Can a DO practice in Country X?

People are often asking if D.O.s can practice internationally. However, the answer to this depends very much on what one means by the question (with an organization or independently), the time the question is asked (as this changes constantly) and what they wish to practice (OMM versus say surgery). The following discussion is the result of email conversations with Robert F. Ruiz, Vice President for Application Services, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and Linda L. Mascheri, Associate Director, AOA Division of State Government Affairs.

To take the last point first, almost all countries will allow a U.S. trained D.O. to practice OMM. However, full practice rights, which are what most people are interested in, are a different matter. For full practice rights the first thing necessary to distinguish is that if you are a D.O. with the U.S. armed forces then the answer is yes, you can practice as a D.O. within any armed forces hospital anywhere in the world. Similarly, organizations such as Doctors without Borders have slightly different arrangements with countries that allow with greater frequency D.O. practice rights for short time periods, in limited situations (ie when working directly as part of a DWB project). Not all countries extend such priviledges to aid organizations though. If, however, you wish to practice as a doctor independent of any organization your options are more limited, most often in countries with some previous relation to Britain, although Canada is one exception to this. The reason provided for this by the AOA is "That is primarily due to the fact that schools of
osteopathy exist in those countries and those schools do not meet the
same standards nor curriculum as colleges of osteopathic medicine or
allopathic medicine herein the United States. "
The most recent list of practice rights by country and by limitation is posted at the following site:…e%20rights.html
However, this has not been updated since August 1999. If you have a particular situation in mind more recent information on specific countries can be obtained by contacting:
Linda L. Mascheri, Associate Director, AOA Division of State Government Affairs at

Excellent job of digging! Honestly, I am not an authority on this topic and what I reported in other areas are extractions from conversations I have had with folks who are far more intrigued with the prospects of international practice, which I stated in those posts. I have asked a classmate of mine, who is one of those interested parties, to come here and filed questions. However, he is on two consecutive out-rotations (ME & NC) with limited internet access and has yet been able to visit us.
But, in the meantime, you seem to have tapped into some excellent resources. I would encourage you to continue to report what you discover, as it seems that questions of this nature have been occuring with increasing frequency lately.
I thank you for your time & efforts!


Hmm, this is very interesting… I have been attracted to the DO path more so than MD, due to the wholistic approach. However, I’m married to a Brit, and that wouldn’t be good if I weren’t able to practice in London…
Thanks for sharing what you found!
I’ll dig around some more. smile.gif