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Globalizing Osteopathic Medicine?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by coreyw, Apr 3, 2004.

  1. coreyw

    coreyw Senior Member
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    Because I like to stir things up and because there are so many questions from you guys about working overseas, I took it upon myself to pen this wee letter (below) to the good people at DO-Online.

    What do others think? Am I completely off-beam here?

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    Dear Sir/Madam,

    As one interested in American osteopathic medicine - and a potential future student - I'm generally and genuinely impressed by the DO-Online website.

    However, I would like to point out the complete lack of any global/non-American links listed under 'Local and Worldwide Resources.' Surely it can only help your profession, and AOA members and members of the public, to connect with osteopathic and general health care resources worlwide?

    In my discussions with osteopathic students in the US, I note that many are interested in practising overseas, particularly for international medical aid and development organisations, but also simply to experience life in another country. Others (particularly those with a passion for manual medicine) are keen to understand how osteopathy is practised outside of the United States. Unfortunately, osteopathic medicine does not seem to be particularly well organised internationally - an unnecessary shame given the opportunities afforded by the world wide web. Your website seems to have terrific potential in helping to remedy the situation.

    Can I suggest the following international links for DO-Online to begin with?

    The Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine ('Osteopathy International'), major non-US osteopathic/musculoskeletal medicine organisations and other international medical specialist groups
    International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent, Medicins Sans Frontieres and other medical/development aid organisations
    The World Health Organisation
    Major centres and journals of osteopathic and related research.

    I'm sure you would agree that access to these sorts of sites via DO-Online would benefit your members, students and prospective students by enabling them to better understand osteopathic medicine and its place in the world; as well as their and their profession's prospects internationally.

    Yours sincerely,
    Corey Watts
    Melbourne, Australia
     
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  3. DireWolf

    DireWolf The Pride of Cucamonga
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    While this is an ambitious and probably worthwhile enterprise, the AOA has too many huge, glaring, critical, domestic issues that need to be addressed before even thinking about international issues.
     
  4. Shinken

    Shinken Family Medicine
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    Any DO can already participate in international medical aid anytime (as part of groups such as Doctors Without Borders and DOCare International). OU-COM even has rotations in Scotland for geriatrics, China for TCM, and Ecuador for tropical diseases. It's not a problem. Don't listen to people on SDN that think that DO's are limited to practicing the full scope of medicine only in the US.

    Also, any DO that wants to experience how osteopathic manual medicine is practiced in other countries can do it without any problems whatsoever (DO's can practice osteopathic manual medicine in all countries that already have DO's...after all, the title we earn is "DO"). Those countries may or may not allow US-trained DO's to practice the full scope of medicine, but they'll definitely allow US-trained DO's to practice manual medicine only.

    Finally, osteopathic medicine worldwide is very well organized. There are several international organizations (that also include the US) to further osteopathic medicine. The problem lies in the fact that osteopathic medicine worldwide consists of manual medicine only, whereas in the US it consists of the full scope of medicine (surgery, ob/gyn, etc.). You spoke of the group Doctors Without Borders. They had a DO that participated in their humanitarian missions speak at OU-COM and share his experiences. You also speak of the WHO. The WHO includes almost all US osteopathic medical schools in its World Directory of Medical Schools.

    DO's are more "international" than you might think.
     
  5. coreyw

    coreyw Senior Member
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    Thanks for the feedback. I agree, US osteopathy has some good links around the world... none of which are displayed in DO-Online's 'Local and Worldwide Resources'... which was the point of the letter.

    Can you please point me to the 'several' global osteopathic organisations you mention?
     
  6. Shinken

    Shinken Family Medicine
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    I believe the main reason DO-Online doesn't have more "international" sites listed is because DO-Online is an official communications vehicle of the AOA and they're probably reluctant to include websites not directly affiliated with them (lack of control over the content and the possibility of mistaking those websites' opinions with those of the AOA). It sounds silly but that's probably the case. If you notice, all the links are somehow or another related to the AOA in some way, directly or indirectly.

    As far as global osteopathic organizations, you can go to places like the Osteopathic Webring and find many organizations listed there. Some are organizations that encompass several nations, others are organizations from specific countries. Each, of course, deal with only the OMT aspect of osteopathic medicine.

    Are you studying osteopathic medicine in Australia? If you are, and you ever come to the US it would be very interesting to hear your opinion on the OMT skills of US DO's (I'm assuming US DO's have inferior manual medicine skills compared to those of DO's from other countries, for obvious reasons).
     
  7. coreyw

    coreyw Senior Member
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    Thanks Shinken,

    For a moment there you got my hopes up that there was a fully fledged international osteopathy outfit lurking in the shadows. 'Twas not to be. The only one I know of is the ANM, and I'm not sure how well resourced it is.

    I'm not a student, but I've kept tabs on the field of manual medicine for about ten years, keep in touch with a few osteopaths and chiropractors, and the latest research. I'm also supposed to be putting fingers to keyboard and writing a book on the subject... although it exists only as a file of scrappy notes and references at present! Best laid plans and all that.

    Most Australian & British-trained osteopaths look with a little dismay, pity and or even cynicism at the state of American osteopathy. I think they feel that on the one hand it's good to see OMM (which is just called osteopathy or osteopathic medicine here) in mainstream health care, but, on the other, they tend to feel you've exchanged what makes you special in the race to be 'equal.'

    It strikes me as rather ironic when I hear comments on this forum like: "Oh, Australian DOs are no more than chiropractors." Because, Australians might say that "American osteopaths are no more than plain old medicos." As if one or the other has somehow sold out. In the end, neither comment does anything more than slightly annoy people, and serves to further the distance between us.

    Generally speaking though, what cultural exchange there is (and there is a bit, not a lot, but a bit) benefits both countries. From what I can see of American curricula, Australian osteopathic students spend three to ten times as long on OMM. Naturally they're going to to be better at it by and large.

    One thing is common to both countries though: Only a small portion of the public, let alone the medical community, has half a clue as to what osteopathy is.

    Personally, I would love to study osteopathy in the US... the chance to apply osteopathic principles in the course of general practice really and other opportunities excites me. But I would want a guarantee that the college I went to was really serious about OMM - minimum 500 hours would do me. Otherwise, I could do medicine here in four years (graduate degree) and osteo in five... for far less cash.

    Ah, if only I had a spare US$250K...

    All the best
     
  8. Shinken

    Shinken Family Medicine
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    Well, I don't know what exactly you're looking for as far as "fully-fledged" organizations, but I found some links you might find interesting to browse through:

    http://www.aoa-net.org/international.htm

    http://www.osteopathyinternational.org/index.html

    http://www.fimm-online.org/

    http://freespace.virgin.net/osteo.forum/forum.htm
     
  9. coreyw

    coreyw Senior Member
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    Thanks again Shinken...

    The FIMM link was new to me - appreciate it.

    Note that 'Osteopathy International' is the Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (ANM), which is one of those I recommended be put up on the DO-Online 'Worldwide Resources' links (which currently lacks any worldwide resources).

    The others are simply fora, not really international organisations.

    What I did find interesting on the AOA link you included is this role:

    "Leadership in establishing an Osteopathic International Alliance. Distribution of information on international activities of interest to osteopathic physicians and others."

    That sounds promising!

    Oh, and I raised your earlier query about Australian osteopaths' views on the state-of-affairs in the US with my practitioner today, and his response was pretty much as I indicated earlier: While Australians look to the 'masters' of American osteopathy (Kuchera, Greenman, et al.), they're disappointed that most people entering the American profession are not really interested in osteopathy.

    From what I've seen on this forum, that's about right... for better or worse.
     

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