Medicine is both an art and science. A physician’s responsibilities cover a wide range of functions in the maintenance of health and the treatment of disease, including caring for patients with both acute and chronic conditions and promoting preventative approaches involving substantial patient education. These include diagnosing disease, supervising the care of patients, prescribing medications & other treatments, and participating in the improved delivery of health care. Admission to medical school is highly competitive.
A degree in medicine requires four years of academic study of which two years are dedicated to the sciences and two years to clinical rotations. Upon graduation, students enter residency programs that can last three to eight years depending on the medical specialty you choose to pursue. Training in family practice, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics can take three years; general surgery requires five years; and subspecialty training in disciplines such as plastic or neurological surgery may involve another two or three years. In addition, some medical schools offer joint degrees: MD/PHD, MD/MPH, MD/JD, or MD/MBA.
Osteopathic medicine is a distinct form of medical practice in the United States and provides all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury. DOs are trained to look at the whole person from their first days of medical school, which means they see each person as more than just a collection of organ systems and body parts that may become injured or diseased.
DOs are licensed to practice the full scope of medicine in all 50 states. They practice in all types of environments, including the military, and in all types of specialties, from family medicine to obstetrics, surgery, and aerospace medicine. The major distinction between the D.O. and M.D. today is that the D.O. receives additional specialized training in osteopathic principles and practices, including the hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of therapy known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. Another distinction is that osteopathic medicine emphasizes primary care.
A degree in osteopathic medicine requires four years of academic study of which two years are dedicated to the sciences and two years to clinical rotations. Upon graduation, graduates may receive a 12-month internship approved by the American Osteopathic Association. Graduates, however, may enter either M.D. or D.O. residency programs that can last an additional three to eight years depending on the medical specialty they choose to pursue. Graduates may enter residency programs either directly from on graduation from medical school or following a one-year osteopathic internship (in some cases depending on state licensing regulations).
MD-PhD programs provide training in both medicine and research. They are specifically designed for those who want to become research physicians, also known as physician-investigators or physician-scientists. Graduates of MD-PhD programs often go on to become faculty members at medical schools, universities and research institutes such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Source: AAMC