Osteopathic Profession

Osteopathic Physicians in Primary Care

Two U N E medical students stand in a hallway examining a patient's chartThe degree of doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) is granted to graduates of osteopathic medical schools to indicate to the public that these physicians have received an education that is distinctive from allopathic (M.D.) physicians.

Consistent with the philosophy and training programs of the osteopathic profession, the majority of osteopathic physicians practice primary care medicine. Their interest in holistic medicine, one of the basic tenets of their osteopathic heritage, encourages them to provide both preventive and curative services to their patients on a comprehensive and continuing basis.

Osteopathic Specialists

In order to serve the total needs of osteopathic family physicians and their patients, the profession has developed training programs and certifying boards in the various established specialties. Osteopathic specialists adhere to the same basic philosophy of medicine as their family practice colleagues. Osteopathic specialists are required to follow the same educational program, which includes a twelve-month rotating internship, as the basis for entry into post-doctoral specialty training. Today, licensed osteopathic physicians practice all branches of medicine and surgery in all 50 states.