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May 26, 1999

Is Osteopathic Medicine "Alternative"?

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(20):1893. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-20-jbk0526

To the Editor: Dr McPartland1 raises an interesting issue in criticizing my book on alternative medicine for excluding osteopathy. Is osteopathic medicine "alternative"?

Contrary to McPartland's belief, but according to the American Osteopathic Association, mainstream training and licensure requirements, and the American Medical Association, which includes doctors of osteopathy among its members, osteopathic medicine is decidedly not alternative. Students of osteopathic medicine train for the same length of time and according to the same standards applied in allopathic medical schools, often must pass the same tests and licensing examinations, and, like doctors of medicine, may be licensed for the full practice of medicine in all 50 states. No other group is so trained or permitted.2,3