122nd Annual CME Conference



What is a DO?

If you're like most people, you've been going to physicians ever since you were born and perhaps were not aware whether some or all of them were osteopathic physicians, also known as DOs. You may not even be aware that there are two types of complete physicians in the United StatesundefinedDOs and MDs.

The fact is that both DOs and MDs are fully qualified physicians licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery.  

DOs and MDs are Alike in Many Ways 

Students entering both DO and MD medical colleges typically have already completed four-year bachelor's degrees with an emphasis on scientific courses.

  • ·         Both DOs and MDs complete four years of basic medical education.

  • ·         After medical school, both DOs and MDs obtain graduate medical education through internships, residencies and fellowships. This training lasts three to eight years and prepares DOs and MDs to practice a specialty.

  • ·         Both DOs and MDs can choose to practice in any specialty of medicine; such as pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry, surgery or ophthalmology.

  • ·         DOs and MDs must pass comparable examinations to obtain state licenses.

  • ·         DOs and MDs both practice in accredited and licensed health care facilities.

  • ·         Together, DOs and MDs enhance the state of health care available in the U.S.

DOs, however, belong to a separate yet equal branch of American medical care. It is the ways that DOs and MDs are different that can bring an extra dimension to your health care. 

The Osteopathic Approach

For more than a century, osteopathic physicians have built a tradition of bringing health care to where it is needed most:

  • ·         Approximately 60% of practicing osteopathic physicians practice in the primary care specialties of family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology.

  • ·         Many DOs fill a critical need for physicians by practicing in rural and other medically underserved communities.

Two snakes or one?

 By tradition, the medical profession has been recognized by the caduceus symbol - a crude stick or staff intertwined with two serpents. The authentic caduceus of a doctor of osteopathy, however, is entwined with only a single serpent. There is an appropriate, though little known, reason behind this distinction.

In Greek and Roman mythology, the gods Hermes and Mercury carried a staff with two serpents. These two gods are described respectively as the "conductor of souls to Hades" and the "god of commerce and thieves." In contrast, the Roman god of healing, Aesculapius, carried a staff with a single snake. Snakes were sacred to Aesculapius because it was believed that they could renew their youth by shedding their old skin and growing a new one.

Historically, D.O.s have chosen to identify with the healing symbolism of Aesculapius' single snake emblem rather than the images portrayed by the patrons of the two-serpent version. NOTE: The addition of wings to either staff acknowledges medical personnel with military status.

Physicians treating people, not just symptoms.

400 North Lee Street
Lewisburg, WV 24901
Phone 304-793-6842 | Toll Free 800-356-7836 ext. 6842 | Fax 304-647-6211
Penny Fioravante, Executive Director

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