More os­teo­pathic doc­tors pro­vid­ing care around U.S.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS - JEAN­NIE ROBERTS

Os­teo­pathic medicine is one of the fastest-grow­ing health care pro­fes­sions in the na­tion, with the num­ber of peo­ple in­volved hav­ing more than quadru­pled in nearly 30 years.

There are nearly 138,000 doc­tors of os­teo­pathic medicine (DO) and os­teo­pathic med­i­cal stu­dents in the na­tion, as op­posed to just un­der 31,000 in 1990, ac­cord­ing to a 2017 re­port by the Amer­i­can Os­teo­pathic As­so­ci­a­tion.

Com­par­a­tively, there are now more than 1.1 mil­lion doc­tors of medicine (MD) in the na­tion — up from nearly 616,000 in 1990. More than 20,000 stu­dents en­roll in a tra­di­tional med­i­cal school each year.

Arkansas has one tra­di­tional med­i­cal school, the Univer­sity of Arkansas for Med­i­cal Sciences Col­lege of Medicine, and two os­teo­pathic med­i­cal schools — the New York In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy Col­lege of Os­teo­pathic Medicine on the Jones­boro cam­pus of Arkansas State Univer­sity and the Arkansas Col­lege of Os­teo­pathic Medicine in Fort Smith.

While the ed­u­ca­tion and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ments of MDs and DOs are much the same, os­teo­pathic doc­tors have a more holis­tic phi­los­o­phy of treat­ing the pa­tient’s mind, body and spirit.

Both pro­fes­sions are doc­tors li­censed to prac­tice in the United States.

Doc­tors of os­teopa­thy prac­tice in all ar­eas of medicine and are fully li­censed. Os­teo­pathic physi­cians fo­cus on pre­ven­tion and fo­cus on the pa­tient’s life­style and en­vi­ron­ment, ac­cord­ing to lit­er­a­ture from the Amer­i­can Os­teo­pathic As­so­ci­a­tion.

After the four years of med­i­cal school, both MDs and DOs must com­plete res­i­dency train­ing in their cho­sen spe­cial­ties and must also pass the same li­cens­ing ex­am­i­na­tion be­fore they

● can treat pa­tients and pre­scribe med­i­ca­tions.

There are 35 ac­cred­ited col­leges of os­teo­pathic medicine that op­er­ate in 32 states, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from the Amer­i­can Os­teo­pathic As­so­ci­a­tion.

Other sta­tis­tics from the Amer­i­can Os­teo­pathic As­so­ci­a­tion and the Amer­i­can

As­so­ci­a­tion of Col­leges of Os­teo­pathic Medicine in­di­cate that:

■ Doc­tors of os­teopa­thy ac­count for 10 per­cent of all pri­mary care physi­cians.

■ About 56 per­cent of doc­tors of os­teopa­thy prac­tice in pri­mary care spe­cial­ties.

■ Nearly 40 per­cent of doc­tors of os­teopa­thy in ac­tive prac­tice are women.

■ About 54 per­cent of the os­teo­pathic doc­tor pop­u­la­tion is un­der the age of 45.

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