An Overview of Osteopathic Medical Education
Osteopathic medical school curricula closely mirror those of allopathic (MD)
medical schools. The first two years focus on the biomedical and clinical
sciences, followed by core clinical training in the clinical specialties.
Osteopathic medical school accreditation standards require training in internal
pediatrics, family practice, surgery,
psychiatry, emergency medicine, radiology, preventive medicine and public
health. In addition, most schools provide a rural or underserved-focused primary
care experience, and provide time for electives as well.
Osteopathic medical schools maintain those core values which the profession’s
early founders stressed as central distinguishing aspects of osteopathic
philosophy: holistic, patient-centered, preventive, and health- vs.
disease-focused care within a primary care context, although these elements of
osteo-pathic philosophy have been increasingly prominent in allopathic medical
education and practice as well.
The osteopathic medical school curriculum is clearly distinguished from
allopathic medical education by its focus on osteopathic manipulative medicine
(OMM), a hands-on therapy that is used to diagnose and treat illness and injury.
OMM education usually occurs through year-long firstand- second-year theoretical
and skills courses, and through subsequent clinical experiences. OMM education
is in addition to, and integrated with, medical training on current and emerging
theory and methods of medical diagnosis and treatment.
Accreditation of Osteopathic medical schools
Osteopathic medical schools are accredited by The American Osteopathic
Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), recognized
to accredit osteopathic medical education by the U.S. Department of Education.
Many osteopathic medical schools also are accredited by a regional educational
New colleges of osteopathic medicine hold provisional accreditation status
during their first four years of student enrollment. A college holding
provisional accreditation status may admit students and offer medical
instruction. During the year preceding the graduation of its first class, a
provision-ally accredited college will conduct various activities that will
allow it to attain fully accredited status. Should the college not gain full
accreditation, COCA has policies and procedures in place to protect the
educational and financial investments of students.
Osteopathic Training for U.S.–Trained Health Professionals
Nurses, Physical Therapists, Occu-pational Therapists, Physician As-sistants,
Chiropractors and Others Who Want to Earn a DO Degree Many allied health
professionals seek admission to osteopathic medical schools. These students must
complete the entire curriculum at an accred-ited osteopathic medical school, and
they must complete an internship and residency. Schools may award credit for
certain courses or experiences on an individual basis. Contact the admissions
department at a college for specificinformation. A proven dedication to patient
health and experience in a clinical setting will certainly help you in the
MDs Who Want Training in Osteopathic Principles and Practices
With an understanding of the benefits of the osteopathic approach to patient
care, many MDs are expressing an interest in learning how to integrate
osteopathic philosophy and osteopathic manipulative medicine into their
practices. Several osteopathic medical schools offer continuing medical
education (CME) courses that are open to MDs. To learn more about available CME
courses, visit the osteopathic college websites. The American Academy of
Osteopathy also offers continuing medical education courses that are open to