Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine: Wikis


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"D.O." redirects to this page, which primarily discusses relevant qualifications and titles in the United States. In several other countries[1], "D.O." means "Diploma in Osteopathy", see also Osteopathy. For other uses of D.O. or DO, see DO

Osteopathic medicine & Osteopathy
Osteopathy in Australia & New Zealand
Osteopathy in Canada · Osteopathic medicine in Canada
Osteopathy in Europe · Osteopathic medicine in the UK
Osteopathy in Israel
Osteopathic medicine in the United States

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O. or DO) is a four-year graduate-level academic degree for physicians and surgeons in the United States. Holders of the D.O. degree are known as osteopathic physicians. D.O.s are trained much in the same way as M.D.s, with the addition of osteopathic manipulative medicine techniques.

To obtain a license to practice medicine in the United States, medical students must pass one of two licensing boards: USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Exam) or COMLEX (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam). MDs and DOs are both eligible to sit for the USMLE. Only DOs are eligible to sit for the COMLEX.

Currently, there are 25 medical schools that offer the DO degree - in comparison with 130 medical schools that offer the MD degree. DOs make up a small population, approximately 11%, of practicing physicians and surgeons in the United States.


International variations in the D.O. degree

In the United States, doctors of osteopathic medicine are physicians who are also trained in osteopathic manipulative medicine.

In France, Germany,and Switzerland, osteopathic practitioners are M.D.s who take additional courses in osteopathy after completing their medical training.

In the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, “osteopaths" are trained in osteopathic principles and osteopathic manipulative treatment but are not physicians.


International practice rights

Every country has different requirements and a different way of licensing or registering osteopathic physicians and osteopaths. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes as physicians graduates of osteopathic medical colleges in the United States.[2] Osteopaths who have trained outside the United States are not eligible for medical licensure in the United States, however, U.S.-trained D.O.s are currently able to practice in 45 countries with full medical rights and in several others with restricted rights.

The following is a table of International Practice Rights of U.S trained Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, as listed by the American Osteopathic Association.[3] An update of this listing was released in December 2007.[4]

Country Year of latest policy Medical Practice Rights Requirements for Licensure
Argentina 1994 Unlimited. Full license granted to US-trained D.O.
Australia 2000 Restricted. Varies by state.
Austria 1994 Unlimited. Hospital must have position unable to be filled by Austrian physician.
Bahamas 1997 Unlimited. US license recognized.
Bolivia 1988 Unknown. No response from embassy.
Brazil 2000 Unlimited. Completion of Brazilian board exam & some training in Brazilian hospital is required.
Canada (varies by province) Alberta Unlimited. LMCC, Step 1&2 required
British Columbia Unlimited. LMCC required
Manitoba Unlimited. US license recognized.
New Brunswick Unlimited. LMCC required, except DOs registered in Maine
Newfoundland Pending. Currently under review.
NW Territories Unlimited. US license recognized.
Nova Scotia Unlimited. Only D.O.s from ACGME (US or Canadian) residency.
Ontario Unlimited. Only D.O.s from ACGME residency.
Prince Edward I. Restricted. No provision for US D.O.
Quebec Unlimited. 1 year GME in Quebec & French fluency required.
Saskatchewan Limited. OMM only.
Yukon Territory Unlimited. US license recognized.
Cayman Islands (UK) 1983 Unlimited. US license recognized.
Chile 1993. Unlimited. A written exam, in Spanish, is required.
China 1994 Unlimited. US-DOs are permitted to apply for "Short Term Medical Practice" only.
Costa Rica 1993 Unlimited. Several requirements. (Same as for any foreign MD.)
Denmark 1995 Unknown. No response from embassy.
Dominican Republic 2000 Unlimited. US license recognized.
Ecuador Unlimited. Several. Same as for any foreign MD.
Finland 1996 Unlimited. Several. Same as for any foreign MD.
France 1988 Restricted. OMM only. French government does not recognize osteopathic medicine.
Germany 1993 Unlimited. No special requirements. Decisions made on individual basis.
Greece 2004 Unlimited. Difficult. Greek citizenship required.
Hong Kong 1998 Unlimited. Written examination. Personal interview. Training approval.
India 1999 Undetermined. Indian nationality status required
Indonesia 1992 Unlimited. All foreign physicians affiliated with a University project or a mission have unlimited practice rights. No private practice allowed.
Ireland 1999 Under review. The Irish government has repeatedly declined to recognize US trained D.O.s as physicians. The American Osteopathic Association president has said that obtaining unlimited practice rights for US-trained D.O.s in Ireland is a top priority in 2007.[5]
Lebanon 2004 Unlimited. AOA letter required. Examination required.
New Zealand 2005 Unlimited. Hearing required. Case-by-case basis.
Nigeria 1999 Unlimited. An appearance before the Nigerian Medical Council & an oral quiz.
Singapore 1993 None. Singapore does not recognize US DO degree. Only recognizes US MD degree from 37 US conventional medical schools.[6]
Spain 1994 None. No medical practice rights.
Sweden 1996 Unlimited. US license recognized.
Taiwan 2005 Unlimited. The ROC government recognizes US D.O. degree. Applicants must take Taiwan Examination Yuan to obtain Taiwanese license.
United Kingdom 2005 Unlimited. US-trained DOs eligible for full medical practice rights. Applicants must pass the PLAB examination and work for one year in the National Health Service. Following that year, the applicants will be able to apply for a license to practice privately.
Table data from AOA International License Summary.[3], updated December 2007.[4]

DOs compared to MDs

In the United States, the D.O. and the M.D. are the only two degrees permitting licensure as medical physicians. D.O and M.D. physicians have similar training, both requiring four years of training in the basic and clinical sciences and the successful completion of licensing exams (D.O. physicians must pass the COMLEX, while the M.D. physicians must pass the USMLE). D.O. physicians typically train at community hospitals and in more rural areas, while M.D. physicians typically train at more academic medical centers. Osteopathic medical physicians receive training in Osteopathic Manual Manipulation. Although U.S. osteopathic medical physicians currently may obtain licensure in 47 countries, osteopathic curricula in countries other than the United States differ, and in many countries they are not recognized as physicians; rather D.O.s are known as "osteopaths" and while their scope of practice includes some conventional medical therapies, they rely on osteopathic manipulative medicine and other alternative medical modalities.

See also


  1. ^ See for example Diploma in Osteopathy from "British College of Osteopathic Medicine" and from "Belgian Society of Osteopathy"
  2. ^ Notices. Federal Register. Vol. 70, No. 190. 3 Oct 2005. [1]
  3. ^ a b AOA International License Summary. American Osteopathic Association. Council on International Osteopathic Medical Education and Affairs.[2]
  4. ^ a b AOA International License Summary. American Osteopathic Association. Council on International Osteopathic Medical Education and Affairs. December 2007.[3]
  5. ^ Peter B. Ajluni US-Trained DOs in Ireland. AOA president's blog. 12 Mar 2007. [4]
  6. ^ Registrable Basic Medical Degrees. Singapore Medical Council accessed Oct 2007.

External links


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