To become an osteopathic physician an individual
must be a graduate of an osteopathic medical school. Each school is
accredited by the Bureau of Professional Education of the American
Osteopathic Association. This accreditation is recognized by the U.S.
Department of Education and the Council on Postsecondary Education.
Typically, applicants to osteopathic colleges have a four-year
undergraduate degree, and complete specific science courses. Applicants
must take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Osteopathic
medical schools also require a personal interview
History of Osteopathic Medicine
Osteopathic medicine is a unique form of American
medical care that was developed in 1874 by frontier doctor Andrew Taylor
Still. Dr. Still was dissatisfied with the effectiveness of 19th
century medicine. He believed that many of the medications of his day
were useless or even harmful. Dr. Still was one of the first in his time
to study the attributes of good health so that he could better
understand the process of disease.
In response Dr. Still founded a philosophy of
medicine based on ideas that date back to Hippocrates, the Father of
Medicine. The philosophy focuses on the unity of all body parts. He
identified the musculoskeletal system as a key element of health. He
recognized the body’s ability to heal itself and stressed preventive
medicine, eating properly and keeping fit.
Dr. Still pioneered the concept of
"wellness" 100 years ago. In today’s terms, personal health
risks – such as smoking, high blood pressure, excessive cholesterol
levels, stress and other lifestyle factors – are evaluated for each
individual. In coordination with appropriate medical treatment, the
osteopathic physicians act as a teacher to help patients take more
responsibility for their own well-being and change unhealthy patterns.
Sports medicine is also a natural outgrowth of
osteopathic practice, because of its focus on the musculoskeletal
system, osteopathic manipulative treatment, diet, exercise and fitness.
Many professional sports team physicians, Olympic physicians and
personal sports medicine physicians are D.O.s.
Just as Dr. Still pioneered osteopathic medicine
on the Missouri frontier in 1874, today osteopathic physicians serve as
modern day medical pioneers.
They continue the tradition of
to areas of greatest need:
Over half of all osteopathic physicians
practice in primary care areas, such as pediatrics, general practice
obstetrics/gynecology and internal medicine.
Many D.O.s fill a critical need for family
doctors by practicing in small towns and rural areas.
Today osteopathic physicians continue to be on the
cutting edge of modern medicine. D.O.s are able to combine today’s
awesome medical technology with the tools of their ears to listen
carefully to their patients; their eyes to see their patients as whole
persons; and their hands, to diagnose and treat injury and illness.