DO vs MD

I have talked to quite a few friends (both DO’s and MD’s) that are physicians and presented this question to them. Both sides have different answers. I would like some feedback from some of you and see what you think. I have been debating applying to MD schools as well as DO schools. I have been told that DO schools give more consideration to older, nontraditional applicants. Have any of you heard this? Also, what differences have you noticed in the two, once entering into the workforce? I dont see any differences except the Chiropractic piece. Please shed some light for me.

Being a non traditional student gives you no more advantage over a traditional student other than having an interesting story. Just because you are older, it does not mean that you can do the work any better. This is part of what the adcoms are looking for when viewing your application. Can you succeed at their intense program (and yes, it is very intense).

And while it has been debated on again and off again if DO or MD is more “non traditional friendly” there are 2 answers to this. #1) Can’t tell. No data has been published where schools were specifically asked whether or not they want to be seen as non traditional friendly or not. Truth be told, the $40,000 from a 21 year old is just as good as that from a 41 year old.

#2) If you take a poll of the medical students or alumni from THIS message board, you may be surprised to see that there is likely a good even split: for example:

Dave Kelley, DO

Mary Renard, MD

Tara Cook, MD

Linda Wilson, DO

Gabriel, OMS

Kasia, MS

Denise, MS

Stacy, OMS

OMS=Osteopathic Medical Student

MS=Allopathic Medical Student

and these are the names I can remember off the top of my head.

I think you should first concentrate on your pre-reqs, then your MCAT, and THEN your application.

when I started medical school at UNECOM, the average age of entering students was 27, suggesting a definate tolerance of above average age students. I have heard that the average age of starting students has dropped some in the intervening period has dropped some since. I don’t know if this represents a philosphical shift or just reflective of the applicant pool.

as to the differences? I will say that it raises hackles to say the “chiropractic” piece. I have heard Osteopathy as “respectable Chiropractic” but don’t even think of using the reference during a DO school interview or application letter or you will quickly end up in the bottom of the heap.

I do suggest you read up on Osteopathic philosophy and method before you apply to any DO schools. Look up the American Osteopathic Association as a good starting point. You may find something there you like. Although there is a lot of overlap and many, if not most, DO’s function much like MD’s, it does represent a distinct philosophy, which you should understand if you wish to go that route.

Thanks for your input. I will continue to push forward in my quest!!

Figured I’d chime in…As much as I thought the way OMT was taught was absolute idiocy and lacked a lot of: 1) solid evidence and 2)post-1970s textbooks and 3) post-late 1960s textbooks of ‘Osteopathic Philosophy’…it does raise hackles when you use the term ‘the chiropractic piece’…and in some cases will piss people off.

The common osteopathic lore - and some of this from people who talked to/treated progeny of some of osteopathy’s founders - is that D.D. Palmer shadowed A.T. Still for about a month - never enrolled in the school but shadowed. Then decides that he doesn’t want to go through the ‘learning medicine by going to medical school’ part and books over to Davenport, Iowa where you didn’t need a license to practice and fairly soon afterward ‘founds’ chiropractic with the tale of curing Harvey Lillard’s (I think) hearing by pushing a vertebrae back into place.

But the general public has no idea of this sequence of lore and no written records exist to my knowledge to substantiate this account.

If you look at the profession now, quite a few D.O.'s do not practice OMT and it’s definitely a ‘practice makes perfect’ sort of thing…

On a practical level, I’ve never had anyone (to my knowledge) view me any differently being a D.O. student vs. an M.D. student…unless you count the M.A. at the kids pediatricians office who was shocked that D.O.s went into anything other than family practice (with the implication that they didn’t think we were trained to do anything else)…

No biggie - most patients don’t care – they still call you ‘Doctor’…