Osteopathic Medicine

Overview

Osteopathic medicine focuses on a whole-person approach to treatment and care. Osteopathic physicians (also called doctors of osteopathic medicine, or DOs) are doctors who practice the full scope of modern medicine like medical doctors (MDs). They have special training in the connection between the body's nerves, muscles, and bone.

DOs can prescribe medicine, order medical tests, and perform surgery. They serve as primary care providers, provide care in hospital settings, and may become certified in a specialty, such as anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, or general surgery.

Osteopathic physicians complete osteopathic medical school, followed by an internship and residency program. Accreditation of colleges of osteopathic medicine is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Postsecondary Education.

Like doctors who have an MD degree, DOs must pass a state medical board examination to obtain a license and enter practice. Each state board sets its own requirements and then issues the license for the osteopathic physician to practice in that state. All states require licensure for osteopathic physicians.

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