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Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, Founder of Osteopathic Medicine

The philosophy of osteopathic medicine originated from the teachings of Virginian Andrew Taylor Still more than 100 years ago and is based on the belief that, given the optimum conditions, the human body has the amazing ability to heal, that the structure of the human body is directly related to the function, and that the health of the individual is related to the body, mind, and spirit.

What is Osteopathic Medicine?

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) are one of the only two groups of physicians who are licensed and qualified for the unlimited practice of medicine and surgery in all 50 states. DOs, like their colleagues, MDs, or doctors of allopathic medicine, provide professional services to advance the health and wellbeing of patients across this country and around the world.

Osteopathic physicians complete four years of medical school and three to seven years of resident training before entering practice. The practice of osteopathic medicine and the practice of individual osteopathic physicians is as diverse as the wide spectrum of professionals who chose the profession. DOs practice as specialists in all medical disciplines, in educational institutions, in research facilities, and public health institutions. They provide health care services in hospitals and clinics across the nation, utilizing the spectrum and all of the tools of modern medicine.

DOs place an emphasis on wellness and preventive medicine. Their training and philosophy also teach them to place an emphasis on the interrelationship of structure and function. By utilizing a patient center style of practice, DOs work with their patients to foster healthy lifestyles that concentrate on preventing illness, not merely treating pathology. Utilizing Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), DOs support and augment the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Osteopathic medicine has a century-old tradition of caring for diverse groups of people, often in rural and underserved settings. The profession honors its history and heritage by maintaining an emphasis on the total patient, on serving those in need, on the relationship between structure and function, and by avoiding concentration on the disease rather than the patient.

What DOs Bring to Medicine

The osteopathic profession prepares students to practice in all disciplines of medicine, with an emphasis on primary care and community-based medicine. DOs practice a “patient-centered” approach, which recognizes that the physician must address the patient’s sociological and psychological universe in order to improve the quality and duration of their life.

Osteopathic physicians concentrate on disease prevention and health promotion, believing that this approach is the basic path to wellness for their patients. DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system–your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles, and bones that make up two-thirds of your body mass. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the way that an illness or injury in one part of your body can affect another.

Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is incorporated into the training and practice of osteopathic physicians. With OMT, osteopathic physicians use their hands to diagnose illness and injury and to encourage your body’s natural tendency toward good health. By combining all other available medical options with OMT, DOs offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.

Outside Resources

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)

American Osteopathic Association (AOA)

Colorado Society of Osteopathic Medicine (CSOM)

Utah Osteopathic Medical Association (UOMA)


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Robert Coffman, OMS III
Class of 2025 - RVUCOM-UT
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2025

Campus Location
Southern Utah Campus

Normalville, PA

Undergraduate studies:
Exercise Science

Graduate studies:
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences at RVU

What clubs and activities are you currently involved with?
SIM scholar club, Ultrasound society, ACOFP, ROAD, Sports Medicine interest, and hopefully the Rural and Wilderness track

Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Robert but a lot of people call me Bobby. I grew up in a small Appalachian mountain town where I discovered my love for exploring the outdoors. This took me west to the Rocky Mountains where I attended the University of Utah. Which is where I made so many amazing friends and gained too many hobbies. My family still lives in Pennsylvania so I am thankful to have the great friends I do here at RVU.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I was initially brought to RVU because I wanted to stay in Utah but wanted to attend an osteopathic medical school. I pursued the MSBS first because I had been out of school for a while and wanted a program that got me ready for medical school but also was a MS degree and not just a certificate. Once I met Dr. Brooks and saw how genuinely he cared for his students to succeed, I was sold.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
When I am not studying or in class I like to explore the amazing hiking, cycling, paddle boarding, and mountain biking that surround RVU-SU. The scenery here is absolutely stunning and Dr. Brooks always has a hike set up if I can make it. I look forward to seeing how the skiing is at Brian Head resort this winter!

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
An interesting fact about me is that I can ski backwards down double-black diamonds (in control).

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
ANKi…. Lol JK. I would say it’s Dr. Towne telling us and then making us tell ourselves “I belong here.” Getting over the imposter syndrome was so crucial for me to get my footing and start adapting to this new challenge.

What are your medical interests?
As of now I like too much. All I can say is that whatever and where ever I end up I know I want to incorporate an ultrasound into my care.

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
Finally meeting all of the friends that I made in our online year of the MSBS program in person at the COM orientation.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
Visit the campus and meet everyone! Only thing better than the scenery is the faculty here that want you to succeed.

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