As we all are too aware, from time to time the qualifications and training of Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) come under attack. While the old stereotypes and misinformation have long been proven false, there are still times when someone with a public voice latches on to these falsehoods to push a specific agenda. Unfortunately, President Trump’s treatment for COVID-19 became a political issue and so did the competency of the White House doctor, Sean Conley, DO. Numerous media sources and even celebrities took part in the unfortunate mischaracterizations about DO credentials.
AACOM took swift action to help defend DOs, students and our schools. In addition to pushing out a statement originally published in March when the first spike in challenges to the DO degree happened, AACOM joined with the American Osteopathic Association to co-author a letter to the editor of the New York Times in response to misperceptions in an article on October 3. AACOM also deployed a campaign across social media to illustrate how DO’s are serving in all facets of American healthcare. The #ChooseDO infographic series will continue to run for the next few weeks. Numerous COMs have retweeted the social media posts, which help to educate the public about osteopathic medicine and debunk the myths.
Not long after, the DO profession was denigrated with an incredibly irresponsible ad from FIGS scrubs. The graphic used not only was an offensive attack on DOs, but also on all women physicians. AACOM immediately issued a statement condemning the ad and demanding an apology from FIGS. Our statement was quickly picked up in numerous national and local media stories, including NBC and ABC news, which resulted in the company founders’ apology and repudiation of the graphic.
Our efforts are paying off with significant support from around the DO and MD community, and an increase across the board in our social media metrics. As compared to the previous week, we saw a growth in fans and followers on AACOM’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, respectively. Just as important, we experienced a 3,100% increase in Facebook engagement week over week and a 648% increase in Twitter engagements week over week. Our message was getting out and resonating with our audience.
Moving forward, AACOM will continue to proactively promote our schools and the osteopathic profession to ensure the general public knows the facts and the truth about our highly skilled students, faculty, doctors and other osteopathic medical leaders. But rest assured, when need be, we will always aggressively defend osteopathic medicine and medical education from baseless attacks.