Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.s) are physicians fully trained to diagnose illness, prescribe medications and perform surgery. The Federal Government and the American Medical Association recognize D.O.s and M.D.s as equivalent. Osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) are fully licensed, patient-centered medical doctors. They have full medical practice rights throughout the United States and in 44 countries abroad. Graduates from both programs take the same liscensure exams and are candidates for the same specialty residencies.
D.O.s are trained that that the musculoskeletal system and other organ systems are interdependent and abnormal musculoskeletal changes may cause functional changes in other systems of the body. U.S. trained osteopathic physicians practice the entire scope of modern medicine, bringing a patient-centered, holistic, hands-on approach to diagnosing and treating illness and injury. U.S. DOs can choose any specialty, prescribe drugs, perform surgeries, and practice medicine anywhere in the United States. They bring the additional benefits of osteopathic manipulative techniques to diagnose and treat patients.
Regional schools of osteopathic medicine
- Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harrogate, TN
- Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kirksville, Missouri
- Kansas City University of Medical and Biosciences, Kansas City, Kansas
- West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lewisburg, West Virginia
- Pikeville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Pikeville, KY
- Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
The web site with information on all D.O. schools is http://www.aacom.org. This site also links to the common application service.
The basic entrance requirements of the Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine are representative of the majority of osteopathic medical schools and consist of:
- 6 SH - English Comp. and Lit. (e.g. ENGL 1010, 1020)
- 8 SH - Inorganic Chemistry (CHEM 1110/1110L, 1120/1120L)
- 8 SH - Organic Chemistry (CHEM 3010/3010L, 3020/3020L)
- 8 SH - General Biology (BIOL 1110/1110L, 1120/1120L)
- 4 SH - Biology advanced
- 8 SH - Physics (PHYS 1030/1030L, 1040/1040L)
Biology, Chemistry, and Physics must include laboratory hours. Non-laboratory classes do not count toward these requirements. It is recommended that students take several courses from the following: comparative anatomy, vertebrate embryology, vertebrate physiology, cell biology, genetics, and microbiology. Strongly recommended chemistry courses include analytical, physical, biochemistry, or chemical instrumentation. Calculus, behavioral and social sciences, as well as computer science courses, are highly recommended. It is desirable that elective hours be selected from philosophy, history, political science, literature, etymology, and foreign language. The latter are all important components of the B.S. degree in Biology. Students should complete their degrees before entrance into medical school.
Pre-medical students should apply to medical schools during the junior year. In addition, students should also plan on taking the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) in April of their junior year (no later than August). Registration begins in February and is only online at http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/.
The MCAT is not an aptitude test, but rather an achievement test. Proper preparation for the test is extremely important. MCAT publications to help students include: MCAT Practice tests (Web and Paper), MCAT Practice Online (full length tests), One free full-length test. MCAT publications can be purchased by using the website (http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/). Additional publications are available at local bookstores.
Generally, the required Letters of Recommendation will include one Physician letter from a D.O., as well as your other letters. This is needed to show you have been exposed to the differences about how a D.O. approaches medicine.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine operates a centralized application service, called AACOMAS, for its twenty-eight member schools. The osteopathic medical schools require scores from the new Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Arrange to have your scores forwarded to AACOMAS.
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 310
Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7231