6 Myths of Osteopathic Medical School

Session 26

Session 26

In today’s episode, Ryan talks with Patrick and Jonathan, both 3rd-year DO medical students at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. They wrote A Brief Guide to Osteopathic Medicine – For Students, By Students, which is published on AACOM.

They wrote their guide to provide valuable information about osteopathic medicine, about what it is, and the different myths about osteopathic medicine that are currently circulating around, which they will discuss on the show today.

Jonathan’s path to osteopathic medicine:

  • Applying to both MD and DO schools
  • Choosing the schools to apply to based on location and price

Patrick’s path to osteopathic medicine:

  • Majoring in microbiology
  • Applying to both MD and DO schools
  • Doing a dual degree (MD/MPH)

Reactions from friends and families about going to osteopathic medical school:

  • Jonathan’s family recommended he go to medical school overseas or wait a year to reapply to MD schools.
  • Patrick’s family was supportive.

Reasons for writing the guide:

They wanted to create a tangible, accessible, user-friendly resource to educate people about being a DO and about osteopathic medical school in general after seeing such a knowledge gap.

They wrote their guide to provide information about osteopathic medicine, what it is, and the myths about osteopathic medicine that are currently circulating.Click To Tweet

Resources they used to help with med school applications:

  • Patrick getting help from his sister (already in medical school)
  • Friends
  • SDN forums
  • Premedical fraternities

Their experience with SDN:

  • Getting into the forums related to the medical field
  • Coming with a lot of misinformation, rumors, and myths especially about the DO profession
  • A lot of putting down and animosity because of the anonymity (people hiding behind their nicknames)

[Related episode: Moving Forward with Student Doctor Network and Its Founder]

The negative mentality about DO schools:

Many medical students think of DO schools as a second choice or back-up plan to MD schools.

[Related episode: Are All U.S. Medical Schools Created Equal?]

What makes DO schools different from MD schools:

  • OMT (Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy)
  • Philosophical distinction

But there is a big overlap between MD and DO.

[Related episode: MD vs DO: What Are the Differences and Similarities?]

The 6 Myths of Osteopathic Medicine:

  1. DOs are not real doctors.
  2. DOs have limited practice rights.
  3. Osteopathic medicine is a drugless form of medicine.
  4. DOs are similar to chiropractors.
  5. DOs are just doctors who couldn’t get into MD schools.
  6. “Osteopaths” are the same thing as “osteopathic physicians.”
“Osteopaths” and “osteopathic physicians' are not the same thing.Click To Tweet

Should there be a separate DO degree in the first place?

  • The push in 2010 to change the degree name to MD/DO
  • Ryan’s opinion about DOs sticking to primary care specialties and Patrick respectfully disagreeing with it

Jonathan says compartmentalizing each aspect of medicine is difficult because it’s necessary to integrate everything.

Being an MD wanting to learn OMM:

  • Schools like Harvard have an integrated medicine course that teaches OMM to MDs.
  • MSUCOM offers continuing medical education with OMM.
  • OMM is not meant to be the best-kept secret in medicine.

Merging MD and DO residency programs for dual accreditation:

All residency programs are held to the same standard.

Some pieces of advice for premed students:

Just by keeping certain parts of the body in a certain position and adding a little force here and there, you can actually change someone’s physiology, pain, range of motion, and local functioning. That’s how powerful the body’s self-healing capability is. One of the tenets of the osteopathic philosophy is that the body heals itself.

Education is key. Make an informed decision for yourself when it comes to DO or MD!

One of the tenets of the osteopathic philosophy is that the body heals itself.Click To Tweet

Links and Other Resources:

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