March 3, 2009 - Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) is celebrating National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) week March 1-7, 2009.

NOM week is an annual event organized by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). The students, faculty and staff of LMU-DCOM will be participating in various activities throughout the week, most notably D.O. Day on the Hill, where osteopathic physicians and osteopathic medical students travel to Washington to visit legislative officials.

Osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) receive the same medical training as allopathic physicians (M.D.s). Both D.O.s and M.D.s attend four years of medical school and receive at least three years of residency training after they graduate. Both D.O.s and M.D.s are fully licensed in all 50 states to practice medicine, perform surgery and dispense medication. The D.O. difference is the extra training D.O.s receive in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). OMM is a hands-on approach to diagnosing and treating problems in the musculoskeletal system. D.O.s receive at least 200 hours of training in OMM during their medical education.

The founder of osteopathic medicine, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, was born in Jonesville, Va., in 1828. Still became an M.D. by studying medical books and by working with his father, who was a practicing physician. This was the common method to becoming a physician during Still’s time. After the Civil War broke out, Still enlisted in 1861 and served the Union as a surgeon. After the War, three of Still’s children died in a meningitis outbreak, and soon after, another child died of pneumonia. Still’s inability to provide medical care to save his family, coupled with his experiences during the War, led him to begin searching to better approaches to health care.

Bloodletting, blistering, leeches and the use of large amounts of alcohol or of dangerous substances like arsenic as medicine all were common during Still’s time. Still believed he and his fellow physicians were merely treating symptoms, not finding and treating the root cause of disease. Still looked for a different approach to health care, one grounded in his lifelong interest in anatomy as well as his belief that problems with the body’s structure affected the body’s function. Still eventually developed OMM as an additional tool for the osteopathic physician’s medical toolkit. OMM allows D.O.s to correct problems with the musculoskeletal system. D.O.s use OMM to diagnose, treat and even prevent illness and injury. OMM can ease pain, promote healing and increase mobility. It is non-invasive and can sometimes be used in place of medication or even surgery.

Still founded the first osteopathic medical school, in 1892 in Kirksville, Mo. Today there are 25 osteopathic medical schools on 28 campuses across the United States, and one in five medical students is an osteopathic medical student.

The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide healthcare in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1-800-325-0900, ext. 7082, e-mail, or visit us online at

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