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Medical Careers

DO vs MD: A Curated List of the Best Online Explanatory Videos to Help You Decide

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About Anne Marie

Anne Marie Conrad is a 2021 graduate of Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts with degrees in Global Studies and Spanish along with a certificate in Medical Humanities. She has explored her passion for global healthcare by doing undergraduate research on best practices for provision of healthcare across language and cultural barriers. Anne Marie was an Atlantis Fellow to Valladolid, Spain during the Summer of 2019.

If you, like me, are close to the medical school application process, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the MD vs DO debate and may be struggling to decide which application to submit. I was first faced with this decision when discussing applications with the other participants on my Atlantis program. Since we were all in different places in our pre-med journey, some had just decided to be pre-health while others had taken the MCAT and were getting ready to apply. After our discussion, I watched countless videos and read just as many articles. I’ve put together the two videos that contain the most objective and relevant information in an easy-to-digest format as well as a one from each the MD and the DO perspective. 

First up, we have MD vs DO: Which is Better? by Shemmassian Academic Consulting 

Shirag Shemmassian, PhD, is a medical school admissions expert who discusses the differences between the two degrees and suggests potential considerations for applicants. He explains the difference in philosophies of allopathic and osteopathic medicine and discusses osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) as an additional module undertaken by DO students. Viewers are presented with matriculant data to assist in their understanding. This video also includes a detailed and easy-to-understand explanation of the residency merger and what it means for both MD and DO students. He also addresses questions of prestige and income. Finally, Dr. Shemmassian recommends students make their decision based on three things: 1) preferred training modality, 2) career goals, and 3) personal statistics (GPA and MCAT scores). This video is also accompanied by an even more detailed blog post addressing everything in the video and more. 

If you’re looking for another objective perspective that includes more data to support its claims, this next video is for you: DO vs MD: Which is Better? by BeMo Academic Consulting. 

Nadine Evans, an Admissions Associate at BeMo Academic Consulting, gives a very structured overview of differences applicants should consider. She outlines admission statistics, examinations, schooling, tuition, residency, and salary. While much of the information presented in this video also appears in that of Shemmassian Academic Consulting, this one includes specific data comparisons on matriculant stats, residency matching, tuition, and salaries. Evans ultimately suggests that, as neither MD nor DO is better or worse than the other, students consider the respective philosophical approaches as a way to customize their medical education to their own learning style. Bonus: accompanying blog post with helpful infographics! 

If, after these information-filled videos, you’re wanting to hear from people who have actually gone through each of these programs, be sure to tune into these next two: 

MD vs DO: Which Should YOU Choose? Allopathic or Osteopathic? by Medical School Headquarters 

This video is hosted by Ryan Gray, MD. His is not an objective point of view, but this video does deliver the benefit of learning from Dr. Gray’s own personal experience. He discusses what he calls the “myth” of limitations of the DO degree. Dr. Gray also addresses the residency merger and how it may affect DO students specifically. Dr. Gray suggests that much more important than which degree you earn is you, the student earning it. He recommends that your ultimate deciding factor should be to go where you can see yourself thriving, whether that be an MD or a DO program. 

Finally, I’ve also included a video giving the perspective of a DO: The Difference Between and M.D. and D.O. by Piedmont Healthcare. 

This final video is hosted by Brian Krachman, DO and is accompanied by an edition of Piedmont Healthcare’s Living Better Newsletter. In it, Dr. Krachman tells the viewers what he and his DO colleagues are able to do as physicians. He also discusses the additional classes he’s taken as part of his osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) training. He discusses the trend of DO physicians to work in primary care and different specialties that emphasize patients as people. 

As a pre-med student at Purdue University, a very STEM-focused school, most of my pre-med peers were exclusively looking at MD programs. However, because of my background as a liberal arts student interested in how different healthcare systems across geographical locations and cultures treat patients as people, I was also considering DO schools. I have tailored my undergraduate education to expose me to a variety of global experiences that have shown me people receiving healthcare in different contexts: a medical brigade with Purdue’s Timmy Global Health chapter, shadowing abroad in an Atlantis program, and public health research on how women around the world experience healthcare differently. I am interested in treating patients as people  rather than as a collection of symptoms. For this reason, I am considering DO schools as well as MD programs in my medical school search.

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Two Atlantis alumni admitted to Top 5 MD programs wrote our widely read medical school admissions guidebook guidebook — download yours.

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Lauren Cox

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Atlantis is the leader in pre-health shadowing and clinical experience, offering short-term programs (1-10 weeks) over academic breaks for U.S. pre-health undergraduates. Medical schools want 3 things: (1)healthcare exposure, (2)GPA/MCAT, and (3)certain competencies. Atlantis gives you a great version of (1), frees you to focus on (2), and cultivates/shows (3) to medical school admissions committees.

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Cover of the Medical School Admissions Guide.
Two Atlantis alumni admitted to Top 5 MD programs wrote our widely read medical school admissions guidebook — download yours.