osteopathic versus allopathic

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Medigirl, Feb 14, 2001.

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  1. Medigirl

    Medigirl Member
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    Really dumb question... For all of you allopath students that know something about osteopathic medicine, what is the big difference between allopathic and osteopathic medicine with respect to curriculum and residencies?
     
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  3. RDJ

    RDJ

    Medigirl:
    Congratulations on getting into UTHSC-SA!! I live about 15 minutes from it. In fact, I can see the HSC from my second floor window. It is a very good school and has a great student body. Not to mention--except for the 100-degree summers--S.A. is a pretty nice place to hang out.
    I am not an allopathic student, but I interviewed at both UT-San Antonio and UT-Houston back in August and September. When I applied, I was 95% sure I wanted to go to a D.O. school, but to be sure and to have something to compare my D.O. interviews to, I applied to four M.D. schools here in Texas (by the way, I am not from TX...I was introduced to San Antonio by the military.) When I was deciding what schools to apply to, I looked specifically at those big on Family Practice and Community Medicine. In addition, I wanted a school that offered a dual DO/MPH or MD/MPH. By the way, I am 29 and have a lot of health care related experience. I have worked in clinics, hospitals, trauma centers and I have worked with numerous D.O.?s and M.D.?s. It has help give me a big heads up on my career goals. I would not expect your average medical school applicant to so committed to a specialty.
    You may get some argument on this point but here is my opinion on the answer to your question. Although D.O.'s are not limited on residencies, the mission statement of every D.O. school says that they have a primary care emphasis built into their curriculum. This is obvious if you look at how they are designed. As far as the basic sciences go, it is the same anywhere. Not much you can do to change it. The only difference is the addition of OMM on top of the basic science curriculum.
    Some will say that D.O. school's are more holistic in the way they teach their students to approach patients. I personally think that this was a decade old argument; the vast majority of MD schools have changed their teaching style so much, that this is no longer true. One could also argue that D.O. students have clinical exposure much earlier (in MS-1 or II); however, many M.D. schools offer the same. In fact, as you know, UTHSC-SA actually starts six weeks early in order to learn history taking & physical exams and to start their introductory clinicals. Also, if I may share a story, when I was at UT-Houston, the dean gave a speech about how many medical students, residents and staff do not rely enough on their eyes, ears and hands, and instead depend on technology to make the diagnosis for them. As he went on, I could have made a serious argument that he was reading from an osteopathic text. This is further proof that the lines are blurring in respect to osteopathic and allopathic philosophies. I do not think one is giving ground to the other. I just think the two are meeting somewhere in the middle.
    Another point that I think is a difference is the location of clinicals. Most MD schools have the majority of their clinicals based in tertiary level, university hospitals and clinics. On the other hand, many of the DO schools have their clinicals based out of community hospitals and only certain rotations in tertiary level facilities (or trauma centers). Some think this is bad, others however would argue that the best place to learn primary care level medicine is in community hospitals and ambulatory care settings. Since I want a career in family practice, you can see why I was interested in going to a D.O. school.
    Now, I want to make sure that I am not sending the wrong message. Going to a D.O. school does not make one less competitive for specialty residencies. I know many D.O. specialists. A D.O. student can fill their selectives and electives with extra specialty rotations anywhere in the U.S. I have heard the argument that if one wants to do a specialty residency that he/she will be just as prepared as any MD student...especially if he chooses his electives properly. Moreover, if her grades, board scores and evaluations are strong, being a D.O. is not going to be a disqualifier in the least. Some ?big name? residency directors may look down on some of the lesser known DO schools, but not anymore than they would look down on a lesser prestigious MD school.

    Two other quick points: hardcore research is not as big of a focus at D.O. schools as it is at many M.D institutions. This however, has begun to change. About 1/3 of the schools now have D.O./Ph.D. programs. The number, as well as the size of the existing programs, is growing. Also, if one has an interest in academia, a D.O. may find it a tad more challenging to land a teaching position at a allopathic program.

    Just my two cents

    Good luck in San Antonio

    Dale Jackson
    Michigan State University-COM 2005

    To all those who take the time to read my posts...I promise, I am trying to make them shorter! I love this stuff so much that I just get carried away when I start talking about it... [​IMG]
     
  4. Medigirl

    Medigirl Member
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    Thanks for the response. I am really excited about starting school in July in SA. (I am actually originally from there, so acclimating should not be too hard.) A good friend of mine is starting DO school in the fall, so I was curious about the DO program. My knowledge is pretty limited since I did not apply to any DO schools. Your info was really helpful. Thanks again!
     
  5. Golden Hour

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