You are more than just the sum of your body parts. That's why Doctors of Osteopathic medicine (D.O.s) practice a "whole person" approach to health care. Instead of just treating specific symptoms, Osteopathic Physicians concentrate on treating you as a whole.
Osteopathic Physicians understand how all the body's systems are interconnected and how each affects others. They focus special attention on the musculoskeletal system, which reflects and influences the condition of all other body systems.
This system of bones and muscles makes up about two thirds of the body's mass, and a routine part of the examination D.O.s give patients is a careful evaluation of these important structures. D.O.s know the body's structure plays a critical role in its ability to function. They can use their eyes and hands to identify structural problems and to support the body's natural tendency toward health and self-healing.
Osteopathic Physicians also use their ears to listen to you and your health concerns. D.O.s help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don't just fight illness but also prevent disease. Millions of Americans prefer this concerned and compassionate care and have made D.O.s their Physicians for life.
To be an Osteopathic Physician, an individual must graduate from one of the nation's Osteopathic medical schools. Each school is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. This accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Typically, applicants to Osteopathic medical colleges have four-year undergraduate degrees and have completed specific science courses. Applicants must take the Medical College Admissions Test (M.C.A.T.). In addition, Osteopathic medical schools typically require applicants to participate in a personal interview.
The curriculum at Osteopathic medical schools consists of four years of academic study. Reflecting Osteopathic philosophy, the curriculum emphasizes preventive medicine and comprehensive patient care. Throughout the curriculum, Osteopathic medical students learn to use Osteopathic principles and Osteopathic manipulative treatment to diagnose and treat patients.
After completing Osteopathic medical college, D.O.s obtain graduate medical education through medical internships, medical residencies, and medical fellowships.
Graduate medical education consists of three to eight years of training, allowing D.O.s to specialize in any area of medicine, ranging from such primary care disciplines as Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics to such specialized disciplines as Surgery, Radiology, Haematology/Oncology, Psychiatry, and Sports medicine. Approximately 60 percent of practicing D.O.s are in primary care.
All Physicians (both D.O.s and M.D.s) must pass a national licensing exam and be licensed by the state in which they will provide medical care. Each state has a licensing board which sets requirements for D.O.s to practice in that state.
D.O.s are complete Physicians. That means they are fully trained and licensed to prescribe medication and to perform surgery. D.O.s and M.D.s are the only two types of complete Physicians in the United States.
D.O.s practice in all specialties of medicine, from Emergency Medicine and Cardiovascular Surgery to Psychiatry and Geriatrics. However, the majority are family-oriented, primary-care Physicians. In addition, many D.O.s practice in small towns where they often care for entire families and whole communities.
Many D.O.s incorporate Osteopathic manipulative treatment (O.M.T.) into the care they provide. With O.M.T., Osteopathic Physicians use their hands to diagnose illness and injury and to encourage your body to heal itself. By combining all other appropriate medical options with O.M.T., D.O.s offer patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.
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