School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona
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Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)

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Program Overview : Admission Requirements : Catalog & Curriculum : Graduate Placement : Tuition and Expenses : Financial Aid : Fact Sheet PDF

D.O. Facts

60 percent of all D.O.s practice in the primary care areas of general practice, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and pediatrics.

By the year 2005, it is expected that 51,500 osteopathic physicians will be practicing in the United States.

D.O.s represent 6 percent of the total U.S. physician population and 8 percent of all U.S. military physicians.

100 million patient visits are made to D.O.s annually.

Strong concentrations of D.O.s are found in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

D.O.s fill a critical need for family doctors by practicing in small towns and rural areas.

Today's osteopathic physicians continue to be on the cutting edge of modern medicine, combining advanced medical technology with a hands-on approach to their patients' health and wellness.

D.O. & M.D.

The Similarities

Both typically have a four-year undergraduate degree with an emphasis in the sciences.

Both complete four years of basic medical education.

Both are fully trained and licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery.

Both can choose to practice in a specialty area of medicine, such as psychiatry, surgery, or obstetrics after completing a residency program (typically two to six years of additional training).

Both must pass comparable national and state licensing examinations.

Both practice in fully accredited and licensed healthcare institutions.

Together, D.O.s and M.D.s enhance the state of medical care available in America by comprising a separate, yet equal branch of American healthcare.

The Differences

D.O.s practice a whole person approach to medicine; instead of treating specific symptoms or illnesses, they regard the body as an integrated whole.

D.O.s receive more training in the musculoskeletal system - the body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles, and bones. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the ways in which an injury or illness in one part of the body can affect another.

Osteopathic physicians focus on preventive healthcare.

Osteopathic medical schools graduate more students who become primary care physicians.

Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is incorporated in the training and practice of osteopathic physicians. D.O.s are trained to use their hands to diagnose injury and illness and encourage the body's natural tendency toward good health. By combining all other medical procedures with OMT, D.O.s offer their patients the most comprehensive healthcare available in medicine today.