an interest in learning osteopathic philosophy, its principles and practice as it applies to patient care.

The Academy is one of 23 practice affiliates of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the parent organization of the osteopathic profession.  All osteopathic physicians (DOs) are educated in the basic principles of osteopathy and are trained in the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) as part of the curriculum in colleges of osteopathic medicine and postdoctoral training through AOA-approved institutions. While some Academy members specialize in osteopathic manipulative medicine, the majority integrate OMM into the practice of their medical specialty.

DOs are fully-licensed physicians in all 50 states and the U.S. Armed Forces. While osteopathic medical practice is in the mainstream of health care today, the specific delivery of osteopathic manipulative treatment continues to be misunderstood and underappreciated for its therapeutic benefits in the context of total health care management. To shift this trend, the Academy promotes the use of osteopathic manipulative medicine through its educational and research programs.



Museum of Osteopathic Medicine, SM
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