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Osteopathic Medicine (DO)

In the United States, there are two types of fully licensed physicians: allopathic physicians (MD) and osteopathic physicians (DO). Osteopathic medicine has been practiced in this country for over a century, and the number of osteopathic medical schools has been rapidly increasing over the past few years. Currently, more than twenty percent of medical school students in the United States are enrolled at osteopathic medical schools. 

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine states:

“Osteopathic medicine is a distinctive form of medicine. Osteopathic physicians use all of the knowledge, skills, tools and technology available in modern medicine, with the added benefits of a holistic philosophy and a system of hands-on diagnosis and treatment known as osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). Doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) emphasize helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health promotion and disease prevention.”

“DOs work in partnership with their patients…DOs are licensed to practice the full scope of medicine in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other territories of the United States, as well as in more than 65 countries abroad. They practice in all types of environments, including the military, and in all specialties, from family medicine and obstetrics to surgery and cardiology … Because of their whole-person approach to medicine, approximately 56 percent of all DOs choose to practice in the primary care disciplines of family practice, general internal medicine, and pediatrics. The remaining 44 percent go on to specialize in any number of practice areas.”

For further information about osteopathic medicine, visit the American Osteopathic Association, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), and Doctors That DO.

Detailed information about international licensure, including a list of countries in which DOs have practice rights, can be found on the American Osteopathic Association website.

Application service: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service

Standardized test: Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

Choose DO Explorer & Student Guide to Osteopathic Medical Colleges:

Provide information about osteopathic medical colleges to assist students who are considering applying to osteopathic medical schools.

Other Resources:

D.O. or Do Not Podcast