A.T. Still University

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by haestra, May 13, 2009.

  1. haestra

    haestra New Member

    I'm considering enrolling at A.T. Still University's Doctor of Health Sciences with a concentration in leadership. http://www.atsu.edu/ashs/online_programs/DHsc/curriculum_overview.htm

    Can someone shed some light regarding the quality of this program and the University as well. Are there any graduates from this program? I'm somewhat concerned they don't require a dissertation-instead, they require an applied research project. Is this typical of D.H.Sc degrees?

  2. mbaonline

    mbaonline New Member

    A poster here, Stevefoerster, is enrolled at ATStill. If you PM him, I'm sure he'll answer.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I'm in the Health Education program, not the Health Sciences program. They may be a bit different. Mine is fairly new, just a few years old with only a few graduates so far. I believe yours is even newer, and may not yet have graduates, but I'm unsure.

    Variations of terminology seem to be typical of doctoral programs that are meant for practitioners rather than researchers. I don't know about your program, but mine is a doctoral-level research program where one writes a dissertation. That page you refer has 24 credits of research project at the bottom, including courses called "Proposal Development", "Literature Review and Sampling Methodology", "Data Collection", and "Data Analysis"; all of those are components of a dissertation. The last course is called "Dissemination – Publishable Paper", which given the others sounds like a dissertation to me, but it's weird they don't refer to it specifically as such in your program, because they do in mine. Maybe you should ask them why.

    As for my overall experience, it's been positive. I'm in my second semester, and so far the problems have been minor, and have stemmed from their adjusting to unexpectedly strong demand. If you're interested in details, I've blogged about it. (If you have time to kill and want to read my whole story, start here.)

    Hope this helps,

  4. warguns

    warguns Member

    A.T. Still DHS

    I would explore carefully how well the degree would be accepted in mainstream medical circles.

    A.T. Still is an osteopathic school and while D.O.s can qualify as the equivalent to M.D.s, I would be leery of "health sciences" at a school that is committed to "advancing osteopathic principles and philosophy."


    Here's that philosophy

    Still's explorations were grounded in the study of anatomy. Having grown up as a hunter and farmer, he already had a basic understanding of the structural relationships of bones, muscles, and organs -- knowledge which he now extended through the study of human skeletons. He became convinced that most diseases could be alleviated or cured without drugs. The key was to find and correct anatomical deviations that interfered with the free flow of blood and "nerve force" in the body.​


    Of course this is a moronic superstition, justifiable only by the fact that regular medicine at the time (I suspect especially as practiced in Missouri) was very different than modern evidence-based medicine.

    In fact, there' an osteopathic medical school not far from my cabin in Horsethief Canyon and I know several students. None of them believe this osteopathic nonsense and only went there because they couldn't get in a regular medical school.

    I don't know what's taught in the DHS program. Maybe there's none of this osteopathic stuff.

    More on osteopathy:



    Summary: It doesn't matter much if you get a DO but there may be strong, , perfectly justifiable prejudice against a health sciences degree from an osteopathic school.
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I looked at all this before applying, and came away with the understanding that osteopathic and allopathic physicians have long since met in the middle, with osteopathic physicians abandoning dubious practices like OMT and MDs coming around on treatment of the whole person. Whatever differences remain seem largely cosmetic, in fact osteopathic physicians seem to have more trouble demonstrating that they're meaningfully different than that they're the same.

    As for whether the other degrees from a university that also contains an osteopathic medical school would be somehow less acceptable, that's a pretty extraordinary claim. No one says this about Nova Southeastern University, and they too have an osteopathic medical school. If we were talking about a place like Bastyr University then I might understand this argument. But we're not.

    As for whether these schools glorify Andrew Taylor Still as a person, that's entirely counter to my experience. He's never been mentioned in anything the school sent me before I was a student there, and he's never been mentioned in class or anywhere else since. If I hadn't looked up his name online from my own curiosity I wouldn't know the first thing about him.

  6. warguns

    warguns Member

    AT Still DHS

    I'm afraid it's incorrect to state that "osteopathic and allopathic physicians met in the middle". The fact is that NOTHING from osteopathy has been accepted in modern medical practice. The reality is that osteopathic medicine simply abandoned their AT Still roots and adopted evidence-based medicine.

    The fact that you would even use the pejorative term "allopathic", would seem to indicate that your education has not been ideology free. The term was invented by another quack, the founder of homeopathy, who claimed that conventional medicine used remedies (as drugs or surgery) which produced effects that are different from or incompatible with those of the disease being treated. ( http://mw1.m-w.com/dictionary/allopathic) Obviously this has nothing to do with modern medicine.

    As for how your school regards AT Still, the information I posted appears, as I indicated, on the school's website under "About Us".

    The summary of his quack theory "The key was to find and correct anatomical deviations that interfered with the free flow of blood and "nerve force" in the body." appears unrepudiated also on that website.

    If the university doesn't still believe this, wouldn't a disclaimer be posted?

    I'm not claiming that DOs aren't as qualified as MDs. As I said, DOs are just people that could not get into an MD program.

    I don't know anything about what is taught in the DHS program at AT Still. However, I would be justifiably suspicious. DOs have to pass medical boards, so they have to know real medicine Who's to know what is taught in an uncontrolled program like the DHS. Maybe that's where the unreconstructed Stillites hang out?
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I'm enthusiastically in favor of evidence-based medicine, and meant "allopathic" in the sense as that set of medical training that leads specifically to an MD, not in a pejorative sense. I thought that was clear from context; sorry that it wasn't.

    You're right, there's a page about Andrew Taylor Still on the site, and it has that wording. It looked to me more like they're just explaining what he believed back in the 19th century, but I suppose it could be read the way you did as well. And they do seem to believe that OMM is useful for some things. I guess it's such a minor part of today's DO curriculum that I'm just not very worried about it, especially since that's not even my program there.

    All I know is that not once has any of this has ever come up in my program, and that my fellow students and I are doing research in a wide variety of areas, all of which are evidence-based. Maybe there's a hideout somewhere at ATSU for "unreconstructed Stillites", but if so it's not the School of Health Management.

  8. haestra

    haestra New Member

    Thank you all for your replies. I was concerned about their Osteopathic medical school program and wondered how it would be perceived by employers and academia. But as Steve mentioned, Nova Southeastern has also a sucessful D.O. program as well as other Doctorate degrees. In my opinion, I don't see the connection between their medical school program and the Doctorate degree in Health Management.
    Steve, thank you for the info you provided, however I don't see the Health Education program you mentioned. Has it been discontinued?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2009
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

  10. DrGregory

    DrGregory New Member

    Wow, what a thread. It is not my intention to start a flame war, I just want to correct some inaccuracies I saw in this thread as it pertains to my profession of osteopathic medicine.

    Anyways, I'm a DO. I graduated from Nova Southeastern University and went on to complete a residency in Internal Medicine (for those unfamiliar, this is essentially medical care for adults with an emphasis on hospital care). I practice in a 18 physician practice comprised of MDs and DOs. I have friends I graduated with that went into just about any specialty there is, from family practice to neurosurgery. My school is a brick and mortar school, but they have online degrees as well. We have programs in nursing, dentistry, optometry, law, etc. etc. None of the professional health programs (of course) are online.

    Some thoughts on what has been discussed so far:

    - As for the philosophy that warguns quoted... Yeah, that philosophy is hardly stated eloquently. Fortunately, I never heard "nerve force" in my training. Basically osteopathic medicine was founded in 1872 at the same time when multiple other healing modalities were also emerging. The founder of osteopathic medicine was an M.D., apprentice trained like others in his time, who realized that everything he had been taught about "modern medicine" at the time was useless. Any system of healing, no matter what they called themselves, that rejected using the medicines of the time (mostly mercury based) was most likely a better system of healing. So A.T. Still was looking for something better and safer, and he should be admired for that. Was the right about everything? Absolutely not. Find me a practitioner of the time who was.
    Over time, the philosophy has become one in which we emphasize treating the whole patient, not just focusing on the symptoms. So our schools have a strong emphasis on primary care. Thankfully, MDs moved this way as well many decades ago although their emphasis is still predominantly on producing specialists, not primary care physicians. So there are more similarities between the two professions than there are differences. Our distinction is largely historical.

    - Also, warguns stated "As I said, DOs are just people that could not get into an MD program." That's a pretty sweeping generalization there. My entering class had 180 students. There were 180 different motivations for choosing my school. But the #1 motivation was to become a doctor. Others (a lot, in fact) chose the school because of the location. They were second-career types who wanted to be close to home and family. Others chose the school because of the curriculum which is systems based (there are several different types of curriculum for medical education). Others chose the school because they wanted to learn the manipulation techniques. Personally, I chose to be a DO before I even became a premed. I was permitted to round at one of their teaching hospitals with the medical students, interns, residents and attending physicians. Everyone treated me great and I liked what I saw. Once I became a premed I went to the medical school and spent a week each summer sitting in on classes and helping out in labs, just to get a feel for what life would be like. I liked the school. I applied and I got it.
    So were there people that were rejected from MD school? Sure there were. But so what? Medical schools get about 10,000 applicants for 200 seats. Does that mean that EVERYONE who isn't in that 200 has the IQ of mayonnaise? Of course not. You don't need to be brilliant to be an MD or DO. This is a myth. You can't be stupid, that's all. Most of the applicants to medical school can probably hack it. What is medical school, anyways, but watered down versions of the basic sciences (i.e., we take 12 weeks of biochemistry where a biochemistry PhD student spends years mastering this subject) and memorizing thousands of signs/symptoms/diseases. It isn't that hard. Exhausting, yes. But intellectual? Absolutely not. Intellectuals get PhDs.

    - Warguns also wrote, "The fact is that NOTHING from osteopathy has been accepted in modern medical practice." Well, this is incorrect. A lot of the techniques used by early osteopathic practitioners have been adopted by physical therapists. Muscle energy, strain, counterstrain, and some high-velocity/low-amplitude techniques that are taught today have their origins in books written by osteopathic physicians (an example is Jones' Strain-Counterstrain textbooks used by physical therapists). Countless studies have demonstrated that physical therapy improves outcomes in patients. While physical therapists do A LOT to help patients, part of their treatments do involve strengthening the muscles and keeping the body in proper alignment. This treatment has its roots in that ineloquent philosophy stated above. This therapy, whether done by a PT or a DO, certainly aids in recovery. I never had any professor tell me it would cure pneumonia; for that we need modern medicine (antibiotics). But these treatments can augment recovery for sure.
    If interested, here's a study published in the New England Journal demonstrating no difference between patients that were treated solely with osteopathic manipulation and patients treated with medication. Interesting article. Either manipulation is as effective as medication, the medications are useless, or both are equally effective. The jury is out, but the study was certainly interesting: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/341/19/1426

    So I think I hit some of the main points. I didn't mean to pick on you, warguns. I know you are a smart guy. Honestly, I don't expect ANYONE to understand medical education unless they have been through it. It is an incredibly complicated process full of clerkships, preceptorships, externships, internships, sub-internships, residencies, fast-track internships, fellowships, and so on. My personal experience is that most medical students don't understand the whole process until they hit their third year of school. Then to muddy thing up, we have to have multiple degrees: MDs, DOs, and MBs. It is no wonder the general public is confused and full of misinformation!

    Anyways, thanks for listening. Sorry for typos... its late and I need to hit the sack.
  11. warguns

    warguns Member


    A more appropriate date for the founding of osteopathy would be when the first osteopath school was founded in 1892.

    Before that A.T. Still was "(A)dvertising himself as a magnetic healer and a "lightning bonesetter" according to http://www.atsu.edu/about/our_founder.htm

    By 1892 medicine was far, far from being mercury-based. For example,

    Lister 1865 proved the principles of antisepsis in the treatment of wounds;

    Louis Pasteur. Linking microorganisms with disease in 1865

    Koch discovered the tubercle bacillus (1882) and the cholera bacillus (1883)
    In fact, the "germ theory", which is the basis of modern medicine was established well before Still founded his school based upon his quack "drugless, manipulative medicine".

    There's a simply way to establish this. Is these ANY ostopathic school that has higher entrance standards than ANY medical school? Actually, there may be one, but the point remains osteopathic schools are easier to get into than medical schools. Hardly anyone would choose an osteopathic school over a medical school if they had the choice.

    I don't mean to imply at all that people that graduate from osteopathic schools aren't qualified.

    Physical therapy is not medicine. Simple as that. Physical therapy is an often useful adjunct to medicine; it is not medicine.

    As I wrote, osteopathy has contributed nothing whatever to medicine.

    In summary, ODs today are qualified to practice medicine.

    The founder of osteopathy, A.T. Still was a quake and a charlatan. Ignoring the breakthroughs that were taking place establishing "germ-theory", he claimed he could cure disease with manipulation. This was completely untrue.

    Fortunately osteopathy was discarded just about everything that distinguished itself from evidence-based medicine.
  12. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Warguns, what is your definition of medicine? A quick search of a definition revealed the following:

    "Medicine is the art and science of healing. It encompasses a range of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies health science, biomedical research, and medical technology to diagnose and treat injury and disease, typically through medication, surgery, or some other form of therapy. The word medicine is derived from the Latin ars medicina, meaning the art of healing."

    I'm no physician but I did work in the medical field for seven years. Physical therapy most definitely is medicine.
  13. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Without initiating yet another flame war,

    There are a lot of different viewpoints on medicine. The allopathic, or traditionally trained MDs tend to believe that theirs is the only valid form of medicine, but that's a very western view.

    In many other parts of the world, nontraditional healing is recognized and used, sometimes to much greater efficacy than traditional allopathic medicine.

    The Queen of England and her family have been treated by a homeopathic physician for a very long time, and there are certain types of illness for which homeopathy appears to have a better success rate than conventional medicine.

    Other indiginous healing techniques, including Tibetan medicine, acupuncture and related traditional Chinese medicine has also been found to be very effective (again, sometimes more effective than traditional allopathic medicine.

    The nonprofit that I was involved with for many years used a very unconventional treatment for cancer and other degenerative diseases that, in a number of diagnoses, gave a substantially better outcome than allopathic medicine.

    I'm sure that somebody will refute all of the above for various reasons, but it's hard to argue with the success of some of these albeit wacky sounding practices that in many cases have been around for hundreds or thousands of years.

    I'm not personally that familar with osteopathy, but I do know that a number of osteopathic physicians I've met over the years tend to be a little more openminded and eclectic in their approaches to healing, and in many cases, that's worked to the strong benefit of their patients.

    Keep in mind I'm not speaking of the quacks who make statements or claims that offer absolutely no support or theory behind them, or people who make outlandish claims. There are plenty of charlatans out there... but there are also plenty of good practitioners who have simply found that modern medicine often doesn't have the only -- or even the best -- answers for treating certain conditions.

    I think there's room for both traditional and modern approaches, and I don't think dismissing treatment modalities that are outside the mainstream necessarily benefits anyone.
  14. DrGregory

    DrGregory New Member

    Indeed. Practicing medicine doesn't mean EVERYTHING needs to have a prescription attached to it. I like to think of myself as more than a "writer of prescriptions." Physicians prescribe physical therapy, use Apley's maneuvers for treatment of vertigo, use traction to reduce fractures, treat dislocations, etc. Am I not practicing medicine when I do these techniques? I better be, because I'm billing for them! :rolleyes:

    Also, I just wanted to add that in medicine we generally consider "quacks" someone who knows they are being deceptive in their treatments. Someone from Asia who studied traditional Chinese medicine and dispenses herbs is not a quack. However a physician in the United States that re-labels Listerine as "Dr. Smith's Cure All" and sells it, is a quack. Unfortunately, the lay population likes to throw the word "quack" around to anyone that does anything they may not agree with. While I do not refer to alternative practitioners in my practice, I do not view all of them as quacks.

    In regards to our admission standards, I wouldn't change a thing. I love the way we look for students. We look at the whole package and we give preference to older students from other careers. When I was in school, I think my school's average GPA for the entering class was around a 3.4-3.5. The local MD school had about a 3.7.-3.8. Our average age was 29 years old, compared to 22 years old at the MD school. I loved this aspect of my school. Most of us were older and had come from other careers. About 50 of us (myself included) had graduate degrees. We had three podiatrists in our class and a psychologist (PhD). I would not have traded my life and graduate school experiences for an extra 0.4 points on my GPA. Besides, I think the true measure of a medical school is not by the premedical student they admit, but the type of physician they graduate. I, for one, was very pleased with my education and it has served me and, more importantly, my patients well.

    As the saying goes, "Stereotyping is a real time saver." As for me, I will continue to assess my fellow physicians (and the young physicians I train) based on their knowledge and skills they bring to the bedside, and not by the institutions listed on their curricular vitaes. Or as I like to say: Physicians save lives, not diplomas.

    Listen, I'm not here to get into a flame war with anyone. Warguns, you've got strong opinions there and I'm not going to change them, nor am I trying to. I just wanted to present the other side from someone who has actually been through the process.
  15. tcnixon

    tcnixon Active Member

    Quite true. Our family doctor is a DO. She is part of a good-sized practice. I have seen no discernible difference between treatment received from her than from MDs I have had in the past. I'm not sure she would view that as a good thing or not.

    Tom Nixon
  16. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I believe it was in the 1960s that the voters of the state of California determined that osteopathy was so close to allopathy that the two should be merged. The California Medical Association (allopathic) thereupon merged with the California Osteopathic Association, and all osteopaths were given the opportunity to 'convert' their D.O. to an M.D. by paying a $65 fee and attending a short seminar. Of the approximately 2,000 DO's in the state at the time, 86%, or about 1,700 thereupon became MDs. It was a strange moment in the history of osteopathy. Things have changed since, but this was a rather dramatic statement of the close similarity of the two practices.
  17. cklapka

    cklapka Member

    This is an interesting thread!

    Warguns is your concern that someone with the A.T. Still DHS would expect to practice medicine? I do not see how this degree would qualify someone or even suggests to qualify for the profession.
  18. warguns

    warguns Member

    AT Still DHS

    I'm sorry I haven't made myself sufficiently clear. No one disputes that DOs are as qualified as MDs to practice medicine and I understand that the DHS degree doesn't qualify someone for medical (or osteopathic) practice.

    My concern is this: A.T. Still himself was a quack and a fraud. His original osteopathy was based upon a completely erroneous theory of disease and he promoted it when medicine had already made the big leap into "germ-theory" that created modern evidence-based medicine. Not only was there epidemiological evidence (eg: John Snow and cholera) but the actual bacteria that caused specific diseases had been identified.

    For example, after the bacteria that caused diphtheria was discovered (1883), an effective antitoxin was developed the following year. Formerly, diphtheria killed a quarter of those infected. Imagine being treated by Still for diphtheria by "magnetic healing" when an actual cure was available!

    Of course, modern osteopathy has discarded all the AT Still superstition. I don't know what is taught in the DHS program. Board members who attend AT Still say there's nothing unorthodox. I don't know if they are the best judges but the question I was addressing remains.

    Does a DHS degree from AT Still carry a stigma by being associated with him? Anyone who has studied the history of medicine knows that A.T. Still was a charlatan and a quack. Will that knowledge translate into prejudice against DHS graduates from A.T. Still University?
  19. warguns

    warguns Member

    AT Still

    To emphasize the above statement, I was delighted to find that all the books written by Still are available online at


    Apparently, those who run this website take this stuff perfectly seriously

    Inter Linea is a resource center committed to providing the international Osteopathic community with an opportunity to expand ones understanding and application of essential Osteopathic philosophy and core principles. (emphasis added)​

    Sample (1899)


    The Osteopath seeks first physiological perfection of form, by normally adjusting the osseous frame work, so that all
    arteries may deliver blood to nourish and construct all parts. Also that the veins may carry away all impurities dependent upon them for renovation. Also that the nerves of all classes may be free and
    unobstructed while applying the powers of life and motion to all divisions, and the whole system of nature's laboratory.

    A full and complete supply of arterial blood must be generated and delivered to all parts, organs and glands, by the channels
    called the arteries. And when it has done its work, then without delay the veins must return all to heart and lungs for renewal.
    We must know some delay of fluids has been established on which nature begins the work of renewal by increased action of
    electricity, even to the solvent action of fever heat, by which watery substances evaporate and relieve the lymphatic system of
    stagnant, watery secretions. Thus fever is a natural and powerful remedy.

    A treatment for croup

    When I had about concluded to sit down with the common herd of doctors and say that (ear) wax was wax, a fat boy of two
    summers was reported to me to be dying with croup. I began to think more about the dry wax that is always found in cases of
    croup, sore throat, tonsilitis, pneumonia, and all diseases of the lungs, nose and head. On examination I found the ear wax
    dried up. So I put a few drops of glycerine, and after a minute's time a few drops of warm water in the child's head, and kept a
    wet rag corked into its ear frequently for twelve hours, and gave it Osteopathic treatment, at the end of which time all signs of
    croup had disappeared. ​

    Actually croup is caused by a viral (occasionally bacterial) infection. It's not surprising that Still "cured" croup by this method because most cases of croup cure themselves. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/croup/DS00312/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

    Still's own books show what an incredible quack he was. No experimentation, no science, nada. The dark ages. This is pure quackdom.
  20. Tom H.

    Tom H. New Member


    I wouldn't imagine that you are very impressed with chiropractic then? :rolleyes:

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