Another Med-School, Med Times Copyright, All Rights Reserved, 2004-2005
Is your GPA above a 3.7? Is your MCAT score a descent two-digit number? Do you live in the library? Well, if you answered "yes" to any of these questions then you are going to a medical school in California. If you answered "no" then sadly, you have no future in the medical field. You might as well warn your parents and pack your bags for the Caribbean. Or is there an option for pre-med majors who have a life outside school? You can go to DO School. The mean GPA for the freshman class ranges from 2.5 to 3.6, depending on the school. The required MCAT scores are single digit numbers. Also, a Doctor of Osteopathy is just as educated and respected a physician as a Medical Doctor. Two renowned DOS are the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and the 1996 Summer Olympic Games director of emergency medical services. So why arent DO schools promoted and whats the difference between them and med schools?
You havent heard of DO school because osteopathic medicine was founded in 1874, while allopathic medicine dates back to the ancient Greeks. Andrew Taylor Still, MD created it. He established osteopathic medicine because he was repulsed by the medical treatment practiced by allopathic doctors and was further disgruntled when three of his children could not be saved by allopathic medication. The allopathic community, however, originally opposed his new system of medicine, primarily because it was new competition to an unchallenged field of medicine. Also, osteopathic physicians had originally rejected the use of medication to treat a patient. Today, there is no opposition against the osteopathic field because it has established itself as a distinguished medical community.
A major difference between DO and MD schools is that they are two different systems of medicine. A medical school promotes allopathic medicine, which is treatment through medication of the disease. A DO school encourages osteopathic medicine, which is the prevention of the disease and treatment of the total person. This philosophy is one of the aspects that sets DO school apart. The other distinguishing feature is that DOs are trained in manual medicine for the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, which is ideal for people who want to go into sports medicine. Besides this difference, everything else is the same. Because a DO goes through four years medical school, a year of internship, and two to six years residency, just like a Medical Doctor. Both the schools are licensed in all 50 states and have their own accreditation organizations. The requirements for the schools are also the same, as shown in the table. The opportunities for Doctors of Osteopathic medicine also parallel that of a Medical Doctor because fields within Osteopathy range from pediatrics to neurosurgery just as they do for Allopathic medicine. Doctors of Osteopathy also can have a private practice or work in an HMO.
|Pre- medical requirements||Biology
|Medical School||4 years||4 years|
There is, however, one draw back to choosing osteopathic medicine to allopathic medicine; there are only 19 DO Schools in the US. California has two: one in San Francisco and another in Pomona. Other major states like New York and Texas also have a couple of DO schools. For more information on the schools of both Osteopathic and allopathic medicine, please visit or call the Biological Sciences Student Affairs Office. You can also contact:
American Osteopathic Association
142 E. Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(310) 280-5800 or (800) 621-1773