Talk:Medical school in the United States

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M.D. / D.O.[edit]

Medical education in the U.S. means earning one of two, equivalent medical degrees. This is crucial point. Must be explained.OsteopathicFreak 17:21, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

The degrees are not equivalent. (D.O.s receive some training that M.D.s do not receive.) The rights conferred upon the recipient of either degree, though not the same, are equal for all intents and purposes. (D.O.s may not use the post-numerary "M.D.", nor may M.D.s use the post-numerary "D.O.", but both get licensed in the same way.) People who possess one of the two may equally practice medicine in the United States. Antelan talk 05:31, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
The training is not equivalent, but the final degrees are, legally. In some states, D.O.s can use the same post-numerary, i.e. they can legally put M.D. after their name, and even those that live in states that don't specifically allow it, common practice is to use M.D. anyway, a fact which no one seems to notice. There's not exactly that enforces D.O.s not to print M.D. on their business cards and name tag, they do it all the time. I'm not saying that the majority of D.O.s do this, BTW. I'm just saying there are quite a few that do.
I can cite many standard reference texts that the two degrees are "virtually indistinguishable. Note that the degrees are not equal, but they are equivalent. High school diploma is not the same thing as a GED, they involve a very different process, but the two are equivalent.OsteopathicFreak T ? 05:50, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
You say, "There's not exactly (a law) that enforces D.O.s not to print M.D. on their business cards and name tag, they do it all the time." While that may be allowed in some states (which?), it is also expressly illegal in many states, such as Maryland. Other states, like Texas, have statutes governing precisely which titles an individual may use - and D.O.s and M.D.s may not use each other's titles. In Oregon, osteopathic physicians may not even use the title "physician" without a qualifier. I'm not pushing for content like this to get into articles; given the evidence, though, I can't see the rationale for calling the degrees equivalent. They confer equal rights to practice medicine, but are not equivalent. The first clause of the previous sentence provides an alternative, more-accurate wording that sounds just as good. Antelan talk 11:46, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
A few points:
  • I think the specific rules in different states regarding the post-nominal title is exactly the kind of content that would be valuable in Comparison of osteopathic and allopathic medicine or History of the relationship of osteopathic and allopathic medicine. You also mentioned some court case in New York on this topic, that would be interesting in the History article as well.
  • I should have said: There's not exactly an enforcement agency that enforces D.O.s not to print M.D. on their business cards and name tag, they do it all the time. I'm just speaking anecdotally, not making a verifiable statement. For example, at the hospital I work at, the name badges are already printed with "MD" "RN" etc. And they have a machine that just fills in the docs name. So all the DOs name badges say MD. My point is only that it may be illegal, but that its regularly done.
  • As far as the whole equivalent thing. I don't think there's a point in us arguing this, because I think we've both made our opinions clear. I have listed some sources that use the phrase "identical" and "virtually indistinguishable" and other similar words to compare the degrees. Except for the hypothetical scenario of an MD getting sued for practicing OMM, which seems reaching to me, I think the word equivalent is reasonably appropriate. Touro OsteopathicFreak T 02:40, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
There's the OMM hypothetical and also the DO/MD title caselaw. The wording that you put into the article after my edits seems perfectly reasonable. Antelan talk 04:23, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Great. Touro OsteopathicFreak T 16:34, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Number of osteopathic medical schools[edit]

I think there are more than 30 schools in the U.S. that offer an osteopathic degree. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vishwajraval (talkcontribs) 01:15, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

in the U.S. is now 25, with 3 branch campuses, making 28 locations total:

Also the original link is inaccessible:

Ssc1997 04:56, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Osteopathic DO[edit]

Hopping is reverting my edits to the 'see also' portion of this article. My version describes what medical students are doing (working toward a degree, either M.D. or D.O.). Hopping's is redundant, especially for a "see also". I would prefer that my version be restored. Other thoughts? Antelan talk 04:00, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Usually I would agree with you, but in this case I think it is important that people reading the article be familiar with these terms. That said, I don't like how Hopping has a tendency to overuse the term "allopathic" in other articles. It should only be used when a direct comparison with osteopathic medicine is being made. Nathanaver 16:12, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

I just made some changes and would like to address why that should not be reverted. I'm trying not to get involved in the allopathic vs. osteopathic debate. My changes are based on Wikipedia standards and guidelines.

  1. {{dablink}} was not properly used. Its proper usage is to add disambiguation links to other unrelated articles with the same name. In this article, {{dablink}} was not being used for disambiguation.
  2. {{dablink}} was being used to convey facts that should be in the body of the article. If a discussion of allopathic/osteopathic medicine belongs here, it should be mentioned somewhere in the lead or body of the article - not in a redirection template.
  3. The link to alternative medicine was not placed in a template, so I added {{otheruses4}} to properly redirect readers without needing to define any words. I intentionally did not link to the M.D. and D.O. articles here. Disambiguations and redirections should not have an excess of links - they should only link to the intended targets of the reason the template was added.
  4. I removed the 5 references to allopathic being an appropriate word to use. There should never need to be references for redirection links. Facts always need to be referenced, but I don't think usage of a word should have to be referenced. This is why there are manuals of style.

I don't want to engage in the debate here, but maybe User:Hopping and User:Antelan would attempt to co-create a manual of style for proper usages of osteopathic and allopathic. It could be added to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (medicine-related articles) when completed. I'd probably help out too, but I do not want to debate the matter. --Scott Alter 17:11, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Thank you all for your responses and contributions. If you are interested in participating in a discussion that Hopping and I are having about when it is necessary to use allopathic and osteopathic vs M.D. and D.O., please feel free to join [1] on my talk page; we'll welcome all comers. Antelan talk 21:50, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

General Response[edit]

I wanted to respond to Nathanaver concern and state a general position on this issue, so others can understand the principles behind my edits. These are all my personal opinions. These are not necessarily ideas that should be included in a Wikipedia article. I present them since I feel some authors question my motives, or adduce my edits as evidence for an agenda or a significant COI. I am hoping that by disclosing these ideas, I will promote a more productive process for everyone, and improve the quality of these articles in general.

  1. The fact that US medical education has two parallel yet distinct "universes" (MD & DO) is an oddity.
  2. The actual, practical differences between allopathic and osteopathic are very minor, as evidences by large studies such as this one. So minor, in my opinion, as to almost be trivial. I say almost trivial, since there are some lingering consequences of this split. I find those remaining differences to be highly encyclopedic.
  3. Understanding these differences, especially for anyone outside of US medicine, is difficult. The relevant issues are often subtle or complex, as well as mutable in many cases. Further obfuscating the issue are commonly held beliefs of popular culture, such as the letters "MD" being synonymous with physician, leading to the confusing labeling of DOs as MDs (as demonstrated here). This situation exists because of a general lack of familiarity with the term "osteopathic" and an almost total ignorance of the term "allopathic." Also, though there are differences in education and training, the endpoint of these two pathways is virtually identical. For most people, i.e. non-physicians, this endpoint is all they have knowledge of.
  4. I have no interest in promoting osteopathic medicine as some superior kind of medicine. My personal opinion is that this idea that osteopathic physicians "treat the whole patient" is utter nonsense, though I am aware that others would disagree with me. I have made a point of including some rather harsh criticism (as here) as well as including authors and studies that suggest that the significance of the uniqueness of osteopathic medicine is exaggerated (as here) and here).
  5. There are a limited number of situations in which the word allopathic is needed. In these limited situations it is very necessary. There is a reason why when the National Residency Matching Program releases its yearly report on Match results for all participants in the match, they use the word "allopathic" in their first chart (see Chart 1.) There is a reason why when the AAMC director gives testimony to congress about the status of medical education in the United States in 2007, he uses the word allopathic 21 times. There is a reason why the president of the AAMC uses the term allopathic in a letter describing the status of medical education in the U.S.. There is a reason why the US dept of labor uses the term allopathic on its lead page describing the occupations physician and surgeon. Likewise there is a reason why countless on authors and publications use the allopathic to describe one part of the US medical education system, as shown here, here, and here.
  6. User Antelan has asked me very pointedly what that reason is, why authors and organizations use the term allopathic in these situations, versus some other descriptive term. That is a perfectly legitimate question, which I think is extraordinarily difficult to answer concisely and satisfactorily. Any reason I give would be speculation on my part, as I don't know why this term is used over some other term. I would posit that authors and speakers on the subject of medical education feel that this term is the most descriptive, best possible word to use in distinguishing the allopathic medical universe from the parallel yet distinct osteopathic one right beside it.
  7. For the sake of clarity, I will identify where, in my opinion. In general, one needs the term when describing an entity which is duplicated in both the allopathic and osteopathic world.

I may be leaving something out, but I think these are the most important ones. I hope that at the very least, this clarifies where I am coming from, and encourages a spirit of cooperation in these articles. I would really prefer a positive climate for everyone. User:Hopping T 20:24, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Naturopathic medical school[edit]

Hi everybody, I'm a student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. It's one of 4 accredited naturopathic medical schools in the United States, and graduates can sit for licensing exams which allows them to practice as a physician in various US jurisdictions. I think the naturopathic medical schools should be mentioned in this entry--right now viewers are just directed to the alternative medicine entry, which is defined on the page as "practices are based on unscientific belief systems or philosophies." Just to be clear, naturopathic medical schools require the same general set of undergraduate prerequisites that allopathic and osteopathic medical schools do, and naturopathy students take the same general set of preclinical didactic courses. There are big differences, for example ND students have 4 years of didactic education, some of which is concurrent with their clinical education, and they are not required to complete a residency before practicing as physicians, but these are differences that should be expounded somewhere; if not on this page, then on a "Naturopathic medical school" page that this page links to. I'd love to hear anyone's comments before I make any changes. Thanks! Lamaybe (talk) 21:41, 20 May 2008 (UTC)


This term is poorly understood, and has several meanings, including derogatory ones. I have replaced the term with MD or other, well understood and unambiguous, words where appropriate. I had no expectation that this would be controversial, and I'm sure they are good changes that the community will approve of. -- (talk) 20:28, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

No need for undergrad degree?[edit]

there is a part of this text that says there are extreme exceptions in which a person does not need an undergrad degree to enter medical school, can anyone elaborate? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:24, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, very simply the school can chose to accept an applicant without an undergraduate degree. It isn't a legal issue but one of policy with an individual school. There has been a minor elaboration in the article.--MartinezMD (talk) 03:13, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

More on Grading/Ranking[edit]

When I was in school (my friends at other schools too) I was told they did not officially rank our performance (20 years ago). As a chief resident I was surprised later, when selecting candidates for our residency, to find that to be completely false. The Dean's letter included a coded summary at the ended such as "We recommend this candidate..." = marginal performance vs "We highly recommend this candidate..." = above average. Most letter packets I saw included a separate page that included what the wording meant - top 5%, top 20%, bottom 50% etc. If this practice still exists, I would like to include it. Anyone have a source? --MartinezMD (talk) 03:23, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Are these true?[edit]

  • Is it true that if a med school student leaves med school for awhile, he/she cannot re-enter? Is it like a fail?
  • Is it true that a med school student must get straight A's all the time, or else fail/be expelled?
  • Is it true that med students can't take tests over again?
  • Is it true that, in the USA, most hospitals are private, and government hospitals have been taken over by private univerities?
  • Is it nearly impossible for whites to become doctors in the U.S. because of race quotas? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:43, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

The reentry and grading policy is individual to each school. I had a classmate that needed time off for surgery and returned the following year. For the hospitals, I assume that is the case but don't have the source. For the last question I hope you aren't trying to be stir up trouble. For a long time white men made up almost the entirety of the students in this country. Whites are still the large majority but the male/female ratio is close to even. Try a Google search for the stats. Unless you have a good source for these concerns, I don't see how they should pertain to the article. --MartinezMD (talk) 12:42, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Current Affairs in Medical Education[edit]

I just got back from the annual AAMC convention on medical education and was quite impressed with the level of change going on. There are many ways that technology has been changing the way we deliver medical education, but not a lot of that has made it into these pages. Any suggestions for what level of detail I should add?

Also, I updated both articles regarding the level of medical student indebtedness. It is interesting that most other countries do not finance medical education with personal debt. I also think that lots of evidence suggests that the level of indebtedness has far-reaching implications from primary care to the abuses of fee for service. I appreciate any input in this area as well.Chicagolive (talk) 23:10, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Exactly, If the US is going to implement a public health care system "like other nations" ... then they need to equally implement a medical education system similar to those nations as well. (you can't have one without the other.. its not fair). Tuition for medical school needs to be subsidized directly by the government (medical school in Europe for european students is almost free) and there needs to be a government run malpractice insurance policy available to doctors. You can't continue to expect US doctors to pay hundreds of thousands dollars for student loans and malpractice insurance especially in a public health system. ... its ridiculous and not sustainable. Jwri7474 (talk) 06:01, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Medical school tuition is already heavily subsidized by the government. Medicare/Medicaid pays academic health centers under the title of GME financing. NIH funding (part govt. and part the remainder of the Howard Hughes fortune) is another large subsidy. Not to mention the tax breaks for being a 501 (c) 3 non-profit institution that has billion dollar patient care and research revenues.

We cannot depend on the government for any more money. It is far more important to reorganize academic health centers to provide medical education at a lower cost. Would it be helpful to have an explanation of the financing in the main articles?Chicagolive (talk) 17:52, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

sure! Regardless of how it's reorganized... The massive amount of student debt that medical graduates are expected to go into needs to be reduced. If malpractice continues to get more expensive and as tuition reaches a point of not being able to pay off with a career as am American doctor.. It will greatly affect our healthcare system with either doctors retiring and going into other fields or they will move overseas to get a better job opportunity. Jwri7474 (talk) 03:08, 11 November 2009 (UTC)


Podiatry should not be included in this page. The article is about medical school in the United States. As such, it should include only schools that teach medicine. In the United States, this refers to schools that train physicians that go on to practice any number of specialties: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, surgery, pathology, orthopedics, neurology, etc. While the training at podiatric medical schools is vigorous, and includes many of the same subjects as conventional medical schools (anatomy, pathology, biochemistry, etc), podiatrists do not practice any of those specialties. The schools are different, the licensing and accreditation are different, and the scope of practice is limited to the foot. It's a respectable profession, but podiatric schools are not the same as medical schools. Perhaps it deserves its own page, much like veterinary medical schools have their own page. Anyone else have thoughts on this? Rytyho usa (talk) 18:37, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Agree. There already exists Podiatric medical school with a section for the United States. Currently, that is the best place for this content. If that section is expanded, it could be split to Podiatric medical school in the United States. --Scott Alter (talk) 05:39, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Podiatry should be included in this page. There have been too many false conceptions about podiatry training here, which I can understand because the field was very different 10 years ago; so please, let me clear some things up.

An argument against the mention of D.P.Ms in this article stated, “Podiatrists are not trained in the full scope of medicine”. This is the farthest thing from the truth and I would implore anyone who disagrees with this assessment to research and see for themselves just how todays podiatrists are actually trained, I’m sure its different from what you’re used to. Today’s podiatry students study family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, surgery, pathology, orthopedics, neurology, psychiatry ect. With the exception of surgery, the scope of practice taught is beyond the lower extremity, i.e. full scope. Clinical rotations (with the only exception being obstetrics) in all of these fields are required as well (again, scope is beyond the lower extremity).

To make a good comparison, training in Osteopathic medicine is much like training in Allopathic medicine with the addition of courses in osteopathic manipulation. Today’s podiatry schools operate under a very similar protocol. Traditional allopathic curriculum is taught with the addition of courses that focus on the lower extremity. (Podiatrists specialize in the entire lower extremity, and have full surgical licensure up to the knee, not just the foot). Outside of surgery, Podiatrists have full practicing and prescribing rights. You wouldn’t go to a hand surgeon because you have a urinary tract infection, but theoretically you could much in the same way that you could see a podiatrist for this reason if it was somehow affecting the lower extremity. I know that’s a hard pill for some of you to swallow, but those are facts. It took a while for osteopaths to gain acceptance in the medical community and this will take some work as well. All of this evidence is publically verifiable, not my opinion. I’m surprised to see much of the information you can find on the internet needs to be updated still, but if you’re curious enough to know contact a podiatry school and ask about the curriculum. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:19, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

The key question here is: "is podiatry school the same as, and also known as medical school?" If the term "medical school" is a common synonym and accepted name of the school that future podiatrists attend, then it might be appropriate here. Additionally, regardless of the name of the article, is the topic of the article the same? Even if podiatry school was the exact same thing as medical school, none of the content of this article applies to podiatry school (in which case, it would be appropriate to be at a separate title, but different article with disambiguating term). All of the content in every specific section in this article (History, Admissions, Curriculum, Grading, Accreditation, Indebtedness of medical graduates, Indebtedness relief for medical graduates, Academic health centers) has specific content relevant to MD/DO schools. So adding podiatry in the lead is still not appropriate - as the content of the article does not fit this.
I understand that you want to clear the misconceptions regarding podiatry education. Simply inserting DPM into this article does nothing in this regard, and if anything, causes more confusion. The medical school articles do nothing to discourage, diminish, or provide false conceptions about podiatry. As I mentioned previously, the best place to start is at Podiatric medical school. Or, start a new article at Podiatric medical school in the United States.
Please do not add podiatry back to this article without obtaining consensus here. You have now been reverted by 4 separate editors. Make sure you are aware of Wikipedia:Edit warring, and specifically WP:3RR. You are very close to getting yourself blocked. --Scott Alter (talk) 20:19, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Podiatry school is NOT the same as medical school. Including it in this article would only cause confusion. Yes, podiatry students receive some training in other specialties, but that is not the same as being fully trained in the full scope of medicine. An undergraduate student can take sociology 101, but that does not make them a sociologist. Again, podiatrists are specialists that are trained for the surgical and medical treatment of the foot. There is a reason that they do not perform open heart surgery, delivery babies, or manage stroke patients. Yes, a podiatrist could theoretically treat a urinary tract infection, if it were somehow affecting the lower extremity. They are lower extremity doctors. Yes, the scope of osteopathic medicine has changed. However, the question is where things stand now. If and when podiatry develops into a full medical and surgical practice, then it will be appropriately included in this article, but not before then. Rytyho usa (talk) 20:57, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Scott Alter, to address your point on synonyms… I have heard several medical students and faculty alike refer to podiatry school as medical school, and even podiatry students as medical students. Perhaps the terms have become more synonymous than you’re aware.

You do make a point about adding podiatry to the lead and only the lead. I agree it doesn’t do much in the way of contributing to the article. I can assure you that the remaining relevant fields will be populated as soon as possible. I am aware of Wikipedia’s WP:3RR and will be reverting the article back to include Podiatry in 24 hours. Should I be banned or not is irrelevant, I’ve got hundreds of AMPA members and current students who will continue to make the necessary revisions. Consensus on the Internet is largely a fallacy and until a state of parity is realized we will push for this page to include podiatry.

Rytyho usa, you continue to insist that podiatrists are not trained in the full scope of medicine and as such attend schools that are not considered medical schools. You’ve yet to cite a specific example that demonstrates the inadequacies of podiatry school that disqualify it from your assumed criteria for “medical school”. This forces me to assume you are ignorant to the field and that your apprehension stems from a superiority complex. Kindly do a little research before reverting the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:01, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

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