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Figs, maker of scrubs, apologizes for ‘insensitive’ ad targeting osteopathic doctors

Figs, a medical apparel company known for stylish scrubs, apologized Tuesday for a video advertisement on its website that targeted doctors of osteopathic medicine.

“A lot of you guys have pointed out an insensitive video we had on our site — we are incredibly sorry for any hurt this has caused you, especially our female DOs (who are amazing!),” the company said in a statement. “FIGS is a female founded company whose only mission is to make you guys feel awesome.”

The company also tweeted: “We dropped the ball and and we are so sorry. We love you guys and we’ll always listen to what you have to say!”

The video, which is no longer on the company’s website, features a woman in neon pink scrubs reading a book titled “Medical Terminology for Dummies” while holding it upside down.

The camera zooms in on the woman as she adjusts the waist of her pants, capturing a work identification card that says “DO.”

Doctors of osteopathic medicine, or DOs, are fully licensed physicians, according to the American Osteopathic Association. They are different from traditional medical doctors in that they are trained to take a holistic approach to patient care.

Many people slammed Figs on social media Tuesday, accusing the company of exhibiting gender bias in the ad.

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine said in a statement that it was “outraged that in 2020, women physicians and doctors of osteopathic medicine are still attacked in thoughtless and ignorant marketing campaigns.”

“A company like FIGS that asks us to spend money on its product should be ashamed for promoting these stereotypes,” the statement said. “We demand the respect we’ve earned AND a public apology.”

Brenna Hohl, a first-year medical student in Lillington, North Carolina, said “the disrespect for female physicians and DOs exhibited in the ad is unforgivable.” She said she was offended by it.

“Not only did it offend female DOs, but it is also extremely disrespectful toward any woman working in the healthcare field,” she said in an interview.

Marie Thigpen, a neonatologist in North Carolina, said it was “shameful.”

“Female doc here,” she wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “How many execs saw this and no one said a thing? How many in your company thought this would be a good ad? That’s the real problem. You don’t even realize that your ad is trash. Well female docs, nurses and staff have spending power and we will spend elsewhere.”

Cara Norvell, a doctor of osteopathic medicine in Dallas, said she hoped the company’s founders “will gain access to a book called ‘Advertising for Dummies.’”

She said the ad was

UNE to move its College of Osteopathic Medicine to Portland

BIDDEFORD, Maine (AP) — Funding from the Harold Alfond Foundation will help the University of New England move the College of Osteopathic Medicine from the main campus in Biddeford to a 100,000-square-foot building in Portland, the university announced Tuesday.

The $30 million grant also will be used to accelerate high-growth undergraduate and graduate programs to meet student demand and workforce needs in areas like aquaculture, entrepreneurship, criminal justice and sports media communication, among others, officials said.

The move of the College of Osteopathic Medicine will put it on the Portland campus along with other health-related programs like dentistry, pharmacy, physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, dental hygiene and nurse anesthesia.

“With a truly integrated health care campus, like none other in our region, our health professions students will capitalize on opportunities for cross-professional learning, enhance their team-based competencies, and will benefit from amazing new learning spaces that will complement UNE’s existing assets,” said UNE President James Herbert.

The university hopes to break ground on the new building in the spring 2022 and looks to the fall 2023 as a targeted completion date, officials said.

The grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation is part of a $500 million commitment over 12 years to provide an economic boost to the state.

“We believe that two fundamental components of a bright future for Maine are a high-quality education and a healthy population, and UNE is a significant contributor toward both of these goals,” said Greg Powell, chairman of the foundation.

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What Makes Osteopathic Doctors Different

Osteopathic doctors are happy to share their techniques, but most could stand to receive a little more credit for their contributions. In recent years, M.D.s have gathered scientific evidence that supports osteopathic claims, but often without referencing those osteopathic origins. For example, D.O.s contend that the growing interest in fascia—tissue that sheaths and supports muscles and organs throughout the body—and the 2012 “discovery” of the glymphatic system, which drains waste away from the brain, both correspond to concepts Still described more than 100 years ago. Some osteopathic doctors feel validated by these developments. For others, the sense of disrespect runs deep. My D.O., whom I visited roughly every three weeks prior to the pandemic, teared up when talking about scientists who say that the glymphatic system was “previously unknown.”

In the past decade, professional organizations and academic institutions have begun to invest more heavily in osteopathic research. But at this point, the most compelling evidence for the continued practice of osteopathic medicine are the studies showing that, in certain cases, there’s no significant difference in patient outcomes, whether they’re managed by a D.O. or an M.D. It sounds like a low bar, but Gevitz argues it shows that different patients benefit from different kinds of care. Some people hate touch; for others, it’s restorative. “There are different paths to healing,” Gevitz says, and the opportunity to choose is itself important.


26th February 1949: An osteopath treating a little girl who has trouble with her pelvic joints at the British School of Osteopathy clinic. (Raymond Kleboe / Picture Post / Hulton Archive / Getty)

My grandfather died of multiple myeloma in 2014, and a few months later, the meniscus in my jaw dislocated. Achy and tired, at one point I Ubered around Seattle looking for a TMJ specialist until, finally, my mom set up an appointment with an osteopathic physician. As the doctor’s big hands cupped the base of my head, I felt like a time traveler coming home.

Still defined the osteopathic tradition, from its inception, in opposition to the mainstream medicine of his day. It was only natural that mainstream medicine shunned osteopathic doctors in turn, relegating them to their own hospitals and refusing to refer patients their way. But today, osteopathic and allopathic doctors are difficult to distinguish, and the curricula at osteopathic and allopathic schools have largely synchronized, because D.O.s and M.D.s must ultimately pass the same licensing exams in order to practice.

“D.O.s are having an identity crisis,” Gevitz says. “Because who are they? What is the rationale for being a separate profession of medicine?”

The two disciplines are only growing closer. This spring, after years of negotiations, allopathic and osteopathic organizations agreed to sort their students into residency programs through a single, unified competency-based system, which evaluates all residents on six domains, including medical knowledge and systems-based practice. Although the majority of the programs are allopathic, some pursued a special osteopathic recognition, which signals their commitment to continuing education