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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by elijah444, Mar 15, 2001.
Just looking for opinions on which way to go!
If you have to ask, then you haven't done your homework.
I have deffinately done my homework, I am just looking for some more "real life" opinions
I am totally leaning DO, however being from the south they are not as popular or heard of for that matter-
Just wait... the DO revolution is just beginning!
Largest growing health care profession. Continually expanding. I'm glad that the DO's out of the original 5 schools did what they did, because in ONLY 25 years, the DO machine is 19 schools strong.
My guess is that within the next 25-30 years, DO's will be a prominent force in all but 5 US states. Today, Michigan, Penn, Ohio, and W. Va. are DO heavy states.
i believe what drusso meant is that there are many very helpful posts pertaining to what you're looking for. so, start searching now. i remember there's one in the 'international md forum'.
You have a point but in my opinion we should not allow one more school to open. First we do not want to flood the system with doctors. Second their are not enough Osteopathic residencies for the number of Osteopathic graduates. Third the quality of Osteopathic Graduate Education needs to improve.
I agree with KentRay on the need of improving the number and quality of osteopathic residency programs (rough generalization, unfortunately, as many osteo programs are very good - yet a lot leave much to be desired)before increasing the number of osteo school.
On the other hand, I think we would be better off preventing physician glut by not allowing non-US-citizens IMGs to come and practice medicine in the US. I bet there are more foreign trained non-US-citizen physicians coming here for residency training every year than graduates of DO schools.
Let's not put down the people that have to go to overseas schools. There are many fine and qualified applicants that get rejected every year because there aren't enough places in US allopathic or osteopathic schools. But I would definately go along with preferentially giving residencies to US citizens that were graduates of those schools.
Check these stats out. Make your own conclusions.
For Step I
US Allopathic Pass Rate (first time test takers) = 91%
US Osteopathic Pass Rate (first time test takers) = 80%
FMG Pass Rate (including including U.S. citizens at off-shore schools) = 65%
For Step II:
US Allopathic Pass Rate (first time test takers) = 93%
US Osteopathic Pass Rate (first time test takers) = 90%
FMG Pass Rate (including U.S. Citizens at off-shore schools) = 61%
[This message has been edited by drusso (edited 03-19-2001).]
I think the 80% pass rate is fairly good considering osteopathic teaching methods were not geared towards the USMLE, but geared towards the COMLEX.
I have heard this argument before (that DO schools prep for the COMLEX and MD for the USMLE), but I don't really buy it. The basic medical sciences are all the same - how can you slant them for a particular tests? The gross and biochem I have learned at a DO school is the same as that learned by MD students. In addition, when I study for the COMLEX (and most likely for the USMLE) I will probably use First Aid and Step-Up extensively (USMLE books).
It sounds good in theory, but I am not so sure it in practice is true.
I think that it has more to do with motivation and fatigue. The COMLEX is mandatory for DO students while the USMLE is optional. Unless you're a DO student who is gunning for a high-profile residency, it's hard to get up the motivation to take a SECOND set of boards. Believe me, I know! Traditionally, DO students have taken the USMLE right after the COMLEX--I took it two days afterwards. Now that there is more lee-way in when you can sit for the exam, it will be interesting to see if the pass rate for DO's goes up. I already know DO students who take the COMLEX Step I after the end of second-year and wait to take the USMLE step I after the end of third-year. I agree that prepping for them is similar.
There also exists the idea that the USMLE is a slightly harder exam compared to the COMLEX. The allegation is that the USMLE tends, more frequently than the COMLEX, to test "two-step thinking." Now put this idea together with the idea that MCAT performance correlates with USMLE step-one performance. Osteopathic students, as a whole, have lower MCAT scores compared to US allopathic students, so perhaps it makes sense that osteopathic students should, as a whole, perform lower on the USMLE. Of course, if the USMLE is not really a "slightly harder exam", then this entire argument falls apart since osteopathic students perform quite well on the COMLEX.
What I have been told by both professors and students (osteopathic that is)about the USMLE is that it tests more straight basic knowledge stuff (technical word)or "buzz words" more or less, where as the COMLEX questions are more clinical in nature. Of course, this is just what I have been told or heard!
By the way "elijah", stop thinking about the Carribean...you're gonna get in! Stop wiggin' on me...
I think that drusso's idea probably has a fair amount of validity to it. Funny, I was talking with a fourth year student the other day, and she stated unequivocally that the COMLEX was harder than the USMLE. I just don't buy the idea that students are "prepped" for one over the other. Maybe the tests are different, but my feeling is that they are both equally hard.
Is anyone else aware that the % of people passing Step 1 at St. Georges is 94%? What does this tell us about this Caribbean medical school compared to the average osteopathic medical school?
US Osteopathic Pass Rate (first time test takers) = 80%
Normally, I don't go about posting on this board. ( I am an avid reader, however!)
But, I would like to take the oppurtunity to defend my profession, by actually inviting everyone to actually look at the linked site for themselves before jumping to conclusions.
Actually for USMLE step 1, the percentages passing for FIRST time test takers were 95% allopathic and 87% osteopathic. For repeaters it was 51% MD and 28% DO, for an overall of 91% to 82%.
Basically to sum up it, the big issue seems to be the individuals retaking the test for osteopathic students: a mere 29 out of 349 that took the test. This doesn't sound like a very big deal at all, especially when comparing the percentages of first time test takers.
And to add further confusion, although DO students did statistically worse on Steps 1& 2, they did a percentage point better on step 3. Yet only 64 DO's took those tests.
So what does all this jibberish mean. NOTHING!!! Bottom line every medical school on the US shores ( DO, MD, or otherwise) have very little in common with each other to justifiably categorize them anyway.
Now to answer Elijah's question, IMHO it takes a special sort of person to thrive in most of the offshore schools. This type of person would in fact blast through our onshore schools like a champ. ( however they would probably never get credit for it) In all honesty, when I " get pretty" in the mirror each morning, I fail to see this individual. Thus, my decision to stay here where the medschools have more crutches to lean on.
"Am I this person?" Now this is the question you need to ask yourself. Chances are if your like most of the people on this board the answer is no. ( If not, then my apologies!)
Yet I digress, I am also from the south, and I like you noticed a defiency of DO's there. It honestly took me weeks to find one in my hometown. In fact, he was listed as an MD in the phone book. ( Not his fault, he had the two magical letters displayed prominently behind his name on his groups signs and billboards.) Despite his uniqueness, he never seemed to have trouble getting patients, nor did his patients, who almost always never heard of osteopathy before seeing him, seemed to care. Trust me it's not as big of a deal as you think. Actually, I get more ooh's and aah's over my choice of medschools from my hometown people because I'm going to learn more " stuff" as they put it.
But don't get me wrong, osteopathy has its issues, and there will be some who will quickly prejudge you.( Same for the offshore schools) The bigotry your bound to get no matter what you do. And the issues are more annoying than anything else, and will probably get better before they get worse.
Get luck making your decision elijah, hopefully you'll be a great physician one day
In good faith,
The USMLE data was from 1998, which was the latest date that I saw published on the site.
[This message has been edited by bluphilosopher (edited March 22, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by bluphilosopher (edited March 22, 2001).]
I must say blue, that what you elaborated on is very interesting
It dosn't matter what st. georges pass rate is. SGU is a offshore school, and will be clumped in the minds of people in the medical field as a FMG school which has a pass rate of 65%. Few people look up the data of each offshore school, they just remember the averages. Just like every DO school is clumped together to get an average of 80%, every Caribbean school is clumped together to have a 65% pass rate. KCOM USMLE averages are probably in the mid to upper 90's, but they will still be thought of as having an 80 average because they are DO, just like any SGU grad will be thought of as having a 65% pass rate, even though they dont. Sorry, that passing rate will always stick with SGU grads, unless all diploma mills raise their standards and passing rates.
I am clueless as to the structure of COMLEX, but the USMLE step I has been modified to include about 2/3 of its questions as clinical vignettes/scenarios. The buzzwords are still important, but it's slowly conforming to the kinds of problems one will need to solve in real live as opposed to simple regurgitation of facts.
The COMLEX has FAR more buzzwords than the USMLE! Much, much more!
Just thought I would add that.
And I have worked with both MD mainland, MD offshore, and as a 3rd yr DO student, all of us were good. Personally, I would NEVER attend a third world country to attain an MD degree especially with the trend to decrease funding to any residency with foreign grads in spots.
But I will let you guys fight this out.
Do you mind if (in a friendly manner) I ask your background and current standing in the medical community? I am curious to know because I would like to know if what you said can really be true. Wouldn't you agree that residency programs would look at the actual school that one has attended? If not, do you really think that programs look equally at two people who had similar scores and graduated from two different medical schools such as Harvard and say Temple? I am curious to know b/c I am considering SGU right now and have a hard time believing that this school would be looked at in such a negative manner when there is evidence that the school is doing a great job at preparing students for their futures in medicine. Also please tell how you have knowledge on this subject.
Thanks, and how's the weather out there?
Wait a minute now. We're getting contradicting messeges here. For the record, which exam (USMLE or COMLEX) uses more buzzwords? And, if one exam uses more buzzwords than another, does that mean the buzzword exam is easier? I know that the exams are, for the most part, comparable in terms of difficulty. But I'm just trying to find out if there exists a general consensus of one exam being slightly harder than the other. Maybe there's too many varied opinions to make a general consensus?
In my opinion, from taking both tests, COMLEX has more buzzwords...COMLEX also has more questions than the USMLE.
Neither is easy, COMLEX has ODT (of course) and if you are good at that stuff...then you will do well on the exam.
I am originally from SF,CA, went to UC Berkeley and majored in BIOCHEM. I spent two and a half years after graduation working at UCSF in research. I spent most of my time at UCSF with just clinical research at Moffit Hospital. after that I went to one of the three med schools in boston (not harvard). theres only two left, but i wont say which one to save my anonimity. My anonimity allows me to state my true opinions without having anybody judge me. Now, i'm a second year student.
Now, what i was referring to only pertained to the opinions of your colleagues and friends. Most admission directors would look at the individual just like they would look at the individual at a US MD or DO school. I meant that the general public and colleagues would clump all FMG together, just like they clump all DO's together. That statistic sticks with you, whether DO or FMG. Unfortunately for FMG's, the DO passing average is better. Also, consider the fact that virtually all DO's find residencies. Now, i strongly discourage you from going offshore and try for a US med school.
Yes, I also saw the statistic on SGU having a 94% USMLE pass rate. For more info, check out the Boston Globe od 12/22/00 in the National/Foreign section. This is a detailed article about the improved and improving image of SGU. You can get this on the net through the Boston Globe site. But why the constant debate over which schools are best (allopathic, osteopathic or foreign)? At the end of the day, it is the individual doctor that counts, not the school that he/she went to. Keep in mind that there is still quite a bit of bias against DO's, and when we put down others who attend schools like SGU, we are only repeating the same thing on someone else.
I think Bluephil summed it up very well!
In my opinion, the desicion doesn't come down to which one is better, (whether US MD or IMG or DO, you'll probably end up practicing the same thing: Medicine!).
The bottom line is:
If you you want to graduate from US med school and have an easier shot at residency, then go DO.
If you're worried about the whole "two-letters-after-your-name" deal and you have DO
stereotypes, then go offshore!
Remember, the chap from harvard and the chap from St.Georges, will both have "MD" on their labcoats, but if you go offshore you'll probably kiss that orthopedics residency goodbye to a DO.
I have the solution to your dilema. In the very near future they will be opening a DO school in the Carribean. Then you can have the best of both worlds.
OMT meets The Beach. It just can't get any better. Imagine the possiblities.
Excuse me Miss, but while I was rubbing coconut oil on your back I noticed some tissure texture abnormalities along with a slight sacral torsion. If you'd like, you can meet me later for some high velocity treatment.
(or for the ladies)
Excuse me sir, but is that an Upslipped Innonimate or are you just happy to see me?
The possiblities are endless.
With regards to the USMLE passing rates.
The FMG sections includes doctors from all countries,that is, many non-english speaking countries.
The passing rate for carribbean graduates is quite high (not sure of %).
The reason for this being is that a carribbean med school's first goal is passing the boards. To attract students, carribbean schools pride themselves on board scores.
To highlight Bluephil's comments, let's not forget Winston Dunn (Ross '02) with an astronomical 266 (how the hell did he do that) on the USMLE I
I also heard that an FMG (not Carribean) scored a 285 recently.
I say go D.O.! But of course, I am bias! I can almost guarantee that after your 4 years in osteopathic medical school, you will be just as proud of signing D.O. after your name as is a newly-graduated M.D. It doesn't make much difference. It is an honor for me to use my degree; I worked damn hard for it. But, truly look at the difference in philosophy and OMT and see if it is something you'd be interested in learning. And, be realistic about the limitations an off-shore MD will have, regardless of your board scores. I know excellent students from Ross and St. George that could not even consider some of the programs my D.O. colleagues matched, with ease, I must say. However, if you really feel you will be disgruntled your whole life because you're not an "MD" then by all means, get that MD- Don't be a disgruntled DO, there is nothing worse, uglier or sadder.
Go where you can get accepted. If you don't get into a US school and don't want to wait to reapply the next year, then look into the off shore schools. It doesn't seem complicated to me.
I can just hear the tunes off of Moby's album Play (also on the soundtrack of The Beach) ringing in my ears while sipping a Bacardi mixer with an umbrella and hopefully getting to demonstrate some HVLA on a girl I just picked up while playing beach soccer later that afternoon. Now, wouldn't that be the life during medical school! Ha!
In regards to the USMLE/COMLEX:
I thought COMLEX had more buzzwords and was definitely more poorly written. The USMLE in my humble opinion was a better assessment of real practical medical knowledge and analysis. The COMLEX was easier to get a better score on relative to the USMLE if you crammed a good OMM review book. My 2 digit COMLEX score was 4 points higher than my USMLE.
Huh? The COMLEX doesn't give a two digit score...at least mine didn't. Are you talking about your percentile?
I would say that DOs have an advantage over FMGs in any residency program. What many people don't consider is the fact that there are far fewer DOs applying to any allopathic residency programs than FMGs. This is a guess based on many program directors I have met and past posts that I have read, but I am willing to guess than there is a ratio of betwen 50:1 and 100:1 of FMGs who apply versus DOs to any given residency program. There is also a significantly number of US MDs who apply than a US DO. The reason? Well, there are only 19 DO schools versus 125 US MD schools. A program usually gets the most applications from FMGs. Think about how many countries there are and the pool of FMGs that apply. There are many FMGs who didn't make it to a US residency and try again year after year. There are also practicing physicians from Foreign countries who try to get to the US by doing a residency. There are also recent grads from Forgeign Medical Schools that you are in the pool of FMGs. So, if a certain residency program only has one DO and two FMGs, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is easier for an FMG to get into that program. There could have been only 5 DO applicants, one got in, and the others ranked other programs higher. Whereas the two FMGS who got in could have been from a pool of 1000. This isn't an absurd number and is based on what one Anesthesia program told my classmate.
Many people don't realize that many of the DOs who want to specialize in surgery, wind up doing the DO match. The DO match occurs before the Allopathic match. It's kind of hard to pass up a spot in Orthopedic Surgery to take your chances in the Allopathic match. Once you match in the DO match, you are AUTOMATICALLY withdrawn from the MD match. Thus, for some it is not worth the gamble to not enter the DO match, because if you don't match in the MD match, you can't go back and get a DO spot. Does that make sense? Also, some DOs actually prefer to do a DO Ortho residency because the additional training in Musculoskeletal medicine is helpful for that field. I don't reall think OMM matters too much for other specialties. I could be wrong though.
When my classmates and I were interviewing, I didn't see many FMGs at all. Most of the people who I saw were DOs. I was told by several program directors that being a US grad made me a very strong candidate and that it was too bad more DOs didn't apply for their residency. If a program was particularly strong, they would take pride in the fact that they didn't have to take any FMGs that year. The main point is that there are very few DOs who match in the allopathic match because there are very few applicants to begin with. The reason is that there are only 19 schools, some opt to do the DO match, and there are virtually no DOs who didn't match and are applying for the second, third, or fourth time.
It would be interesting to see a statistic that addressed what percentage of DOs, US MDs, and FMGs matched into a program. That would be a more accurate assessment. There is no doubt in my mind that a US MD, all things being equal, has an advantage. I would say that this was more the case in the past and that advantage is definitely shrinking. Most of what it is based on is a program being unfamiliar with a DO. If you do a subinternship there, etc.. and they get to know you, the advantages quickly disappear. I hope that there is a program director or anyone who participates in the ranking who would comment on this idea that there are far fewer DO applicants than US MDs or FMGs.
This is a generalization but I would say that the standards for a US medical school (MD or DO) are much higher than most of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that wherever you go in the US, be it MD or DO, that you will receive better training that most other countries (this doesn't include Canada and some European countries).
Anyway, I didn't have a problem at all being a DO. I don't doubt that some do, but it certainly isn't the problem that many people think. Everywhere I interviewed, except prelims in medicine, I never came across a FMG. I have nothing against them, but this is what I came across. Also, if you want to do a residency in CA, it is extremely difficult for an FMG.
My feeling is that it will only get easier for DOs and it will only get worse for FMGs. This has been the trend for some time now. Due to funding and other reasons, it is VERY difficult for a FMG to get a residency spot. When I did my Urology rotation, there was a FMG (US Citizen), who couldn't get a residency spot (IM in CA) and wound up working as a medical assistant to the Urology group there.
Basically, if you are looking to do A residency, almost no DOs don't match. If you are really desperate you can try to go through the DO match, not match and then try the MD match, not match and then scramble for both MD and DO spots. I've never met or heard of a DO who didn't match. If you wanted to say be a surgeon, I would argue that it would be easier as a DO. If you wanted to get into a presitgious Ortho Residency, then you will have big problems. You have to remember though, it's not easy for a US MD to get a prestigious Ortho residency either. Remember, when you apply for a DO residency, the pool is actually really small. You are competing against US DOs only, at least half of which exclusively go through the MD match.
I know this was long-winded but I hope this helps. I think you would be making a big mistake going to a Foreign Medical school. The only reason would be due that you personally prefer the sound of MD after your name rather than DO. Believe me, you will have no shortage of patients. Even if you do go to a Foreign Medical School, if you do secure a US Residency spot, you won't have a problem finding patients. Good luck.