Letters to the Editor  |   September 2004
DO Notes Difference Between Residency Programs
Author Affiliations
  • Kevin L. Hornbeck, RPH, DO
    Vandalia, Ohio
Article Information
Medical Education / Graduate Medical Education
Letters to the Editor   |   September 2004
DO Notes Difference Between Residency Programs
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 2004, Vol. 104, 367-368. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2004.104.9.367
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 2004, Vol. 104, 367-368. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2004.104.9.367
To the Editor:  
I would like to comment on the letter by Adam B. Smith, MSIV, evaluating the rationale of the osteopathic internship and the response by Michael I. Opipari, DO (J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2004;104:230, 231, respectively). My first thought was that neither author is aware of what he does not know. 
As a fourth-year osteopathic medical student, I completed rotations in allopathic residency programs affiliated with my school. I followed that with rotations in osteopathic residency programs affiliated with osteopathic medical schools. I can say, without reservation, that a significant difference exists. The allopathic rotations' morning report and grand rounds were always taught by an attending, whereas osteopathic rotations were taught by interns, second- or third-year residents, or, occasionally, an attending. 
By the time I decided I wanted to do an allopathic residency in internal medicine, it was too late to apply for the match. Therefore, I ended up completing a rotating internship in an osteopathic medical institution. When I applied to the allopathic residency program the following year, I inquired as to whether my first year in an osteopathic medical institution would count toward the residency. As I was told that it would not, I had to decide whether to complete an internal medicine residency program at an osteopathic medical institution or repeat my first year in an allopathic residency program. I did the latter. 
It is my experience that there is a marked difference between postgraduate education in an osteopathic residency program and an allopathic residency program. Having been on both sides of the fence, I feel qualified to know the difference. 
If there is a question among osteopathic physicians as to how well the profession is doing, one need only look at the number of residents opting for an allopathic residency. When osteopathic medical students ask me what they should do about their training, I tell them to decide which is the best training possible by evaluating both programs wherever they are going, doing both rotations at the chosen hospital, and choosing their direction based on the quality of the training received. Every one of my students has taken my advice; most of them opted for allopathic residencies. This is the same advice I would offer Adam Smith. 
My response to Dr Opipari is that osteopathic medical students truly know their roots but must decide where they will obtain the best training. Although it is impressive that a system of osteopathic residency programs has been in place for more than 70 years, one cannot assume there is no need for improvement.