Osteopathic Medicine – D.O.
Over the next decade, the US will see a severe Physician shortage, however, one area experiencing growth is Osteopathic Medicine.
This field applies a unique patient-centered approach to the full spectrum of care. A D.O. considers lifestyle and environmental factors in addition to symptoms. It is viewed as treating the whole person, not just the disease. Part of this expertise is special training of the musculoskeletal system.
Osteopathic medical schools supplement standard medical science lessons and practices with instruction on how to provide touch-based diagnosis and treatment of various health problems. A distinction in schooling comes with about a tenth of D.O. coursework consisting of hands-on therapies. However, the other science classes are typical of those in standard medical schools.
Graduates in this field receive Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine or D.O. degrees. Someone pursuing this path can expect three to eight years of internships, residencies, and fellowships.
Students attending Osteopathic medical schools have grown by 77% in recent years. Currently, there are more than 1 in 4 medical students choosing to pursue their D.O. at 38 different Osteopathic medical schools.
In the last two decades, the number of Osteopathic Medicine Physicians has tripled in the US. Now, they represent more than 11% of all Physicians. There has been a rapid expansion of D.O. specialization across all areas of Medicine. Specifically, D.O.’s matched in 41 different specialties according to the 2022 NRMP Match. Of practicing D.O. Physicians in 2019, 56.4% were Primary Care with a sub-specialty in either Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, or Pediatrics.
While not only providing Physicians and patients alike with another health care avenue, a rise in this profession may also be able to help address the Physician shortages to come in the following years.