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What IS a DO?

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) is a physician licensed to practice medicine in all 50 states. Like their MD colleagues, osteopathic physicians perform surgery, deliver babies, and prescribe medicine in private practice, hospitals and clinics across the country. Whether family doctors or specialists, DOs use all the tools of modern medicine, and more. Like MDs, DOs:

  • Typically have a four-year undergraduate degree with an emphasis in science courses before entering medical school
  • Complete four years of basic medical education (medical school)
  • Can choose to practice in a specialty area such as psychiatry, surgery or obstetrics
  • Complete a residency program typically requiring two to six years of additional training
  • Must pass comparable state licensing examinations and meet annual continuing education requirements to retain their license
  • Practice in accredited and licensed hospitals and medical centers

In addition, DOs bring something extra: a ‘whole person’ approach to medicine. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, DOs regard the mind, body, and spirit as an integrated whole. They pay special attention to how the body’s nerves, muscles, bones and organs work together to influence health. DOs help their patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don’t just fight illness, but help prevent it. CLICK HERE to read more about what a DO does to help his or her patients.


Find a DO

The American Osteopathic Association maintains an extensive database of Osteopathic Physicians (DOs). CLICK HERE to find a DO.