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M.D. versus D.O.
May 2002

Q. What is the difference between an M.D. and a D.O.?

A. An M.D. is a physician, a medical doctor educated in medical school. A D.O. is a doctor of osteopathy, educated in an osteopathic school. Historically, the osteopaths learned skills in manipulation of the body as a treatment for musculoskeletal conditions in addition to more traditional medical and scientific coursework. They had separate licensing requirements and separate hospitals. In recent years, the education has become more similar, with basic science and clinical training over 4 years of school followed by residency training in a specialty. In most states, M.D.'s and D.O.'s can now get staff priveleges at the same hospitals, and in some states D.O.'s can apply for a reciprocal M.D. license. Osteopathy is relatively more common in European countries than in the U. S.



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