If you are like most people, you have been going to a doctor since you were born, and perhaps were not aware whether you were seeing a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) or an M.D. (allopathic physician). You may not even be aware that these are the only two types of complete physicians in the United States.
The fact is, both D.O.s and M.D.s are complete physicians. They are both licensed by state and specialty boards to perform surgery and prescribe medication. Is there any difference between these two types of physicians? Yes. And no.
D.O.s and M.D.s are alike in many ways:
Applicants to both D.O. and M.D. colleges typically have a four-year undergraduate degree with an emphasis on science courses.
Both D.O.s and M.D.s complete four years of basic medical education. In addition, D.O.s undergo extensive training in Osteopathic Philosophy which incorporates Osteopathic Manipulation in the total care and management of the patient.
After medical school, both D.O.s and M.D.s can choose to practice in a specialty area of medicine such as psychiatry, surgery or obstetrics. They both complete a residency program, which takes typically two to six years of additional training.
Both D.O.s and M.D.s must pass comparable state licensing examinations.
D.O.s and M.D.s both practice in fully accredited and licensed hospitals and medical centers.
D.O.s comprise a separate, yet equal branch of American medical care. Together D.O.s and M.D.s enhance the state of health care available in America.