The first D.O. began practicing in Ohio in 1896. The state’s first and only osteopathic medical school – the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine – welcomed its inaugural class of students
80 years later in 1976. And 40 years after that in 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law a bill recognizing the osteopathic medical profession’s great and continuing service to the Buckeye State.
State Rep. Terry Johnson, D.O., a 1991 Heritage College graduate and state representative for Ohio’s 90 th House District, was the lead sponsor for House Bill 352, designating April as Osteopathic Medicine Recognition Month in the state. State Rep. Johnson put forth the bill as both an acknowledgment of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Heritage College and “in honor of the significant contributions made by the osteopathic field of medicine to improve the health of Ohioans.” The bill passed unanimously in both houses of the Ohio General Assembly.
At the time of the bill’s passage, Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth Johnson, D.O., noted that “Ohio has long been a stronghold of osteopathic medicine; in 1975 when the legislation was signed creating our college, Ohio ranked third among U.S. states for its number of practicing DOs, this despite having no osteopathic medical college.” Official recognition by the state, he added, makes “those of us in the osteopathic family feel very proud and very appreciated.”
Speaking in support of the bill’s passage, state Rep. Johnson noted that while D.O.s can be found working in all medical specialties, they have a high propensity to practice primary care, provide direct patient care, and practice in rural and other underserved areas. He added that osteopathic medicine is distinguished by its holistic approach and by how it “boldly declares the primacy of the patient in all matters of health and holds the patient/physician relationship in an almost sacred regard.”
Visit our Osteopathic Medicine Recognition Month webpage for more information on the month, including resources to help raise awareness of osteopathic medicine in Ohio and a by-the-numbers look at how the Heritage College is leading in the development of physicians who address some of the state’s most pervasive medical needs.