Jul 10, 2015
I am looking for a doctor to shadow. I asked my primary care physician and he said that students cannot simply ask to shadow a physician. He claims that paperwork must be filled out regarding HIPAA and that students have to apply to shadow physicians through college programs. However, I see that many people on this forum were able to call doctors offices. Should I just start calling doctor's offices? Is there any paperwork I need to fill out in order to shadow?


The moon is just the back of the sun.
2+ Year Member
May 18, 2016
Medical Student
Yes, start calling. Different places may have different policies though. I recommend starting at doctorsthatdo.org its where I found the DO that I'm currently shadowing. You can search by your location and by specialty I believe, to find a DO near you. Just call all the doctors you can, if you don't hear back in a week call again. It may take persistence. Some people have better luck than others. It only took me four tries but others have had to go through many more. I didn't have to fill out any paperwork to shadow him during his clinic hours but I had to fill out a single form in order to shadow him in surgery (he's an orthopedic surgeon). You definitely don't need a college program and whether or not you need paperwork will depend on the practice and specialty but it should be simple stuff. Mine just required I abided by HIPAA and hospital policies and waived their liability.


5+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2012
There used to be something called the iLearn Mentor Program. It was offered by the AOA where you could literally email a bunch of DO's in your area asking to shadow them. Unfortunately, they contacted me yesterday saying the site is currently "inactive to reevaluate its value to the mentors" a.k.a. the mentors were tired of being spammed by pre meds haha.

Other options:
-Google "osteopathic physicians in ______"
-call private practice offices. You'll speak to secretaries mostly but they'll ask you to leave your info. Be persistent
-look on your local hospitals' websites. Usually they have a doctor search function. You may be lucky to find emails.

Also, I've shadowed four osteopathic physicians in the past. NONE of them needed for me to do paperwork, etc. Literally just showed up in business casual and followed them around. All of the osteopathic physicians I've encountered have been very accommodating and laid back. If you're from the Maryland area, I would be more than willing to share their contact info.
Good luck!

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