Doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs), called osteopathic physicians, in the U.S. receive medical training very similar to their allopathic colleagues (MDs), but DOs are trained to offer additional perspectives. DOs and MDs both attend four years of medical school followed by graduate medical education through internships and residencies. Residencies are generally three to four years and prepare the physician to practice a specialty such as family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics or sports medicine.
In addition to the basic medicine curriculum, osteopathic medical students (OMS) are specially trained in the musculoskeletal system, giving them an enhanced understanding of the body’s nerves, muscles and bones.
DOs and MDs both pass comparable certification exams to obtain their medical licenses, and they can practice in fully accredited and licensed health care facilities.
Disclaimer: Osteopathic clinicians who received their training outside the U.S. may not have the same credentials as physicians who attended osteopathic medical schools accredited by the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA), American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) are currently transitioning to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education in the U.S. When fully implemented in July 2020, the new system will allow graduates of osteopathic and allopathic medical schools to complete their residency and/or fellowship education in ACGME-accredited programs and demonstrate achievement of common milestones and competencies. Through osteopathic-focused residency programs, the new system will recognize the unique principles and practices of the osteopathic medical profession and its contributions to health care.
Learn more about the single accreditation system.
Learn more about the value of osteopathic recognition.
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AAO members who submit the most promising proposals for advancing osteopathic manipulative medicine will be given 15 to 30 minutes to outline their thoughts, demonstrate their techniques and field questions from their peers.
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