Osteopathic Research

As one of six long range goals within its current strategic plan, the AAO Board of Trustees has identified research on the efficacy and outcomes of osteopathic manipulative medicine as a priority item, and it has pledged to dedicate AAO resources to facilitate the profession-wide efforts to accomplish its research objectives. The AAO supports the work of the Louisa Burns Osteopathic Research Committee (LBORC). Membership consists of clinicians and basic scientists who assume primary responsibility for the AAO's research goals and action plans.

Research into the mechanisms behind osteopathic medicine is long-standing and some of the most prominent researchers and foundations are mentioned here.1 The A.T. Still Research Institute was founded in the early 1900s, and its director for many years was Louisa Burns, DO. She conducted pioneering research into viscerosomatic connections using animal models. In the mid–20th century, J. Stedman Denslow, DO, and Irvin M. Korr, PhD, researched the physiological basis of somatic dysfunction, the facilitated segment.

In addition to hosting an annual research conference, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) has developed resources for osteopathic research and research development. It also has a list of Grants and Fellowships.

The Osteopathic Research Center (ORC) at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, and DO-touch.net were founded by members of the osteopathic profession to conduct research into osteopathic principles. The American Osteopathic Foundation, Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and Foundation for Osteopathic Research and Continuous Education (FORCE) provide grant money and resources for osteopathic research.

Individual colleges of osteopathic medicine and osteopathic postdoctoral training institutions also provide resources for medical research.

There are also nonosteopathic sources for medical research, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the  National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

1. Patterson MM. Chapter 70: Foundations of Osteopathic Medical Research. In: Chila AG, ed. Foundations of Osteopathic Medicine, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2011.


Additional resources

Learn more about the AAO's research grant program.

LBORC research poster competition

AOA research resources



The Osteopathic Cranial Academy

Osteopathic Research Articles (compiled by Daniel A. Shadoan, DO)