Compare/Contrast MD and DO

  1.  Two Types:
    • There are two types of physicians: M.D. (Medical Doctor) and D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). M.D.s are also known as allopathic physicians. 
  2. Similarities:
    • D.O.s (just like M.D.s) are licensed to diagnose, treat, prescribe medications, and perform surgery in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
    • D.O.s can specialize in any field of medicine, just like M.D.s
    • D.O.s can obtain M.D. residencies, but M.D.s cannot obtain D.O. residencies. 
    • The pre-requisites for D.O and M.D medical school programs are essentially very similar.
    • The application process for both is nearly the same.
    • The medical school curriculum is nearly the same.
  3. Differences:
    • D.O.s have a strongly holistic philosophy and practice osteopathic manipulative medicine - a distinctive system of hands-on diagnosis and treatment which focuses specifically on the musculoskeletal system.
    • Osteopathic manipulative medicine is an outgrowth of two basic concepts that underlie the osteopathic approach to health:
      • Structure influences function, which means that if there is an imbalance, injury or other problem in one part of the body's structure, it will affect function in that area - and sometimes elsewhere in the body, as well. 
      • The body has an innate capacity for self-healing. Thus, the object of osteopathic manipulation is to eliminate or reduce impediments to proper structure and function, in order to promote the body's own self-healing mechanisms.
    • D.O.s are most likely to be primary care specialists although they can be found in all specialties. About 50% of D.O.s practice general or family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics.
    • They use different application services
      • If you want to apply to M.D medical schools, you use AMCAS.
      • If you want to apply to D.O medical schools, you use AACOMAS.
    • There are less D.O.s because there are far less D.O. medical schools than M.D. medical schools.