August 22, 2001

     To the editor,

     The August 2001 JAOA, page 431, reports one of the major problem areas in the education process at Osteopathic Medical Schools is the lack of Osteopathic Manual Medicine education during the third and fourth years of training. It seems each of the last three generations of D.O.s has scratched their collective heads in dismay at the decay in the osteopathic skills/understanding of a new generation of osteopathic physicians.

     Recurring questions about the uniqueness of the osteopathic approach become more inconsequential as more and more physicians who happen to have had part of their training in an osteopathic institution merge into the larger profession.

     Is the apparent continuing decline in the general level of osteopathic skills ultimately due to a lack of scientific support? A strong argument can be made that osteopathic research has met the prevailing scientific criteria of the times in which they were published.

     The simple solution to this question often asked and rarely answered was inadvertently provided in the September 2000 issue of the D.O., on page 58. Dr. James Stookey's memories of a second generation (post 1918) D.O.'s training involved logging "500 osteopathic manipulative treatments in both their junior and senior years in order to graduate". If there is any truth to the old query "How to you get to Carnegie Hall", the universal absence of this requirement makes the survival of osteopathic thinking somewhat akin to that of tadpoles or hatchling sea turtles. Please bring on the uproarious replies.

John H. Juhl, D. O.
New York City