News | Published June 28, 2012 | Written by Kerry Anne Whitelock, DO

What does DO stand for?

This is a question that patients have asked me many times during my medical career. Each time, I explain that DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, which then leads to a discussion about the definition of osteopathic medicine. I tell people that osteopathic medicine focuses on a "whole-person" approach to health, rather than just treating specific symptoms. The systems that make up the body are all connected - and the musculoskeletal system, in particular, can influence the health and well-being of the rest of the body. In order to better understand musculoskeletal dysfunctions, DOs receive additional training in this area of expertise.

DOs practice a preventive approach to medicine, encouraging their patients to develop attitudes and lifestyles that strengthen the body and its defenses against the onset of disease.

In terms of education, DOs complete four years of medical school, a residency and even a fellowship in their chosen area of expertise and must also score well on state and national board exams. DOs can practice in any medical specialty.

As an internal medicine physician at Mount Nittany Physician Group, I provide primary medical care for adults, patients aged 18 and older. I manage patients' overall medical care by performing regular health maintenance examinations and health screening tests, as well as by treating common illnesses and chronic conditions.

All physicians - whether they are a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine - work together to accomplish a shared goal: to provide patients with quality medical care. For more information about osteopathic medicine, visit Mount Nittany Health's website at, or check out the American Osteopathic Association's website at