Along the line of historyPosted: August 4, 2017
ATSU’s distinguished past is one of compassion and perseverance. When A.T. Still, DO, began practicing osteopathic medicine, he believed people needed a better system of medical care that didn’t rely on drugs and surgical procedures. His ideas were not widely accepted, but Dr. Still did not waver. His holistic principles and practices ushered in a new era of medical care – whole person healthcare.
From its humble beginnings in 1892, ATSU has become a leader in health professions education. Its growth is a testament to the effectiveness of osteopathic medicine, and its achievements are an indication of the University’s bright future. In honor of ATSU’s 125th anniversary, Still Magazine has turned back the pages of time to revisit some of the notable moments in the history of the University, its founder, and the osteopathic profession.
Aug. 6, 1828
Dr. Still is born in Lee County, Virginia.
He was known as “Drew” to his eight siblings. His father, Abram, was a Methodist preacher and physician, and his work led the family to move several times. Today, the family’s original log cabin sits inside the Tinning Education Center on the Kirksville, Missouri, campus.
The Still family moves to Missouri.
The family originally settled in Macon County. In 1840, the family moved to Schuyler County. They lived there for five years before returning to Macon County in 1845.
At age 10, Dr. Still uses a rope sling to alleviate a headache.
In his autobiography, Dr. Still wrote, “I made a swing of my father’s plow-line between two trees; but my head hurt too much to make swinging comfortable, so I let the rope down to about eight or ten inches off the ground, threw the end of a blanket on it, and I lay down on the ground and used the rope for a swinging pillow. Thus I lay stretched on my back, with my neck across the rope. Soon I became easy and went to sleep, got up in a little while with headache all gone.”
Dr. Still marries Mary Margaret Vaughn.
Dr. Still moves to Kansas to help his father provide care for American Indians.
Dr. Still is elected to Kansas State Legislature.
Mary Margaret dies, leaving Dr. Still with three young children.
Dr. Still marries Mary Elvira Turner.
Dr. Still enlists in the Union Army in the Civil War and is distraught by the medical care and effects of opium.
In October 1864, his outfit saw action near Kansas City, helping to repel the Confederate forces advancing on the city and pursuing the army of General Sterling Price for more than 90 miles. Soon thereafter, Dr. Still received orders to disband the regiment and go home. He was then granted the opportunity to attend medical school.
Dr. Still loses children to illness.
Dr. Still had already lost his first wife and three young children. Illness struck his family, and four children died within four weeks. His frustration increased with the current state of medicine. Even as a physician, he felt helpless in trying to save those closest to him.
June 22, 1874
After years of study and research, Dr. Still begins to practice what would become osteopathic medicine.
Dr. Still announced his new theory by saying, “I flung to the breeze the banner of Osteopathy.”
Dr. Still moves to Kirksville, Missouri.
His methods gained acceptance, and in March, he opened an office on the town square. Kirksville’s population at the time was approximately 1,800. He advertised himself as a magnetic healer and “lightning bonesetter,” and he worked as a traveling physician throughout northern Missouri.
Dr. Still’s fame grows, and he coins the term “osteopathy.”
ATSU opens as the American School of Osteopathy (ASO) in Kirksville.
Osteopathic medical education was born. The first class of 21 students included five women and 16 men.
The Journal of Osteopathy is launched in Kirksville.
The journal was intended to be a unique, scientific journal for the osteopathic profession. Nettie Bolles, DO, 1894, who was a student at the time, became the journal’s first editor.
Missouri legalizes osteopathic medicine as a profession, the third state to do so.
Vermont legalized it first in 1896, followed by North Dakota. ASO graduate George J. Helmer, DO, 1896, spearheaded the push for legalization.
Dr. Still publishes his autobiography.
To read Dr. Still’s full autobiography online, visit atsu.edu/museum/subscription.
June 22, 1897
Dr. Still receives his diploma from the ASO, officially earning his DO degree.
The ASO obtains the first X-ray machine west of the Mississippi in an educational institution.
The ASO’s first yearbook is published.
To view the 1907 Osteoblast yearbook online, visit atsu.edu/museum/alumni_yearbooks.
The ASO establishes a nursing program.
Dr. Still believed osteopathic physicians needed specially trained nurses who understood manipulation. The nursing program was a significant part of the ASO’s curriculum for several decades.
The first hydraulic treatment table is invented.
John Vanderhoot McManis, DO, 1905, and his wife, Lulu F. Stoltenberg McManis, DO, 1905, developed and produced the McManis Treatment Table. In 1916, they established the McManis Table Company headquarters in Kirksville. The company was located on Jefferson Street, where the U.S. Post Office stands today.
May 23, 1917
The first statue of Dr. Still is unveiled on campus.
The sculpture began in 1913 but stalled because of lack of funds. It was started again in 1916 by Dr. Still’s great-nephew, George A. Still, DO, 1905, who helped raise the remaining funds needed. Originally, the sculpture was installed in front of the hospital at Osteopathy and Jefferson Streets. In June 1935, the statue was moved to the Adair County Courthouse grounds, where it is still located today.
Dec. 12, 1917
Dr. Still dies at age 89 in Kirksville.
George A. Still, DO, 1905, becomes president of the ASO.
A second osteopathic school, the Andrew Taylor Still College of Osteopathy and Surgery (ATSCOS), is founded.
ATSCOS was established by George M. Laughlin, DO, 1900, Dr. Still’s son-in-law. It was built on the corner of Elson and Jefferson Streets, which is where the Administration Building stands today. The ASO continued under the administration of S.S. Still, DO, 1895, Dr. Still’s nephew.
The ASO and ATSCOS merge to become the Kirksville Osteopathic College.
George M. Laughlin, DO, 1900, served as president for the unified institution.
Kirksville Osteopathic College becomes a nonprofit educational institution.
Students M.A. Schalck and L.P. Ramsdell, both from the class of 1928, begin dissecting an entire human nervous system.
The School is renamed Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery (KCOS).
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) conference is held in Kirksville for the last time.
This conference marked 100 years since Dr. Still’s birth. The Still family cabin, which was moved from Virginia to Kirksville, was rededicated at this meeting.
President George M. Laughlin, DO, 1900, earmarks $5,000 from the College’s general fund for research.
This is the first funding dedicated to research, and it established the College’s research program. The program was led by John Stedman Denslow, DO, ’29, who focused his studies on osteopathic lesion using electromyographical methods.
Morris R. Thompson, DSc (hon.), becomes president of KCOS.
KCOS Rural Clinics program is established.
The first rural clinic opened on Aug. 9, 1949, in Gibbs, Missouri. Third- and fourth-year students worked in rural clinics as part of their clinical training. Patients came to the clinics with an array of conditions, including breached babies and half-severed limbs. By 1960, 10 clinics were serving more than 43,000 patients. The program ran through the early 1990s, but it ended because of changes to insurance. Students working in these clinics did not have physician oversight on a regular basis, and therefore, were a liability.
U.S. Congress amends the Social Security Act so the term “physician” includes osteopathic physician.
The tenets of osteopathic medicine are published.
The School’s Special Committee on Osteopathic Principles and Osteopathic Technic published the four osteopathic tenets in the Journal of Osteopathy in October 1953. These tenets are still in use today.
I. The body is a unit.
II. The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms.
III. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
IV. Rational therapy is based upon an understanding of body unity, self-regulatory mechanisms, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
The Rockefellers donate funds to construct the Timken-Burnett Research Building.
One of the Rockefeller children, who was deaf, received an osteopathic medical treatment. After the treatment, the child was able to hear. The family then donated a total of $1 million to the building.
The School is renamed Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM).
H. Charles Moore, PhD, becomes president of KCOM.
The first Osteopathic Week is celebrated statewide in Missouri.
The Thompson Campus Center (TCC) is dedicated.
Dr. Still believed an active body helped nurture an inquisitive and informed mind. In keeping with Dr. Still’s philosophy, the College created the Still-Well program in 1991 to encourage students’ health and wellness throughout their educational experience.
Max T. Gutensohn, DO, ’41, becomes interim president of KCOM.
Fred. C. Tinning, PhD, becomes president of KCOM.
Primary Care Clinic is renamed the Gutensohn Osteopathic Health andWellness Clinic.
KCOM celebrates its centennial anniversary.
KCOM opens Arizona School of Health Sciences (ASHS) in Mesa, Arizona.
The School was initially named Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine Southwest Center for Osteopathic Medical Education.
Phyllis J. Blondefield, PhD, becomes president of KCOM.
James J. McGovern, PhD, becomes president of KCOM.
The College of Graduate Health Studies is added in Kirksville.
The College was formally named School of Health Management.
Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, DO, FACOFP, ’80, becomes the first female interim dean of KCOM.
The name A.T. Still University (ATSU) is adopted as the umbrella for all schools.
ATSU-ASHS moves to its current campus in Mesa.
The School features programs in athletic training, audiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and physician assistant studies.
ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) opens in Mesa.
ATSU’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) opens in Mesa.
ATSU-KCOM receives its first human patient simulator.
The first Mediman simulator was housed in the Howard Wing in a single room. Today, the Interprofessional Education Building houses the Drabing Human Patient Simulation Center, which includes 15 rooms with eight Laerdal 3G simulators, two junior simulators, a maternal birthing simulator with newborn simulator, and two colonoscopy/endoscopy/bronchoscopy machines.
W. Jack Magruder, EdD, becomes president of ATSU.
The Atlas Fraternity House is lost to fire.
ATSU-KCOM introduces ultrasound technology into its curriculum.
Craig M. Phelps, DO, ’84, becomes president of ATSU.
Margaret Wilson, DO, ’82, becomes the first female dean of KCOM.
Dr. Still is inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians.
Dr. Still was inducted on April 16 at the Missouri state Capitol, after receiving nearly 38 percent of more than 34,000 votes in a public nominating and voting process.
ATSU’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) opens in Kirksville.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, American Osteopathic Association, and American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine announced a single graduate medical education accreditation system.
ATSU celebrates its 125th anniversary.
For more information on the University’s anniversary, visit 125.atsu.edu.