Thanks, but no thanks: how denial of osteopathic service in World War I and World War II shaped the profession

J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012 Feb;112(2):93-7.


Osteopathic physicians were denied the same rights and privileges that were granted to allopathic physicians by the US government regarding voluntary and compulsory service in World War I and World War II. Even after changes to the examination process allowed osteopathic physicians to take the examinations required to obtain commission as a physician in the army, osteopathic physicians' service was still rejected. The US government's decision to ban DOs from serving in the war was a blessing in disguise that led to tremendous changes in osteopathic medicine, education, and public acceptance of osteopathic physicians. Using primary documents from military officials, congressional hearings, and archived publications of the American Osteopathic Association, the author recounts the battle osteopathic physicians fought to serve their country during war and the challenges they faced while obtaining both legal and social equality in the eyes of the government and the public.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Health Care Reform
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Military Medicine / history*
  • Military Medicine / organization & administration
  • Needs Assessment
  • Osteopathic Medicine / education
  • Osteopathic Medicine / history*
  • Osteopathic Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Osteopathic Physicians / history*
  • Osteopathic Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / history*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / organization & administration
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • United States
  • World War I*
  • World War II*