Osteopathic medical education has changed significantly since the days of our esteemed founder, Dr. A.T. Still. In recent decades, the increasing integration of osteopathic and allopathic training programs caused the two professions to be more alike than ever before. There are osteopathic physicians working in every medical specialty there is, and an increasing trend to step away from the very thing that makes us different: manipulation. The future of osteopathic medicine as we know it is in question: do we embrace it, or seek to change it?
Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at seventeen years of age, Sister Anne Brooks D.O. was told that she would be confined to a sedentary life of pain, and back braces. She spent the next seventeen years as a wheelchair bound teacher and was put on several medications and admitted into an arthritic hospital. After refusing to accept her debilitating condition, she signed up to volunteer at a free clinic in Florida, and it was there that she met John Upledger, D.O. He offered her acupuncture treatments, helped her change her diet, and referred her to an osteopathic neurosurgeon who would perform a procedure called manipulation under anesthesia. It is because of the help of Dr. Upledger that she has been able to live successfully with rheumatoid arthritis and maintain a normal lifestyle, pain free! Several years later, his impact in her life would inspire her to become a physician as well. “Osteopathic Medicine offered more alternatives in treating that proved very helpful for me.” said Sister Anne. Now 72 years old, Sister Anne, is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine where she obtained her doctorate at the age of 44. However, before she decided to attend medical school, she wanted to make sure that she was pursuing medicine with the correct intentions.