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John Thompson

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Hi y'all, I was curious if anyone knows much about how DO school can lead you to being a surgeon (specifically Orthopedic or cardiac). I have a 3.5 GPA undergrad and 514 MCAT (so I guess lets start with the question of can I even get into a DO school?). I know that if you get a DO degree then it is tougher to match in those subspecialty residences but if anyone knew the way to do it, how hard it is, give me advice, give me stories, etc., I would be thankful. Also, is pay of DO surgeons similar to pay of MD surgeons.
 

Mad Jack

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You have the equivalent of a 3.5/35 on the old scale. You could go MD if you wanted, though you would have to apply quite broadly and have solid ECs. The old stories will not apply by the time you are matching for residency, as DO residencies are no longer going to exist (we had our own ortho and surgery residencies in the past, but all are being certified by the ACGME as of 2020), so it is impossible to say what the future holds, as DOs will have to directly compete for MDs for all competitive residency spots in the future. Out of a class of 175, my school usually has less than 10 people that match categorically into any surgical field, to give you an idea of how competitive it is even now. And we've got a huge surgical club- at least 20 people- so there's a lot of them that don't get in.

Pay in any field is equivalent for MDs versus DOs though. It's not like medicare or insurance pays you less for having one degree versus the other lol.
 
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DO2016EM

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If a 514 really is equal to a 35 on the old scale don't even apply DO. Just apply to all ranges of MD schools. Why make life harder than you need to? DO's can be optho surgeons but you will not even be able to be an ortho surgeon at big name places. You'll have that shot as an MD.
 

DoctorSynthesis

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You have the equivalent of a 3.5/35 on the old scale. You could go MD if you wanted, though you would have to apply quite broadly and have solid ECs. The old stories will not apply by the time you are matching for residency, as DO residencies are no longer going to exist (we had our own ortho and surgery residencies in the past, but all are being certified by the ACGME as of 2020), so it is impossible to say what the future holds, as DOs will have to directly compete for MDs for all competitive residency spots in the future. Out of a class of 175, my school usually has less than 10 people that match categorically into any surgical field, to give you an idea of how competitive it is even now. And we've got a huge surgical club- at least 20 people- so there's a lot of them that don't get in.

Pay in any field is equivalent for MDs versus DOs though. It's not like medicare or insurance pays you less for having one degree versus the other lol.

My school gets about 10% of our class into surgery. About 10 people into ortho, urological surgery, and neurological surgery per year. Another 1 or 2 into optho and usually about 10 in gen surg.
 

Mad Jack

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My school gets about 10% of our class into surgery. About 10 people into ortho, urological surgery, and neurological surgery per year. Another 1 or 2 into optho and usually about 10 in gen surg.
How many of those are AOA residencies? How many will no longer exist after the merger? I've looked at the numbers for a few DO schools, and they aren't good. That's why I leave it at "odds aren't good to begin with, and the future remains to be seen."
 

GUH

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Hi y'all, I was curious if anyone knows much about how DO school can lead you to being a surgeon (specifically Orthopedic or cardiac). I have a 3.5 GPA undergrad and 514 MCAT (so I guess lets start with the question of can I even get into a DO school?). I know that if you get a DO degree then it is tougher to match in those subspecialty residences but if anyone knew the way to do it, how hard it is, give me advice, give me stories, etc., I would be thankful. Also, is pay of DO surgeons similar to pay of MD surgeons.
If your goal is to be a DO (which is a good goal to have), then don't worry about applying MD and just apply to DO schools. If your goal is to do orthopedic or cardiac surgery (which is also a good goal to have) the numbers indicate that you should try to get in to a US MD school, even though it's still possible as a DO. We'll see how the merger turns out, but it is still possible that in the short run there will be even less DOs matching into competitive specialties than before.
 

DoctorSynthesis

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How many of those are AOA residencies? How many will no longer exist after the merger? I've looked at the numbers for a few DO schools, and they aren't good. That's why I leave it at "odds aren't good to begin with, and the future remains to be seen."

My school residencies are doing a great job at getting pre accreditation. Haven't heard of any of them closing.
 

Mad Jack

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My school residencies are doing a great job at getting pre accreditation. Haven't heard of any of them closing.
Well, then your school is likely one of the exceptions. Most DO schools don't have surgical programs, and many of those that do have small programs (<4 residents per year). Many of these programs will be forced to close due to the merger, and even if they don't close, there will be a whole new contingent of people to compete against. That's the reality of things. It's not a doomsday scenario, but your chances of being in a surgical specialty (which the OP doesn't even want, after talking with them) are far lower than the average MD, but better than the average US IMG or FMG.
 
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DoctorSynthesis

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Well, then your school is likely one of the exceptions. Most DO schools don't have surgical programs, and many of those that do have small programs (<4 residents per year). Many of these programs will be forced to close due to the merger, and even if they don't close, there will be a whole new contingent of people to compete against. That's the reality of things. It's not a doomsday scenario, but your chances of being in a surgical specialty (which the OP doesn't even want, after talking with them) are far lower than the average MD, but better than the average US IMG or FMG.

This might be a problem. We can't tell.
 

Mad Jack

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This might be a problem. We can't tell.
Yep. Hence my "the future remains to be seen" or similar comments above. But just thinking about it logically, there is little reason to believe a group that had no competition before will fare better once competition arrives- it just doesn't make mathematical sense in any way.
 
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GUH

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My school residencies are doing a great job at getting pre accreditation. Haven't heard of any of them closing.
Preaccreditation only means that a program has applied.
 
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DoctorSynthesis

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Yep. Hence my "the future remains to be seen" or similar comments above. But just thinking about it logically, there is little reason to believe a group that had no competition before will fare better once competition arrives- it just doesn't make mathematical sense in any way.

This isn't a math issue. DOs applicatints are competitive and will continue being successful is my bet. Want to put money on it?

Preaccreditation only means that a program has applied.


I'm confident these programs at my school are staying. They are very good.
 
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Mad Jack

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This isn't a math issue. DOs applicatints are competitive and will continue being successful is my bet. Want to put money on it?




I'm confident these programs at my school are staying. They are very good.
Let me do the math over break, and then I'll make a bet on it ;)
 
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deleted564680

As previously stated, a lot of the AOA programs in ENT, Ophtho, and NSG are not going to survive the merger. Honestly, those programs were small and provided sub-standard training anyway, but it's not like the MD programs are going to suddenly say "Hey, those D.O. people are all right."

Short-term = less D.O. in subspecialties
Long-term = unknown (could go either way IMO)

I've heard from current residents in the fields that likely only 4-6 NSG and 3-4 ENT programs will survive the merger. The other point is that they are "surviving" by merging with existing ACGME programs. This most likely would mean that those programs "survived" but will be likely taking MDs from now on.
 
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bleuler72

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As previously stated, a lot of the AOA programs in ENT, Ophtho, and NSG are not going to survive the merger. Honestly, those programs were small and provided sub-standard training anyway, but it's not like the MD programs are going to suddenly say "Hey, those D.O. people are all right."

Short-term = less D.O. in subspecialties
Long-term = unknown (could go either way IMO)

I've heard from current residents in the fields that likely only 4-6 NSG and 3-4 ENT programs will survive the merger. The other point is that they are "surviving" by merging with existing ACGME programs. This most likely would mean that those programs "survived" but will be likely taking MDs from now on.


Pure speculation - how could you possibly know all of this????
 

MedicaMagus

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What makes a program sub-standard? Low patient volume and lack of diverse pathology? I'm curious as to what criteria is being used to judge these programs. Are there more adverse outcomes attributed to physicians from these programs?
 
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GUH

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What makes a program sub-standard? Low patient volume and lack of diverse pathology?
Yes, that is generally the perception.
I'm curious as to what criteria is being used to judge these programs. Are there more adverse outcomes attributed to physicians from these programs?
No. Which is why we should have fought harder to ensure that the accreditation standards are supported by some kind of objective evidence rather than pretty much eliminating osteopathic GME in those specialties.
 
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deleted564680

Most of the criteria that causes them to shut down has to do with staffing and other residencies.
For example for a program to have a NSG residency, the hospital must also have gen. surg, anesthesia, neurology, etc. and there are certain amounts of faculty you need. This is before even putting into consideration the minimum amounts of all procedures you need to have to graduate per ACGME standards.
 

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3.5/33 are competitive stats for MD programs; more than half of applicants with those stats get in somewhere. They wont turn any heads, but if you apply broadly and have a smart strategy, you have a reasonable chance of success. That would be my focus. If you really are gunning for surgery(and honestly few who haven't even started med school yet should be hellbent/set on surgery) do all you can to boost your application to get into an MD program. As others have said, there is no way any DO should be banking on matching into a surgery field in the coming years, even though some inevitably will.

Even if you get into a US MD school, your 3.5/33 academic qualifications will be at best average or somewhat below average amongst US MD students. Keep in mind to do the types of surgeries you have to separate yourself from the pack and clearly be above average amongst US MD students. Based on your UG record, you aren't that so you will have to change your level of production. Is it doable? It has been for many. But it'll take a real commitment and change. Having said all that, there are clear advantages to having an MD vs DO and when you have competitive MD stats I would encourage you to strongly pursue the MD route.
 
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AlbinoHawk DO

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Pure speculation - how could you possibly know all of this????
It's not speculation. These programs have to apply for ACGME accreditation this year. If you look at the "opportunities" AOA website you'll see there are programs that already announced they will close down as soon as their current residents graduate. Unfortunately, the surgery world for DOs is becoming less and less likely. From the spots that will survive, many of them will begin taking DOs. If surgery is honestly your calling, you need to fight for a spot in an MD school otherwise you have an uphill battle.
 
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cliquesh

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Most of the criteria that causes them to shut down has to do with staffing and other residencies.
For example for a program to have a NSG residency, the hospital must also have gen. surg, anesthesia, neurology, etc. and there are certain amounts of faculty you need. This is before even putting into consideration the minimum amounts of all procedures you need to have to graduate per ACGME standards.

Yeah, I know some of the AOA anesthesia programs cannot meet the acgme case/procedural requirements. I assume they could forge relationships with outside hospitals to supplement any case types they are deficient in.
 

Dustbowl12

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alot of hot air here. my DO scbool has ortho and is making a gen surg program that we will be rotating at.MD schools are not all these magical places where everyone gets surgery lmao. work hard, get scores and expect to outperform MDs for only traditionally MD competitive and prestige programs in order to get in...
 
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cliquesh

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3.5/33 are competitive stats for MD programs; more than half of applicants with those stats get in somewhere. They wont turn any heads, but if you apply broadly and have a smart strategy, you have a reasonable chance of success. That would be my focus. If you really are gunning for surgery(and honestly few who haven't even started med school yet should be hellbent/set on surgery) do all you can to boost your application to get into an MD program. As others have said, there is no way any DO should be banking on matching into a surgery field in the coming years, even though some inevitably will.

Even if you get into a US MD school, your 3.5/33 academic qualifications will be at best average or somewhat below average amongst US MD students. Keep in mind to do the types of surgeries you have to separate yourself from the pack and clearly be above average amongst US MD students. Based on your UG record, you aren't that so you will have to change your level of production. Is it doable? It has been for many. But it'll take a real commitment and change. Having said all that, there are clear advantages to having an MD vs DO and when you have competitive MD stats I would encourage you to strongly pursue the MD route.

I got a 250+ on step 1 and I got a 30 on the mcat....
 

GrapesofRath

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I got a 250+ on step 1 and I got a 30 on the mcat....

Like I was saying there are people who turn it around. However there are also hoards of 34+ MCAT scorers I know who were <230 step 1 scorers. OP should realize there academic credentials for an MD are a little below average while for orthopedic surgeon residency successful applicants they are well above average by and large. That is all
 

cliquesh

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Like I was saying there are people who turn it around. However there are also hoards of 34+ MCAT scorers I know who were <230 step 1 scorers. OP should realize there academic credentials for an MD are a little below average while for orthopedic surgeon residency successful applicants they are well above average by and large. That is all

Yea, I get what you're saying. The mcat and usmle are just too different, in my opinion. My wife got a 36 on the mcat and she scored in the 220s on the usmle. She is a much better doctor than me, by the way.
 

cliquesh

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It's not speculation. These programs have to apply for ACGME accreditation this year. If you look at the "opportunities" AOA website you'll see there are programs that already announced they will close down as soon as their current residents graduate. Unfortunately, the surgery world for DOs is becoming less and less likely. From the spots that will survive, many of them will begin taking DOs. If surgery is honestly your calling, you need to fight for a spot in an MD school otherwise you have an uphill battle.

I was looking at http://opportunities.osteopathic.org and I noticed under each program it has a space for "intend to apply for acgme accreditation and, if so, when?" About half the ortho programs I clicked on said "intends to apply" or "has applied." I thought it was interesting and somewhat promising.
 
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deleted564680

The AOA is not happy with a majority of the subspecialties so far not applying for osteopathic distinction. They are trying to "make" them do it last I heard.

Also, I have always found it funny that MDs like to think they are better/more qualified than DOs but that basis is usually on everything they did BEFORE medical school given the gpa/MCAT thing.

Some people definitely turn it around...I was a 33 MCAT, > 260 USMLE person but had a low gpa due to a small class size, a chemistry major, and a bad first semester. We all have different stories of how we ended up at a DO school with mine being a combo of low gpa/wanting to be near home. The gist is that it is a dang crapshoot and I wish PDs and residencies looked solely at what you did most recently instead of holding bias from pre-med school.
 
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