We recently celebrated our annual gathering of osteopathic physicians and students at OMED 2020 this month, though this year it was unfortunately held virtually; it is hard to ignore the recent resurgence of DO’s in the national media. Unfortunately, this notice has been both negative and ill-informed. On October 5th, in response to the poorly executed health updates on President Trump regarding his health status following his positive COVID-19 diagnosis, many media networks opted to diminish the credentials of the current Physician to the President, Dr. Sean Conley, DO. Statements were made discounting his ability to manage Mr. Trump’s illness based only on the fact that he is an “osteopath” and not an infectious disease specialist. Many media figures limited Dr. Conley’s ability to “only osteopathy,” ignoring the contributions we as a profession make to the greater field of medicine. While in fact, Dr. Conley is a graduate of the highly-esteemed Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his Emergency Medicine residency at the Naval Medical Hospital Portsmouth in Portsmouth, Virginia during which time he was very highly regarded. While not an infectious disease specialist, Dr. Conley’s credentials and education more than justify his placement in this prestigious role. The members of the American College of Osteopathic Pediatrician (ACOP) stand along with Dr. Conley and the rest of the Osteopathic Medicine community as we continue our quest to be viewed as equals with our allopathic counterparts.
This unfortunate event was followed by the scrub company FIGS publishing an ad featuring a female DO in the company’s clothing reading a “Medical Terminology for Dummies” book while holding the book upside-down. While we cannot begin to assume the thought-process behind this advertisement and want to believe that this was an honest misstep in their ad campaign, this portrayal of a female DO as an inept physician is inexcusable. We are aware that the female founder of the company has issued an apology, and we applaud their prior charitable work, however this ad has perpetuated an unfortunate stereotype that both women and DO’s have fought hard against. We as an organization open the door to FIGS for a conversation on how they can help to promote a more truthful and inclusive view of both female physicians and doctors of osteopathic medicine.
As a community, doctors of osteopathic medicine comprise approximately 151,000 individuals. DO’s practice in all 50 states in the United States and in all medical specialties. As one of the fastest growing professions in health care, you can find DO’s working in all settings in American health care. Our trainees are in the most prestigious centers in the country and our physicians are experts in their respective fields.
We at the ACOP will continue to support the profession of osteopathic pediatrics as part of the larger picture of osteopathic medicine. It is an amazing field which we are all proud to represent. We do welcome anyone to contact us who wishes to learn more about the profession and ways to help break the stereotype of doctors of osteopathic medicine as an inequal in the field of medicine, and in particular we stand with our female members as crucial and vital contributors to the well-being of America.
Jason R. Jackson, DO
Chair, ACOP Communications & Advocacy Committee
Endorsed by the ACOP Board of Trustees:
Jacqueline Kaari DO, FACOP, President
Marta Diaz-Pupek DO, FACOP, FAAP, Vice President
Nancy K. Monaghan-Beery DO, FACOP, FAAP, Secretary/Treasurer
Edward Packer DO, FACOP, FAAP, Immediate Past President
John Applegate DO, FACOP, Trustee
Jude Cauwenbergh DO, FACOP, Trustee
Jamee Goldstein DO, FACOP, Trustee
Ava Stanczak DO, FAAP, FACOP, Trustee
Tyree M.S. Winters DO, FACOP
Erin Thornley, DO, Fellow-in-Training Trustee
Ashley J. Van Putten DO, Resident Trustee
Samantha DeMarsh DO, Resident Student Trustee
Roxanne Waggoner DO, Intern Trustee
Kali Sanford BS, Student Trustee
Alyssa Averhoff, Student Trustee