Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O. or DO) is a professional doctoral degree for physicians offered by some medical schools in the United States. Holders of the D.O. degree are known as osteopathic physicians and have the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as physicians with a Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D.). D.O. physicians are licensed to practice the full scope of medicine and surgery in all 50 states, and comprise 7 percent of the total U.S. physician population. There are over 77,784 D.O. physicians in the United States, of which 69,429 are in active practice.
Currently, there are 29 medical schools with 37 locations throughout the United States that offer the D.O. degree, and 141 medical schools that offer the M.D. degree. As of 2011, 1 in 5 medical students in the United States were D.O. students. The curricula at osteopathic medical schools are very similar to those at M.D.-granting medical schools. Four years in total length, the first two years of medical school focus on the biomedical and clinical sciences, followed by two years of core clinical training in the clinical specialties. One notable difference in the education at D.O.-granting medical schools is the inclusion of 300 – 500 additional hours in the study of hands-on manual medicine and the body's musculoskeletal system. This training, referred to as osteopathic manipulative medicine, is absent in the M.D. curricula.
Upon graduation from medical school, osteopathic physicians enter internship or residency training programs, which may be followed by fellowship training. Many D.O. physicians attend the same graduate medical education programs as their M.D. counterparts. and then take M.D. specialty board exams, while other D.O. graduates enter osteopathic programs and take D.O. specialty board examinations. However, as of June 2015, all post-graduate training for both D.O. and M.D. physicians will be accredited by the ACGME.Further information: Osteopathic medicine in the United States
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