Re: Cardiologist question - m.d. or d.o.
Both programs (MD,DO) are typically 4 years and generally divided into 2 years of traditional science courses and 2 years of clinical rotation.
The 2 disciplines differ somewhat in the approach to treatment. The DO (Doctor of Osteopathic medicine) believes in less invasive alternatives to traditional medicine. Fundamentally, the bias is toward using remedies that produce effects upon the body differing from those produced upon the body.
The MD is from the school of thought that is homeopathic and their approach is treating the totality of signs and symptoms. This is the history of the two schools of thought and date back to the 17th century. Today there is much overlap in practice and probably not much difference between the two, but there are some philosophical differences:
D.O. programs concentrate more effort on primary care, training strong, general physicians before specialists. They emphasize preventative care and a holistic approach to patient care, treating the whole person, not just symptoms;
D.O. programs focus extra attention on musculo-skeletal health and train students in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, a unique, hands-on approach to diagnosis and treatment;
M.D.s do their clinical rotations in a teaching hospital affiliated with their medical school while D.O.s do their clinical rotations in community hospitals and local doctor's offices;
D.O.s must pass the COMLEX board exam to be licensed; in some cases, D.O.s also take the USMLE board exam if they choose to compete for some allopathic residency program;
D.O.s have the option of pursuing an osteopathic residency program or applying for a residency through the National Residency Match Program ("The Match") used by allopathic physicians...
You may want to interview each Doctor before making a selection!