An alternative U.S. applicants should consider before applying to Caribbean medical schools is to consider first applying to U.S. osteopathic medical schools.
There are currently 39 accredited osteopathic medical schools in the United States, along with three branch campuses that offer the doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) degree. Although this is quite a small number compared to the 151 allopathic medical schools offering the doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree, in practical terms the distinction between the two kinds of school is quite minimal.
The difference between M.D. and D.O. schools confuses many applicants. Basically, the distinction between the two took shape in the early 19th century.
In 1874, Andrew Taylor Still proposed a new approach to medicine which focused on the body as a whole rather than treating specific symptoms or illnesses. His approach emphasized the importance of preventive medicine, a healthy diet, and physical fitness. The legacy of his philosophy has carried on to modern times and is today known as osteopathic medicine.
Although the holistic philosophy associated with osteopathic medicine suggests that there would be great differences between the two types of medical schools that promote osteopathic and allopathic teachings, the reality is that the similarities between the two are more plentiful than the differences. Medical students training to be D.O.s or M.D.s are both required to complete four years of medical school, during which they follow similar pre-clinical and clinical training. After completing their degrees, students from either type of school must complete internships and residencies that typically last anywhere from three to six years. Students from both types of school are required to pass a comprehensive examination before acquiring state licensure to practice medicine.
“There are plenty of well-trained and highly competent D.O.s in the health care system,” says Senior Consultant Wayne Shelton. “They provide the same excellent care for patients as their M.D. colleagues.
“Many medical school applicants who are attracted by the holistic training philosophy of osteopathic medicine – and especially those who haven’t had luck with medical school admission – would be wise to consider some of the excellent D.O. programs as an alternative.”
If you are considering applying to medical schools but are frustrated by the barriers to M.D. program admission, consider all of your choices before you narrow your list of schools. An osteopathic medical school may best suit your needs.