DOs (osteopathic physicians) are fully licensed to prescribe medicine and practice in all specialty areas, including surgery. DOs embody a high-touch, high-empathy approach to patient care. They focus on holistic, preventive health care and receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system and the interrelationship of the body's nerves, muscles, bones and organs.
Osteopathic Medicine is Growing
DOs are one of the fastest-growing segments of health care professionals in the U.S. At the current rate of growth, it is estimated that there will be more than 100,000 total osteopathic physicians in the U.S. by 2016. The graph below shows the growth in the number of DOs since 1985. One in four medical students in the U.S. today attends an osteopathic medical school.
Total DOs, 1985-2014
Source: AOA Physician Masterfile, May 31, 2014.
NOTE: Chart above excludes same-year new graduates each year.