What is a DO?


A DO is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and is trained to see the person, not the patient.  Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, known as DOs, are graduates of medical schools but continued their training in Osteopathic Medicine. DOs are trained to listen and communicate with their patients. They see the whole you and how your body works.

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine are fully licensed physicians who practice in every area of medicine. There are more than 100,000 DOs in the United States, and they are trained to contemplate the person as a whole prior to assessing each person as a patient.

At Rocky Vista Health Center, our DO candidates are graduates of some of the top medical schools in the country and are attending Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, completing their training and education to become Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine. Our DO candidates are also a part of our Residency teaching programs.
DOs receive special training in the musculoskeletal system, our body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles, and bones. By combining this knowledge with the latest advances in medical technology, they offer patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.
Osteopathic physicians focus on prevention, concentrating on how a patient’s lifestyle and environment can impact their overall well-being. DOs strive to help their patients truly be healthy in mind, body and spirit — not just free of symptoms.

What is the difference between a DO and an MD?

There are two kinds of practicing physicians in the United States: allopathic physicians (MD's) and osteopathic physicians (DO's). 

If you’re like most people, you’ve been going to physicians ever since you were born, but you were unaware that some or all of them could have been osteopathic physicians, also known as DOs. 

Both MDs and DOs:


  • Are fully licensed physicians, trained in diagnosing and treating illnesses and disorders, and in providing preventive care.

  • Completed four years of basic medical education.

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

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

  • Can choose to practice any specialty of medicine, such as family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery to ophthalmology.

  • Must pass comparable or the same examinations to obtain state licenses.

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