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residency and research opportunities for DO

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by mazya, Apr 27, 1999.

  1. mazya

    mazya Member

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    Sorry if this topics has been already talked about. I am new to this board.
    I am currently in the proccess of applying to medical schools. I find the philosophy pertaining to DO fascinating. My question is in regards to residency oppurtunities for the DO program. From what I have heard, even though both MD's and DO's go through similar educational processes, chances of getting surgical residency for DO are slim. I was wondering if that rumer was true.
    In addition, how does research opportunities for DO's compare to MD's?
    Thanks for any information in this matter.
     
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  3. jdaasbo

    jdaasbo Senior Member

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    I think that these are pretty common questions. I had the same ones when I applied.

    As for your first question, "are chances of getting a surgical residency slim?" it all depends. MDs are eligible only for LCGME accredited residencies. These are what one typically thinks of as being "MD" residencies. It is a misnomer to call them MD residencies because large numbers of physicians who are not MDs (ie. DOs, FRCs, MBBS, etc etc) go into these every year. DOs on the other hand are elligible for LCGME residencies and AOA accredited residencies (AOA=American Osteopathic Association). ONLY DOs are elligible for AOA residencies and there are AOA residencies available in every specialty from neurosurgery to ophthalmology to family medicine (ofcourse) to pathology. While getting a surgical residency in either type of program is tough, getting one in an AOA program is probably going to be easier. Why? There still exists some discrimination against DOs (perhaps more so in surgical fields than in others). Also applicant pools for DO surgical programs are much smaller, simply because only DOs apply. With this in mind, I am aware of many DOs who have been succesful in obtaining the MOST competitive surgical LCGME residencies. Quite simply, if you decide to go DO and if you want an LCGME residency IT WILL be harder. You will probably have to prove yourself a bit more, some LCGME surgical programs will probably not want you. But it is entirely possible. Getting any surgical program will require you to be at least in the top 10% of your class and score at least 90th percentile on step one of the boards. In this respect, it does not matter if you are MD or DO. If you clean house on the boards and get such amazing grades and are the "perfect applicant," I cannot imagine that many surgical programs would overlook you simply because of your initials. After all, these programs want the best people that they can get their hands on period.

    I am not sure what you mean by research opportunities. Most, if not all, DO schools are engaged in some research. As an medical student it would probably be easier to do research at a DO school simply because most people at DO schools have their hearts set on becoming clinicians and could care less about research. This seems to be the case at CCOM, but then again I have never been to an MD med school so I cannot compare how tough it is to get a elective/summer research fellowship.
    Another consideration is that DO schools as a general rule of thumb recieve less government funding for research. This is because they have fewer researchers, smaller physical plants, less labs, etc when compared to typically larger allopathic institutions. In summary, research opportunites are probably fewer at DO schools (ie. less choices as to what you would want to study)but there is probably less competition for those slots.

    As far as DOs being involved in research at the postgraduate level or DO medical scientists, I think the opportunity is there if you want it. I am far more ignorant about this subject, but you will see (on occasion) articles authored by DOs published in the big journals. One of our professors at CCOM sits on an advisory committee at the NIH. I know of DOs who work at the CDC. These are all things that I have noticed-I can't offer any more than that on this issue.

    I think that if you only care about doing heady research or being a surgeon at a big name program, it would be better if you went to a prestigous allopathic school (ie. Rush or Columbia P&S). You will still be able to get to these lofty places with DO after your name, but you will have a harder time. If you want to be an excellent surgeon without being a professor of surgery at Harvard, then going DO will get you there. A big selling point for DO programs for me was the type of "typical student." I know I am going to get flak for this, but after interviewing at lots of programs both DO and MD, I swear to God there was clear difference in the type of student. I found that many (and definately not all) of the people I sat with during the MD interviews were excessively competitive, less mature and much more "airbrushed." On the whole (and again, exceptions exist) DO applicants were a bit more down to earth and more mature.

    My advice would be apply to both, visit and interview both and make a decision on where you would be happiest (and where you get in, ofcourse!). In the end I think it matters tremendously how happy and at ease you are with the program, professors and (most important) the other students. Worry about the degree last. If you are destined to be brilliant at what you do, initials will not stop you.
     
  4. VM

    VM Senior Member

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    jdaasbo,
    I won't give you flak about your statement about students in general at MD vs DO schools. I have noticed differences overall too. Even though accepted to an MD program, I feel more comfortable at the DO program. I feel like it will be a better fit for me. But, the MD program is a good school too. I am a little torn now. By the way, it's ACGME, not LCGME. It stands for Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. You may be mixing in LCME which is Liason Committee on Medical Education which accredits allopathic MD medical schools. You're right, it is not an "M.D." residency.
     
  5. prefontaine

    prefontaine Senior Member

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    The difficulty of getting an ACGME residency is blown out of proportion. Look at the annual JAMA education issue, there are hundreds of DOs and IMGs in surgical residencies. Several DOs that I know were in the bottom 1/3 of their class, did not pass the DO boards and were able to match into surgery. Look at the # of unmatched slots for surgery this year (www.aamc.org/nrmp), it is not that difficult, relatively speaking, particularly for the non-university slots.
     
  6. mazya

    mazya Member

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    Thank you very much for your replies. I will condsider them greatly when deciding. Just curious, which DO school do you consider the best in the nation? Do you konw where I can find some stats about these schools? Thanks.
     
  7. prefontaine

    prefontaine Senior Member

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    www.usnews.com has stats. Click on graduate schools.

    The best school depends upon your personal criteria. Over the years, the students from UNECOM have been consistently positive about their school. It is one that I would seriously consider, if I had to do it over again. PCOM also is worth a look. TCOM and KCOM can be pretty tough on students...unless there has been a recent change. On rotations, the students (and grads) that consistently had the most complaints about their school were from Nova.
    LECOM also gets a # of gripes.
     
  8. jdaasbo

    jdaasbo Senior Member

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    yeah I noticed that too, sorry about the LCGME/ACGME mixup. Alphabet soup. My brain was fried and thanks for the pickup.
     
  9. jdaasbo

    jdaasbo Senior Member

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    One more thing,

    VM don't feel conflicted about your choice of going DO. It would have been fine either way, I am sure, but you made your choice for a reason so don't second guess it. Be happy in a few years you will be a physician-many would cut their arms off to do what you are doing.
     
  10. MB

    MB Junior Member

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    I have a copies of the '96 and '97 JAMA residency stats infront of me, and I don't see many DO's that are in ACGME surgical programs (less than 100 total). Everyone I have ever spoken to about this issue has said the same thing...ACGME surgical programs will not give you a look if you have DO after your name. I'm not saying it's true, it's just what I have heard time and time again. Can anyone prove me wrong?(please!!!)
     
  11. prefontaine

    prefontaine Senior Member

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    Five students from my class matched for ACGME surgery, one was in the top 1/3 of the class. Usually a program will take a DO over an IMG. Look at the # of IMGs in surgery. Most of the students are going to the states of MI or PA, one in NC(ECU, I think). Anyway, every student that I am aware of that has attempted to land an ACGME surgery slot has. IMHO, many DO students do not even make the attempt, due to the rhetoric or fear of failure.
     

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