What is a D.O.?

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O. or DO) is physician that has a Doctoral degree in Osteopathic Medicine. Holders of the D.O. degree are known as Osteopathic Physicians. D.O.s undergo a similar curriculum as the M.D.'s, with the addition of Osteopathic Manipulative Techniques. Currently, there are 25 medical schools that offer the D.O. degree - in comparison with 130 medical schools that offer the M.D. degree. D.O.s make up a small population, approximately 11%, of practicing physicians and surgeons in the United States.

D.O.s compared to M.D.s

In the United States, the D.O. and the M.D. are the only two degrees permitting licensure as medical physicians. D.O. and M.D. physicians have similar training, both requiring four years of training in the basic and clinical sciences and the successful completion of licensing exams

  • D.O. physicians must pass the COMLEX
  • M.D. physicians must pass the USMLE.

D.O. physicians train everywhere that M.D. physicians train. However, Osteopathic medical physicians receive additional training in Osteopathic Manual Manipulation.

D.O.s bring something extra to medicine

  • Osteopathic medical schools emphasize training students to be primary care physicians.
  • D.O.s practice a "whole person" approach to medicine. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, they regard your body as an integrated whole.
  • Osteopathic physicians focus on preventive health care.
  • D.O.s receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system-your body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that make up two-thirds of your body mass. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the ways that an illness or injury in one part of your body can affect another.
  • Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is incorporated into the training and practice of osteopathic physicians. With OMT, osteopathic physicians use their hands to diagnose illness and injury and to encourage your body's natural tendency toward good health. By combining all other available medical options with OMT.
  • D.O.s offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.