Osteopathic Medicine

Who We Are

Osteopathic Medicine

What is Osteopathic Medicine?

Two types of physicians are licensed to practice medicine in the United States: osteopathic physicians (D.O.'s) and allopathic physicians (M.D.'s). Both the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree and the Doctor of Medicine degree are typically earned in four years. Students in each field receive the same training in all areas, and both types of physicians complete residencies after earning their degrees― often training together in the same residency programs.

The osteopathic profession has traditionally placed a strong emphasis on primary care, but like M.D.'s, osteopathic physicians practice in all medical and surgical specialties.

One aspect of their preparation that distinguishes D.O.'s, however, is that they receive approximately 200 hours of additional training in a hands-on diagnosis and treatment approach called osteopathic manipulative medicine. D.O.'s use OMM to reduce pain, increase mobility and support the body’s natural functions and structure.

Students in osteopathic medical schools are taught that each patient should be treated as a whole person, that all body systems are interrelated and dependent on one another for a person’s health. Other basic principles that guide osteopathic medical training include the emphasis of wellness, preventive medicine, and the prominent role of the musculoskeletal system in restoring health.  

The principles behind osteopathic medicine were developed more than 125 years ago by A.T. Still, M.D., who was dissatisfied with the ineffectiveness of 19th century medicine. These principles remain the foundation for the way D.O.'s practice today, and these methods are also setting the standard for the future of medical education and practice. Each year, one out of five American medical students enroll at an osteopathic medical school, joining one of the nation’s fastest growing health care professions.
Our graduates—as primary care physicians, surgeons and physicians of all specialties—are bringing patients in Ohio and around the world the most comprehensive health care available.