Allopathic vs Osteopathic medicine

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Wanna B a Doc, Feb 11, 2002.

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  1. Wanna B a Doc

    Wanna B a Doc Junior Member

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    I know that we have seen a million posts out there similar to this but I'm still trying to grasp things, so please be patient. I know that allopathic medical schools tend to be more difficult to be accepted to than osteopathic med. Schools but what I don't understand is why? Are there any specialties that an M.D. can enter compared to a D.O.? Would an M.D. Make more money than a D.O. or does it not really matter? Is it sort of like the difference between a D.D.S. and a D.M.D. when dealing with dentistry? I have done research but most of the resources that try to explain the difference tend to give vague definitions. Any help would be appreciated.
     
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  3. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    I think you find discussions regarding the differences between allopathic and osteopathic doctors a bit vague because the differences are vague. Both doctors have virtually the same rights and priveleges. It is not correct that ostepathic schools are easier to get into (ostepathic schools accept a lower percentage of applicants overall than allopathic schools). It is just that ostepathic schools tend to be less numbers-based than some allopathic schools in regards to admissions.

    Look through the Pre-Allopathic and Pre-Osteopathic forums and you will find many many posts that deal with the differences.
     
  4. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member

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    As far as pay M.D. and D.O. make the same amount. A lot of D.O's go into primary care, but there are plenty in specialties too. The "averages" of stats for D.O. schools are a little lower (maybe not as much for GPA but for MCAT) and it is probably true that D.O schools tend to look at the "whole applicant" more, so it skews their stats. Also I'd venture to say that many people who might have gone D.O choose M.D. if they have the choice because it is more "well known". Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of people who chose D.O. over M.D. cuz they like the philosophy or because of OMM, ect. Well anyway, I hope that helps a little.
     
  5. docteur

    docteur Junior Member

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    Maybe you should try to find a DO to talk to.
    Finding one in the phone book to call and ask for a shadow is not rude, nor difficult. I have done this several times and they have always been willing to let me tag along. Most of them love thier job and get excited when you tell them you are interested in what they do. You could spend one day with a doc and get alot of questions answered.
    Talk to you advisor too, they may know of some good contacts.
    Tap all of your resources, and then go tap someone elses! You need to know what you're getting yourself into.
     
  6. Peregrin

    Peregrin Senior Member

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    Like everyone else, I faced this decision a few years ago, these were the issues that I considered. I've little doubt that subsequent posters will disagree, but, all in the spirit of good discussion...

    Where the differences might be vague in some ways, in many ways the difference between the two is quite distinct, if in only subtle ways.

    In terms of acceptance, which school is more difficult to get into always raises a debate. If you are looking at pure academics, you will be immediately eliminated from a large number of MD schools on your stats alone, where the DO schools might choose to "look beyond" those stats. So in purely academic terms, you could say that DO schools are "easier" to get into. "High quality applicants" are defined differently by different schools, so, if you are "high quality" but your numbers are a little low, DO schools might still have a look at you. In my own experience, I know of people who did not get accepted to any MD schools, and then chose DO as an alternative route. I have never heard of the opposite (though they may exist). Many folks claim that because there is a 5:1 ratio of DO applicants to accepted vs. 3:1 MD, that DO schools must be more difficult to get into. There are some real problems with that line of reasoning, but that's a different issue.

    Now for some generalities:

    In terms of education, DO schools tend to be private (and expensive) where there are many more state MD schools (cheaper).

    DO schools tend to be in rural settings, where MD schools tend to be set in academic medical centers (tending to be more urban). MD schools tend to have a sub-specialty focus afforded by the medical centers associated with it (though many are primary care oriented), DO's tend to all be primary care oriented. Because DO schools tend to have no major medical center associated with it, you may have to travel all over the state/country to get all of your year 3-4 clerkships done, where MD schools have a very well developed infrastructure.

    MD schools tend to be research oriented, where DO schools tend to not (e.g. despite the long history of it's practice, there is still insufficient evidence on the efficacy of many OMM techniques). I think that this is a big issue to be addressed by the AOA, and then we all can practice it in the name of good patient care, or dismiss it as innocuous.

    The DO infrastructure is buckling under its own weight. There simply are not enough DO residencies to go around, so it must depend on MD residencies to train its graduates. This may mean that you will have to take the USMLE in addition to the COMLEX to participate in the MD match.

    DO residencies tend to be a year longer than MD residencies. This stems from the practice of DO graduates doing a general "osteopathic internship" year prior to starting a residency. This, so I hear, is different from program to program, I don't know for sure.

    DO's still lack worldwide recognition as being fully fledged doctors. This is changing, so I hear, so we shall see.

    There is still a bias against DO's by MD's (won't refer to them, etc...) This will probably also change. We shall see. On the other hand, with the rise in popularity of "alternative medicine" many DO's are reaping rewards by being a little different from the mainstream.

    As a DO, you will have to continue to explain what it means and that you are "just as good as MD's."

    All this being said, if I was unable to get into an MD program, I too would have attempted to go the DO route. We are all on the same team after all, and I wanted to be a doctor.

    Above all else, the best program is the one that accepts you. I hope this helps you.
     
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