Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O. or DO) is an academic degree offered in the United States. It is a graduate-level first professional degree for physicians and surgeons, requiring four years to complete. Holders of the D.O. degree are known as osteopathic physicians. D.O.s are trained much in the same way as M.D.s, with the addition of osteopathic manipulative medicine techniques. The existence of this distinction and of D.O.s as licensed physicians is not widely known.
In the United States, the D.O. and the M.D. are the only two degrees permitting licensure as medical physicians. D.O and M.D. physicians have similar training (both requiring 4 years of training in the basic and clinical sciences and include licensing exams) but osteopathic physicians receive additional training in Osteopathic Manual Manipulation. Although U. S. osteopathic medical physicians currently may obtain licensure in 47 countries, osteopathic curricula in countries other than the United States differs. D.O.s outside the U. S. are known as "osteopaths" and their scope of practice excludes some conventional medical therapies, relying more exclusively on osteopathic manipulative medicine and other alternative medical modalities.
International variations in the D.O. degree
In the United States, doctors of osteopathic medicine are physicians who are also trained in osteopathic manipulative medicine.
In France, Germany,and Switzerland, some osteopathic practitioners are M.D.s who take additional courses in osteopathy after completing their medical training. In the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, “osteopaths" are trained in osteopathic principles and osteopathic manipulative treatment but are not physicians.
According to the BIOMEA, in most countries outside the United States, D.O. stands for “diploma of osteopathy,” not “doctor of osteopathic medicine.” The difference is that osteopaths are not trained or licensed as physicians, and therefore do not carry the same practice rights, such as surgery and prescribing medication. However, osteopaths in some countries do act as primary care providers, coordinating treatment with fully licensed primary care physicians.
International practice rights
Every country has different requirements and a different way of licensing or registering osteopathic physicians and osteopaths. The only osteopathic practitioners that the U.S. Department of Education recognizes as physicians are graduates of osteopathic medical colleges in the United States. Therefore, osteopaths who have trained outside the United States are not eligible for medical licensure in the United States. On the other hand, US-trained D.O.s are currently able to practice in 45 countries with full medical rights and in several others with restricted rights.
The following is a table of International Practice Rights of U.S trained Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, as listed by the American Osteopathic Association. An update of this listing was released in December 2007.
|Country||Year of latest policy||Medical Practice Rights||Requirements for Licensure|
|Argentina||1994||Unlimited.||Full license granted to US-trained D.O.|
|Australia||2000||Restricted.||Varies by state.|
|Austria||1994||Unlimited.||Hospital must have position unable to be filled by Austrian physician.|
|Bahamas||1997||Unlimited.||US license recognized.|
|Bolivia||1988||Unknown.||No response from embassy.|
|Brazil||2000||Unlimited.||Completion of Brazilian board exam & some training in Brazilian hospital is required.|
|Canada (varies by province)||
|Cayman Islands (UK)||1983||Unlimited.||US license recognized.|
|Chile||1993.||Unlimited.||A written exam, in Spanish, is required.|
|China||1994||Unlimited.||US-DOs are permitted to apply for "Short Term Medical Practice" only.|
|Costa Rica||1993||Unlimited.||Several requirements. (Same as for any foreign MD.)|
|Denmark||1995||Unknown.||No response from embassy.|
|Dominican Republic||2000||Unlimited.||US license recognized.|
|Ecuador||Unlimited.||Several. Same as for any foreign MD.|
|Finland||1996||Unlimited.||Several. Same as for any foreign MD.|
|France||1988||Restricted.||OMM only. French government does not recognize osteopathic medicine.|
|Germany||1993||Unlimited.||No special requirements. Decisions made on individual basis.|
|Greece||2004||Unlimited.||Difficult. Greek citizenship required.|
|Hong Kong||1998||Unlimited.||Written examination. Personal interview. Training approval.|
|India||1999||Undetermined.||Indian nationality status required|
|Indonesia||1992||Unlimited.||All foreign physicians affiliated with a University project or a mission have unlimited practice rights. No private practice allowed.|
|Ireland||1999||Under review.||The Irish government has repeated declined to recognize US trained D.O.s as physicians. The American Osteopathic Association president has said that obtaining unlimited practice rights for US-trained D.O.s in Ireland is a top priority in 2007.|
|Lebanon||2004||Unlimited.||AOA letter required. Examination required.|
|New Zealand||2005||Unlimited.||Hearing required. Case-by-case basis.|
|Nigeria||1999||Unlimited.||An appearance before the Nigerian Medical Council & an oral quiz.|
|Singapore||1993||None.||Singapore does not recognize US DO degree. Only recognizes US MD degree from 37 US conventional medical schools.|
|Spain||1994||None.||No medical practice rights.|
|Sweden||1996||Unlimited.||US license recognized.|
|Taiwan||2005||Unlimited.||The ROC government recognizes US D.O. degree. Applicants must take Taiwan Examination Yuan to obtain Taiwanese license.|
|United Kingdom||2005||Unlimited.||US-trained DOs eligible for full medical practice rights. Applicants must pass the PLAB examination and work for one year in the National Health Service. Following that year, the applicants will be able to apply for a license to practice privately.|
|Table data from AOA International License Summary., updated December 2007.|
- ↑ Gevitz N. Visible and recognized: osteopathic invisibility syndrome and the 2% solution. The DO. March 1997:23-4, 26-7. PMID: 9107129
- ↑ McNerney, Joseph. Chairman, Bureau on International Osteopathic Medical Education and Affairs. Osteopathic Degrees Overseas: Response. J Am Osteopath Assoc Jan 2007 Vol 107;No 1 p 7
- ↑ Notices. Federal Register. Vol. 70, No. 190. 3 Oct 2005. 
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 AOA International License Summary. American Osteopathic Association. Council on International Osteopathic Medical Education and Affairs.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 AOA International License Summary. American Osteopathic Association. Council on International Osteopathic Medical Education and Affairs. December 2007.
- ↑ Peter B. Ajluni US-Trained DOs in Ireland. AOA president's blog. 12 Mar 2007. 
- ↑ Registrable Basic Medical Degrees. Singapore Medical Council accessed Oct 2007.
- US-Trained DOs in Ireland. American Osteopathic Association President's Blog. 
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