Sunday, March 18, 2012
It’s not about the “M.D.” anymore
Everyone knows what M.D. stands for. When I was growing up I loved watching a T.V. show about a child genius – The show was called “Doogie Howser, M.D.”
Then in medical school I watched another popular medical show called “House M.D.”
If you’re going to include the initials – they’re going to be M.D. That’s a doctor, that’s a physician…right?
In the late 1800’s one doctor decided there was more to medicine than what he was taught as an M.D. So he started a new type of medicine, Osteopathic Medicine. In 1892 he opened the first “School of Osteopathic Medicine.”
Over the next century there would be many political and professional disputes, but the result today is that one quarter of all Medical School graduates in the U.S. is NOT an M.D., but rather a D.O.
You have likely been to see one, and never knew the difference. Just like most people have no idea if their dentist is a DDS or a DMD, the same thing is happening in the world of medicine.
Yes – they are surgeons, pediatricians, dermatologists, and every other medical specialty. To most people – they are indistinguishable from their M.D. counterparts.
The ratio of M.D. to D.O. is changing, and it’s changing fast.
In 2008, 20% of all US graduates were D.O.’s
In 2011, it was up to 24% of all graduates. And the enrollment numbers tell us that the trend won’t stop anytime soon.
In 2011, 30% of all first year medical students were D.O.’s
The world of medicine is changing. I am waiting for the day my grandkids call me into the room to watch a new television show, and it’s entitled something like “Doogie Howser, D.O.”