The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is celebrating a recent regulatory change that brings further global recognition and opportunities for its students and alumni. Earlier this month, the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) took a significant step by passing a resolution that acknowledges U.S-trained doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) as fully licensed physicians equal to their counterparts with medical doctor (MD) training in 47 IAMRA member countries. This landmark decision was made during the 15th biennial Members General Assembly held in Bali, Indonesia.
This latest resolution reflects a growing global acceptance of the qualifications of DOs who are fully recognized to practice in all 50 states. Notably, 20 member countries of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa passed a similar resolution in 2019.
Jan M. Willcox, DO, the immediate past dean for the Virginia campus of VCOM and a strong advocate for the osteopathic profession, spoke of the impact of this resolution on VCOM and the larger osteopathic community, observing “the significance of global recognition of osteopathic physicians cannot be overstated.” IAMRA’s recognition of DOs as fully qualified physicians is a development that supports the principles that Dr. Willcox is working towards as a member of the Board of Directors for the Osteopathic International Alliance. She notes, “VCOM is honored to be a partner member of the Osteopathic International Alliance (OIA) and it is my great pleasure to serve on the board of directors and promote their vision.” The OIA envisions a world in which every person has access to high-quality osteopathic healthcare.
Our mission at OIA is to encourage systems of education and regulation that will ensure high standards for safe and effective health care from osteopaths and osteopathic physicians, such as future graduates and practicing alumni from VCOM. This IAMRA resolution and the work of the OIA do just that as DOs who want to practice in IAMRA member countries will now have an improved path to obtain licensure and practice rights.
VCOM’s foundational commitment to prepare globally minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations, coupled with the college’s long-term year-round international and domestic sustainable outreach, supports the principles and progress communicated by the regulatory adjustment of IAMRA and the work of the OIA.
Beyond removing barriers for DOs in IAMRA member countries, the resolution is expected to facilitate participation by DOs and osteopathic medical students in work opportunities, global outreach projects and international research.
Achieving recognition through IAMRA’s global medical regulatory network, in conjunction with the admittance of the OIA into relations with the World Health Organization, helps to position osteopathic doctors and the osteopathic medical profession at the forefront of medical care internationally. It also raises awareness about the benefits of the osteopathic medical model and its potential to address healthcare access issues as well as empower patients to play an active role in their well-being across the world.