View Full Version : Canadians getting into DO programs
Hi everyone--wondering if you can help me out. I am a Canadian undergrad student really interested in osteopathic medicine. The philosophy totally agrees with my own view of what medicine should be, but unfortunately, there are no osteopathic schools up here. Do you know of any Canadians who have been able to get into DO programs down in the States, and how difficult it was to be admitted?
Thanks a lot!! Take care, everyone.
02-10-1999, 11:09 AM
I interviewed with a guy who went to University of Calgary, I believe. In fact, we both got accepted and will be attending NSUCOM this coming fall. I think he frequents this discussion board. He'll probably have some info that would be to your benefit. Good luck.
Thanks for your reply. Anyone else a Canadian or know one who applied/got in?
Yes, there are many Canadian students at DO schools. Most schools have a couple with LECOM having lots (presumabley b/c of proximity). AZCOM, I believe, is only open to US citizens. You are considered out-of-state but have no other disadvantage beyond American out-of-staters. You do have to prove your ability to pay for your entire medical education before they give you a student visa to attend. For many Canadians, that is where the problem is.
Hi Cath. I'm a Canadian also intererested in getting into a DO school here down in the states. I like the osteopathic holistic approach just like you, and hope one school will take me in. Talk to you soon.
Hi 2003, thanks for the info. Also, congrats on your acceptance -- you must be pretty excited.
If you don't mind me prying for more info from you, are you a Canadian? where did you do your undergrad? Are a lot of Canucks "forced" to leave after residency? what if I was willing to work in an underserviced area of the US?
King, nice to meet you. Glad that we share some of the same concerns -- are you going to school in the states right now?
Hi all, good luck and thank you. My mother and one of my sisters (living in the Bay area) are U.S. citizens and my father is Canadian. I am going through the process of dual citizenship although I had to apply as Canadian (the process takes quite awhile). I did my undergrad at the University of Alberta (where my dad got his PhD). Every Canadian is forced to leave after residency unless you agree to work in an underserved area or become a permanent resident of the U.S. (by marriage or immediate family sponsorship). Luckily for me, I will likely have my green card by 2nd year of school. Any other questions?
Thanks for your help. Darn! I didn't know it would be rough for a Canadian grad following residency; is there any way that one can obtain a Green Card other than thru marriage or immediate relative? (2003, you're lucky that you have your mom/sister to sponsor you) Unfortunately for me, the closest American relative I have is an uncle, so he can't sponsor me. Can't you still get a work visa or something in order to stay in the States?
Once again, thanks for all your help. I have found that osteopathic pre-meds are awesome in their willingness to help others.
02-19-1999, 06:14 PM
Another way to get a green card is to have an employer sponsor you. If you get a job as a physician in the US, if you are good enough the employer might sponsor you so you can stay in the US. Perhaps if you served in an underserved area under the auspices of the Federal Government, maybe the govt. may sponsor you. Though I have doubts about this situation, I believe you need to be a US citizen to participate in the National Health Services Corp (Federal govt. program that places docs in underserved communities). Another option may to enlist in the US Armed Forces, do a fellowship or just be an Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard doctor for a few years to get your citizenship.
P.S. An orthopedic surgeon I used to work with got his MD from University of Alberta. He was a general practitioner in Canada for a few years, then he did his ortho surgery residency at Stanford. Ever since his residency, he has stayed in the US and is a US-citizen now.
Visas are given to other countries citizens if their career is in short supply in the U.S.. That's what you get if you go to an underserved area. It must be renewed every year (thereby allowing them to boot all unwanted docs out if there is ever a glut everywhere, or move them somewhere else if where they are is no longer underserved). You can not work until you have a visa and are not permitted to work on your student visa (ie. no part-time jobs) b/c you are seen as taking away jobs from Americans. Edgar, I do not believe you can enlist in the U.S. army/navy/Aforce if you are neither a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (please correct me if I'm wrong). One popular way Canadian physicians stay in the U.S. is getting sponsored by Universities with teaching hospitals. That is, if you can become faculty you are not seen as taking away American jobs (but instead, providing an excellent education to Americans b/c of your [unique] clinical skills). It's not easy and, in some way, I am lucky. However, I may choose to work in an underserved area so perhaps there is no difference (I guess I have the luxury of choice). Good luck and feel free to ask more questions!
The previous posts lead one to think the REAL issue here is about being able to
practice in the US. NO ONE is talking about returning to Canada to practice
their wonderful osteopathic skills on their own citizens. Is the situation THAT
bad for Canadian physicians? Is it about practice opportunities or income?
Also, please be aware that even with a visa your practice opportunities in the US
will be extremely limited. Pick up any issue of JAMA and flip to the back section
titled "employment opportunities". Virtually every ad ends by saying, "No J-1 visa
[This message has been edited by Deb (edited 02-20-99).]
02-20-1999, 02:26 PM
You should also remember that DO's may not get full practice rights in all provinces. The medical privileges given to DO's varies from province to province in Canada. Thus, Canadian DO's might have a strong incentive to think about staying in the US. Cath, you should definitely think about where you want to practice and research what the regulations are in that province (if you want to come back to Canada). Like you I'm a Canadian but I am also an American by birth, I wholeheartedly agree with the DO philosophy, but I'm applying to Canadian MD schools for two reasons: 1)cheaper tuition (even in Ontario) when compared to American med schools (both DO and MD) and 2) better chances of admittance (if you look at the applicant/matriculant stats in provinces like alberta, sask, man and nfld, chances of being accepted are about 1:4 for an in-province applicant)
02-20-1999, 03:08 PM
Cath, I also forgot to add that you shouldn't necessarily rule out Canadian MD schools as having a philosophy contradictory to that of Osteopathic medicine. At UBC, holistic medicine is covered in the medicine program and students are actually offered electives in alternative medicine such as acupuncture (a very common treatment due to the high proportions of Asians in BC) as well as other healing techniques that traditionally have had a holistic approach to health.
As someone who will be a dual citizen I would have no trouble coming back to Canada to practice osteopathic medicine. In fact, b/c there are so few osteopathic physicians in Canada, they usually have long waiting lists to be seen (ie. large need). I am comfortable with both systems of medicine. I think you are missing one thing Deb... if a Canadian goes that much in debt with private loans they usually want to maximize how fast they can pay back their loans. I can't speak for other provinces but in Alberta the average physician salary (it was in the paper two weeks ago) was $180,166 with cardiac surgeons making the most at an average of $438,072. Nobody is going to starve but you are taxed more in Canada and when you are trying to pay down loans quickly it is nice to have the option of weighing offers from different places. Lucky for me, I will. Ponyboy, looking at applicant to matriculant ratios is a terrible indicator of competitiveness. Harvard gets under 4000 applicants for 165 spots while Finch is 13000:175, Howard 6000:110, and George Washington at 11500:150. By your rationale, NSU-COM is more competitive than Harvard University (4000:150). Now I love Nova but it is easier to get into than Harvard. University of Alberta had a 3.83 avg. last year (which was down) and Calgary had 3.72 on their altered 4-pt system which is about a 3.88 at a normal 4 pt. school or so their conversion says. They both have MCAT averages over 30 as well. Provinces do vary but you can get a license to practice family medicine (even in the provinces that have no rules re: DOs a priori) quite easily by petitioning the province's medical board. The exception here is Ontario which has an oversupply and they aren't granting any new licenses to anyone educated outside Ontario (MD or DO).
02-20-1999, 06:42 PM
Realistically speaking (ie. you have a competitive GPA and MCAT), I would rather take my chances at a med school in Canada than in the US. Let's look at Saskatchewan as an example (their statistics are on the internet). Last year, the College of Medicine recieved 470 applications (246 were from in-province)and interviewed 155 of the applicants (141 from in-province). Of the 155 interviewed, 55 were accepted. The lowest average for the matriculating class was 83.05, not a very difficult average to attain. Thus, provided that you have decent statistics and are a Saskatchewan resident, you have a very good chance for admission. Compare Saskatchewan residents' after-interview chances for admission (1:3) with that of Finch's out-of-state applicants (which you'll be considered if you're only a Canadian citizen) (117:593), and you'll see that chances for admission are twice as high. I have a cousin at U of Sask. who is applying to medicine. This year, the college of medicine recieved only 70 applications for their med program. Thus, if I were a Sask. resident, I would be banking on getting into my own province's med school rather any other med school. This is on the assumption that you have a decent gpa and mcat. BTW, I don't think it's fair to compare Harvard to Nova. Harvard's applicant pool is self-selecting, meaning that a lot of people know that they don't have much of a chance at admission unless they have a 4.0gpa and 38+ MCAT. Thus, a lot of them don't bother applying.
As for practicing privileges, I'll believe it when I see it. I find it hard to believe that DO's can so easily get a license to practice while Canadians who get their MD from an American institution have a hard time getting a job in Canada. There is more to licensure than a simple petition. Your educational background is investigated and if it is not up to snuff, you may not get a license or you may be required to repeat part or all of your residency in Canada. In other words, students from John Hopkins, Yale and Harvard will be accepted but people from schools that are unknown will be investigated and may be rejected. They may bend the rules in underserved areas where they will allow those that do not meet the criteria to practice in order to have a doctor in that town.
BTW, there are long lines for physicians in general, not just DO's. The long lines for DO's are not because of the demand for just DO's, it's because our health system is about to die.
Saskatchewan is the easiest school to get into (if you are from Saskatchewan) than any other resident going to their home province school. They have the lowest average of any Canadian school. You made my point very nicely when you were saying you can't compare Harvard to Nova. That is to say, applicants to U of A and U of C (and Harvard as you brilliantly pointed out) are self-selecting. Canadians with an American MDs do not have trouble getting Canadian medical licenses (with the exception of Ontario). Every other province has had a net loss of physicians to the U.S.. The petition is actually not that difficult for DOs... I asked. I must admit that most provinces prefer if you do an ACGME residency. Are there long lines for physicians where you're from? What province are you in? There is no problem here in Alberta (except for some specialists). The DO in Calgary, who was cited in "The DO" has a much longer waiting-list than his MD counterparts (I agree that this may be due to some practice variable other than his degree but that is what he attributes it to). As far as the medical system only time will tell but have you noticed one thing... every year the Canadian system becomes more "American" and the American system becomes more "Canadian." Don't get angry (I am truly sorry if I said anything to offend), I am just doing my best to provide as much info as possible about a subject I have researched for years. Afterall, my future may depend on it.
02-21-1999, 07:24 AM
The average for matriculants to the U of S was 87%. If we convert that into a 4.0 scale using the OMSAS scale converter (scale 3), we see that the average gpa is 3.90, higher than the gpa for both U of A and U of C. I would hardly call U of A and U of C as self-selective schools. They're one of the lower tiered medical schools in Canada. Examples of self-selective schools are U of T, McGill and Queens. When I say self-selective, I mean self-selective within the competitive applicant pool. In other words, there are many med school applicants who have a very good chance of getting into their state schools and a few private schools but they realize that they don't have much of a chance for Harvard or JHU and so they don't apply. I don't think that U of A and U of C counts as one of these.
If what you say is correct about DO's coming back to Canada, Great. I'll definitely apply to DO schools when I'm applying to American med schools next year, if I'm not in a Canadian med school by then.
You are right about U of C but U of A ranks second to Toronto in many categories (and facilities). I am not saying it ranks second overall... and to rank it would make this just develop into a debate (no desire). I went to the Sask web-page and you gave the avg for out-of-province students... of which they accept a total of five. The page said said to be a competitive Sask resident you should have 80% (or 3.5) -- not too hard. I strongly recommend osteopathic schools, however, please don't go as a replacement for an MD. I like the philosophy and OMM... if you do too, I want you as a DO colleague!
02-21-1999, 10:48 PM
Check the website out again, use this address:
You'll need Adobe Acrobat or Reader to read the site. That page has the actual statistics for the entering class of 98. Their average was 87% (3.9). Their brochure says that you should have an 80% average to get in but the lowest average matriculant had an 83% average.
In my mind, my desire is to become a physician (a job description) not a doctor (an academic title). As such, I fail to see much of a distinction between osteopathic and allopathic medical schools with the exception of OMM. Nowadays, most MD schools teach holistic, self-directed and preventative viewpoints toward health. In an earlier post, I cited UBC as an example, as they offer electives in alternative medicine. Also, my father did his residency at an allopathic med school teaching hospital that had a Chinese-American MD anesthesiologist who had training in acupuncture and routinely used it to treat his post-op patients. OMM, which many say is the trademark of Osteopathic medicine, is quickly being adopted by allopathic medicine under the guise of physical and massage therapy (although, they seem to be using different techniques, their premise is the same). Osteopathic schools are quickly becoming like allopathic schools as well. Schools are starting to encourage academic research and just about every specialty has DO's practicing within. Thus, in my eyes, I see no discernible difference between a MD and a DO. I think that the biggest difference between physicians is an individual difference, meaning that your own personal beliefs and attitudes toward healing are more of an influence on what type of a physician you are than what school you went to and what initials you have behind your name. In short, I don't see a being a DO as a MD replacement and I don't think it really matters what degree I get (provided that no limitations are put on me, but as you say, there don't seem to be any). That said, I am applying only to MD schools in Canada because they are cheaper than just about any American med school (with the exception of some of the Ontario schools, where tuition in Ontario may be comparable to tuition for residents in some state schools). I would much rather end up $60 000 Cdn in debt (which works out to $40 000 US) instead of $100 000 US when I graduate. BTW, 2003, if you did your undergrad at U of A, why didn't you go there or U of C for med school?(U of C may be lower tiered but I still think it's pretty kick-ass: it has a three year program, a chance to do electives in third world countries and a research program built into its curriculum)
02-27-1999, 05:04 PM
Cath, check out
We've generated some interesting discussion here-thanks for giving me some points to further mull over. 2003, I know you're more familiar with the Albertan heathcare system, but do you know anything about Ontario's legislation of DO's? There is a supposed "oversupply" of physicians in our province, so I believe it may be difficult for me to practise here following an American education. By the way, we Ontarians face some pretty stiff competition for entry into our MD schools -- I know many people with A averages are rejected. I hope I don't sound like a whiner, just telling you what my humble opinion is.
Hello again... Ontario is kind of funny. The following is taken from a June 1996 article of "The DO." In 1993, the Ontario Legislature voted to grant full practice rights to US-trained DOs. However, the Ontario Ministry of Health and the province's medical licensing authority, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, have yet to establish the requirements by which US-trained DOs can be licensed. Although a few US-trained DOs have been granted full practice rights in Ontario by special exemption, most DOs in the province are restricted to practicing OMM. They cannot perform surgery or provide obstetrical care, and they cannot prescribe pharmaceuticals. In addition, their services are only partially covered by public and private third-party payers.
Complicating the picture is the fact that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario placed some sort of a moratorium on issuing medical licences in 1994 (I don't know enough details about it). This is b/c of the oversupply you mentioned.
I hope this helps! I also know many people in Alberta who've been rejected with A averages (lots of them). I also know lots of people with around an A- average deciding not to apply.