About Us


The vision of the American Osteopathic College of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is that we are dedicated to providing leadership for the PMR profession and to providing a home to osteopathic PMR practitioners.


The AOCPMR provides added value services to its members in the areas of advocacy, education and practice. AOCPMR values camaraderie, excellence and quality as it lives its mission.

Osteopathic Pledge of Commitment

As members of the osteopathic medical profession, in an effort to instill loyalty and strengthen the profession, we recall the tenets on which this profession is founded – the dynamic interaction of mind, body and spirit; the body’s ability to heal itself; the primary role of the musculoskeletal system and preventive medicine as the key to maintain health. We recognize the work our predecessors have accomplished in building the profession and we commit ourselves to continuing the work. I pledge to:


  • Provide compassionate, quality care to my patients;
  • Partner with them to promote health;
  • Display integrity and professionalism throughout my career;
  • Advance the philosophy, practice and science of osteopathic medicine;
  • Continue life-long learning;
  • Support my profession with loyalty in action, word and deed and
  • Live each day as an example of what an osteopathic physician should be.

The History of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

A separate physician specialty began to evolve in the late 19th century, somewhat paralleling the emergence of Osteopathic Medicine, probably beginning with the American Electrical Therapeutics Association in 1890. World War I casualties provided the initial major stimulus, resulting in the first journal devoted to rehabilitation problems (1919, the forerunner of today’s “Archives of PM&R”). In 1938, an exclusive “Society for Physical Therapy Physicians” was formed, and then renamed the “American Society of Physical Medicine” in 1944. Between 1941 and 1946, World War II accelerated the evolution, with Krusen (MD) in 1941 establishing post-graduate training programs known as “Physical Medicine” at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota; pretty much simultaneously, Rusk (MD) had developed a comparable program known as “Rehabilitation Medicine” at New York University. 

The Polio epidemic was the final unifying force, best exemplified by non-physician Sister Kenny bringing together various allied health personnel in one facility at her Institute in Minneapolis which was devoted to the care of the disabled survivors of this disease. The terms Physiatry & Physiatrist were also coined in the 1940’s, but the lay public was slow to accept, confusing it with psychiatry. The American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (ABPMR) certification first became available in 1947. The midwest and northeast physician factions finally stopped their political haggling over the designations and in 1951 settled on Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PMR). The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) added the specialty in 1953-54. 

AOCPMR was originally incorporated in California where more than 40% of its members resided because one of the nation’s largest free-standing rehabilitation hospitals was affiliated with COPS (College of Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons) on the campus of what would later become Los Angeles County — University of Southern California Medical Center. As a result of the 1962-1974 MD/DO amalgamation legal actions, the charter/incorporation rights for the original AOCPMR forced reincorporation as AOCRM (American Osteopathic College of Rehabilitation Medicine) in Illinois circa 1965-67. It was not until 2001 that our organization reverted to its original AOCPMR name, although we now know that the Internal Revenue Service never carried out the prior name change. In 2003, we received US Postal Service approval for a Non-Profit Organization mailing permit. The truest form of osteopathic philosophy continues to place special value on well-rounded training as necessary to treat the whole person, “Treating People, not Diseases.” As such, DO Physiatry emphasizes being the primary care provider for the disabled or chronically diseased populations and recognizing that all physicians naturally have their subspecialty areas of particular interest.