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Education

UNT Thinks an Osteopath is Inferior to an M.D.?

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Texas is apparently suffering from a doctor shortage. But really it’s not so much a doctor shortage as a primary-care/family practice physician shortage. The University of North Texas says it wants to help this problem by opening a second medical school in Fort Worth.

Apparently they want an M.D. program, in addition to the existing osteopathic medicine college that they have over there. But here’s my question: D.O.’s have historically been more committed (a greater percentage of them make the choice) to going into primary care than have those with M.D.’s. From an old New York Times article:

One of osteopathic medicine’s most marketable features these days is its longstanding commitment to general medical practice, or primary care. Osteopathic education has historically prepared students exclusively to take care of patients rather than become specialists, academics or researchers. Osteopathic medical students generally spend considerably more time working as apprentices in clinics and private offices than their conventionally trained counterparts. ”We live with patients in the wild,” said Dr. Tyler Cymet, an osteopathic internist in Baltimore. ”We get
to see what they’re like.”

Although the number of osteopathic doctors in primary care has fallen in the last 20 years, about half of all practicing osteopathic doctors are still primary-care doctors, Dr. Wood said, in contrast to only about a third of M.D.’s.

Sorry that article is about a decade old, but I think that’s still generally true. So if what you need is more primary care doctors, and osteopaths are more likely to make that career choice, why not push to expand the school you have, rather than create a whole new one?

The answer is that a D.O. still doesn’t command the same respect as an M.D.?

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