For Osteopathic Medical Students and Premeds
SDN features the most popular osteopathic student and pre-med forums on the Internet.
- Pre-medical Osteopathic Medicine Forum
- Osteopathic Medical Student Forum
- COMLEX and USMLE Forum
- Resident and Intern Forums (MD and DO)
These resources are originally from osteopathic.net, a site which is now part of SDN.
- “MD or DO, Which one?” An article describing the differences between the two fields
- Osteopathic PreMedical FAQ
- COMLEX and USMLE FAQ
What is Osteopathic Medicine?
Although there are over 43,000 D.O.s in the United States, 9 of 10 people have never heard of osteopathic medicine.
In the United States, osteopathic medicine is a system of medical care with a philosophy that combines the needs of patients with the current practice of medicine and surgery. Osteopathic philosophy has an emphasis on internal relationships of structure and function, with an appreciation of the body’s ability to heal itself.
Osteopathic physicians [D.O.s] attend unique medical schools; they receive the traditional four year comprehensive medical education with an additional emphasis on disease prevention and treatment of the total person, rather than their disease alone — because of their total-person philosophy, many osteopathic physicians specialize in primary care fields such as family medicine, pediatrics, obsetrics and emergency medicine.
However, it’s not just their philosophy that sets osteopathic physicians apart from their allopathic (M.D.) colleagues. D.O.s are also specially trained in manual medicine for treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. With this training emphasis, some osteopathic physicians specialize in rehabilitation and sports-medicine — indeed, you’ll find many D.O.s as pro-sports and college team physicians.
How Does an M.D. Differ from a D.O.?
M.D.s are similar to D.O.s. An M.D. is a physician trained at a standard four year medical school. D.O.s receive the same four year medical school education but with the osteopathic philosophies tied into the basic principles of medicine. D.O.s also receive hundreds of hours of additional training in manipulative medicine techniques and diagnosis. Upon graduation from medical school, D.O.s continue with residency training in any of the medical specialties, from family medicine to neurosurgery.Otherwise there are few differences; M.D.s and D.O.s have the same practice rights throughout the United States. You can find D.O.s and M.D.s working together in the best hospitals and clinics throughout the nation. D.O.s are also found in all branches of military medicine — in fact, in the 1990s a Surgeon General of the U.S. Army was an osteopathic physician.