Use of the D.O. Designation

ACOS members are reminded that the College interprets the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Code of Ethics to require that the “D.O.” designation appear after their name in all professional uses. Professional uses are interpreted to include stationery, signs, business cards, advertisements, telephone directories, and other listings referred to by the general public. Many state medical licensing board regulations also require designation of the D.O. degree.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has held healthcare advertising to a higher standard of accuracy and fairness than other forms of advertising and has declared that it will regard a statement as deceptive if “there is a misrepresentation, omission, or other practice that is likely to mislead the consumer acting reasonably in the circumstances...” (FTC, “Statement on False and Deceptive Advertising Practices,” 1984). ACOS members are required to adhere to the AOA Code of Ethics and to be in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.