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Explanation of MD, DO and PA

Physician Assistant (PA-C)

Certified PAs are licensed and certified health care professionals who practice medicine in partnership with doctors and bring a breadth of knowledge and skills to patient care. PAs work with doctors as a integral part of the health care team. PAs have a doctor available to consult with when needed and the doctor stays informed about the care you are receiving.

A physician assistant (or PA) is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. Most programs are approximately 26 months (3 academic years) and require the same prerequisite courses as medical schools. Most programs also require students to have about three years of healthcare training and experience.

So why have a PA?

The physician-PA team is an effective approach to the delivery of health care; it decreases waiting time, increases your time with the health care provider and help you and your child get the care and attention you need and deserve.
When we bring a certified PA onto our team, we trust them with the most important thing in our practice – your child’s care.

Doctor of Osteopathy (DO)

Many doctors hold a Doctor of Osteopathy or DO degree. The requirements for a DO are similar to those of an MD and include completing four years of medical school including classroom work and rotations with patients. They are also licensed by the state after passing the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination.

Historically, they differed from MD’s in that they use a more holistic approach to treatment. While an MD would often treat the injury or symptoms, DO’s would attempt to treat the underlying causes of disease. DO’s place emphasis on treating and manipulating the musculoskeletal system to achieve optimum health.

Today, differences are much less clear as DOs and MDs complete the same residency training, in our case 3 years of residency in Pediatrics. Our DOs don’t do any manipulation of the musculoskeletal system and both are Board Certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Medical Doctor(MD)

Most doctors you encounter will probably have a Medical Doctor or MD degree. These doctors have attended at least four years of medical school including two years of classroom and laboratory training in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology. During the final two years, they worked with patients under the supervision of a licensed doctor in a variety of specialties. These doctors have also been licensed by the state after passing the Medical Licensing Examination.

Board Certification

Both MD’s and DO’s may choose to specialize and become board certified. The certification process involves a residency program lasting three to eight years and an additional examination. Doctors become certified in specialties such as surgery, emergency medicine or pediatrics. For many conditions or procedures, you may need to visit a specialist.

All of our Pediatricians are Board Certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics, so they completed 3 years of training in different Pediatric settings.