September 2014
University of Colorado at Boulder: Pre-SOMA

What is Osteopathic Medicine?

Osteopathic medicine is a medical practice unique to the U.S. It was founded by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. in the late 19th century as a result of his frustration with medical practices of the time. From his experiences and teachings Osteopathic medicine and philosophy was born. It has evolved to include three main components that separate it from any other medical practice in the world, let alone the U.S.

The first is that Osteopathic physicians are trained to see the body as a whole entity, rather than just the sum of its parts. This includes the psychological and emotional factors, as well as the physical problems. Next, Osteopathic physicians approach a patient with the intent of removing any obstructions that may be preventing the body from healing itself. This approach stems from observations and discoveries that the human body can, and will, heal given the right conditions.

Finally, D.O.'s have developed a unique method of healing based solely on structural manipulations termed osteopathic manipulative medicine. OMM as a diagnostic and treatment tool can be a very effective alternative to pharmacological treatments, especially for pain management and preventative measures.

THE OSTEOPATHIC OATH - taken by all entering into the profession:

I do hereby affirm my loyalty to the profession I am about to enter. I will be mindful always of my great responsibility to preserve the health and the life of my patients, to retain their confidence and respect both as a physician and a friend who will guard their secrets with scrupulous honor and fidelity, to perform faithfully my professional duties, to employ only those recognized methods of treatment consistent with good judgment and with my skill and ability, keeping in mind always nature's laws and the body's inherent capacity for recovery.

I will be ever vigilant in aiding in the general welfare of the community , sustaining its laws and institutions, not engaging in those practices which will in any way bring shame or discredit upon myself or my profession. I will give no drugs for deadly purposes to any person, though it may be asked of me.
I will endeavor to work in accord with my colleagues in a spirit of progressive cooperation and never by word or by act cast imputations upon them or their rightful practices.

I will look with respect and esteem upon all those who have taught me my art. To my college I will be loyal and strive always for its best interests and for the interests of the students who will come after me.I will be ever alert to further the application of basic biologic truths to the healing arts and to develop the principles of osteopathy which were first nunciated by Andrew Taylor Still.

What is a DO?

A D.O. is a doctor of osteopathy. D.O.'s are fully liscensed physicians that practice in every realm of medicine. Some D.O.'s, as with M.D.'s, may choose to pursue research in the medical sciences. D.O.'s approach their practice with the mindset of the patient being a whole person, rather than a disease or a sum of individual parts. They view the patient/doctor relationship as a partnership, and are taught to consider all aspects of the patient's body and lifestyle when reaching a diagnosis or treatment decision.

D.O.'s are taught Osteopathic medicine at fully accredited and highly competitive colleges across the nation. At these institutions students undertake a challenging curriculum and extensive clerkship. This education includes the understanding and mastery of osteopathic manipulative medicine. Throughout the four year experience, students are taught through the scope of Osteopathic medical philosophy.

Prospective Osteopathic applicants are required to complete scientific, english, and behavioral science pre-requisites (based on each school's requirements). Applicants are also required to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), and most schools require a letter of recommendation from an Osteopathic physician. Admissions committees are intent on admitting well-rounded applicants, not simply applicants with solid numbers. Admitted applicants are leaders, volunteers, have good communication skills, and are knowledgeable and excited about Osteopathic medicine. Matriculated students can look forward to joining a widely expanding and progressive medical profession as Osteopathic physicians.

Pre-Student Osteopathic Medical Association
National IOTA Chapter
University of Colorado at Boulder