Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.’s) practice a unique form of medical care in the United States. Osteopathic medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health education, injury and disease prevention.

For a student's view of osteopathic medicine, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine offers A Brief Guide to Osteopathic Medicine, For Students, By Students.

The Philosophy

Dr. Andrew Taylor Still developed Osteopathic Medicine in response to harmful medical practices during the 19th century. Dr. Still studied the process of disease and believed the body could heal itself through the use of preventive medicine, including eating properly and keeping fit.

Osteopathic Distinctions

  • D.O.’s receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system which provides greater understanding of the ways injury or disease in one part of the body affects another.
  • D.O.’s focus on preventive health care.
  • D.O.’s practice a “whole person” approach to medicine to treat the person, not just the symptoms.
  • D.O.’s integrate osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) into their practices. OMT encourages the use of the physician’s hands to diagnose injury and illness and to enable the body to fulfill its natural tendency toward good health.

Is D.O. the Choice for You?

D.O’s and M.D.’s share similarities:

  • Both complete four years of medical education.
  • Both are fully licensed to prescribe medication, perform surgery, and after training, practice in all other specialties.
  • Both must pass national licensing examinations.
  • Both practice in fully accredited and licensed healthcare institutions.

A Growing Profession

Osteopathic medicine continues to grow in the United States as patients choose the holistic philosophy. Today, D.O.’s continue to be on the cutting edge of modern medicine.

There are currently 30 colleges of osteopathic medicine, offering instruction at 40 locations in 28 states. Enrollment is highly competitive and LECOM recommends applicants spend time with an osteopathic physician to learn more about the profession.