Global Recognition for DOs by IAMRA Highlights Historic Year for Osteopathic Medicine
November 10, 2023
At its recent biennial Members General Assembly in Bali, Indonesia, the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) gave osteopathic physicians global recognition when it approved a resolution that highlighted the equivalent competencies of U.S.-educated osteopathic physicians and MDs around the world.
This resolution was brought to IAMRA by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the Oregon Medical Board and differentiated U.S. osteopathic physicians with comprehensive scope of medical practice and competencies from other non-doctoral professions that incorporate osteopathic principles but in more limited scopes of patient care, such as osteopaths who practice in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and other countries.
IAMRA’s purpose is to promote effective medical regulation worldwide and it is comprised of 110 medical regulatory authorities and other supporting organizations from 47 countries. The passing of this resolution is the culmination of a multi-decade effort from DOs, MDs, and public members from medical regulatory authorities from around the world.
Since 2000, IAMRA (which is administratively supported by the FSMB) has a significant U.S. delegation which has included membership from the AOA, the NBOME, and the American Association of Osteopathic Examiners (AAOE), all of whom attended the IAMRA meeting to support this resolution’s passing.
Over these two-plus decades, numerous DOs have been elected or hired to board leadership positions at the FSMB, helping to expand visibility for U.S. DOs both at FSMB and at IAMRA. Other advocacy initiatives in Canada and with the World Health Organization, for example, have assisted in numerous gains worldwide in DO practice rights.
Similar collaborative efforts earned DOs equivalent licensure and practice rights in Africa from the Association of Medical Councils of Africa in 2019, and in Australia from the Medical Board of Australia in 2020, where COMLEX-USA is a required element in the competency authority pathway licensure track for U.S. DOs there.
This global recognition from IAMRA is another milestone for osteopathic medicine in a year of highlights:
- British Columbia recently adapted their medical licensure/registration policies to recognize DOs who are board certified by the AOA in family medicine for practice pathways in the province.
- Most Canadian provinces now recognize U.S. DOs as equivalent to MDs for licensure thanks to guidance from the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada
- A U.S. DO licensed by the Osteopathic Medical Board of California and board-certified by the AOA in Obstetrics & Gynecology was granted a license in India by that country’s National Medical Council
All of this is tremendous news for patients; at a time when many countries are experiencing healthcare workforce shortages, governments worldwide are working to remove any obstacles for doctors and other health care professions who are interested in serving their populations.
The osteopathic profession is poised to help meet this need globally–it has experienced significant growth over the past two decades, and has become increasingly younger and more diverse. With their collective experience in global outreach and spirit of altruism, we could see more DOs choosing to practice abroad in the decades to come.
“Look out world,” said John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd, president and CEO of the NBOME, “doctors with a person-centered, interconnected body, mind, and spirit approach and a whole lot of heart many be coming to clinical practices and hospitals in your countries in record numbers in the years to come!”
The NBOME applauds leaders at the AOA, the AAOE, the FSMB, and IAMRA as well as the many individual DOs, MDs and others in medical regulation worldwide for their collective efforts on behalf of osteopathic medicine and the patients we all have the privilege to serve.
About the NBOME:
The NBOME is an independent, non-governmental, nonprofit assessment organization committed to protecting the public by providing the means to assess competencies for osteopathic medicine and related health care professions. NBOME’s COMLEX-USA examination series is a requirement for graduation from colleges of osteopathic medicine and provides the pathway to licensure for osteopathic physicians in the United States and numerous international jurisdictions.
Renee Cree, MA
Director for Communications