Opinion: Differences between osteopathic, allopathic derms grows "increasingly obscure'

Mar 01, 2008, 5:00am

Dear Editor: I read with interest John Jesitus' December article, "M.D., D.O. Disparity," which highlighted osteopathic and allopathic dermatology education, and how differences between the two groups have become less obvious since the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) first recognized the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) as a subspecialty college in 1957.

Key Points

Dear Editor:

I read with interest John Jesitus' December article, "M.D., D.O. Disparity," which highlighted osteopathic and allopathic dermatology education, and how differences between the two groups have become less obvious since the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) first recognized the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) as a subspecialty college in 1957.

In the fifty-year period since, the AOCD has experienced tremendous growth in terms of the number of dermatology residencies and residents graduating from those programs.

The piece briefly compared and contrasted residency education and board certification, but did not provide current examples of the successful integration of osteopathic and allopathic dermatology education.

University Hospitals/Case Medical Center's Dermatology program, chaired by Kevin Cooper, M.D., is one such example.

Under Dr. Cooper's leadership, the residency has grown to include two osteopathic and four to five allopathic residents per year, for a total of twenty residents.

Full-time faculty, including Assistant Professor and Director of Pediatric Dermatology Joan Tamburro, D.O., effectively integrate academic and clinical dermatology residency training.

Osteopathic residents train side by side with allopathic residents and benefit from the resources an academic institution has to offer.

Of note, an osteopathic resident has been chosen to be one of the chief residents in three of the last four years.

Lastly, in addition to an annual practice examination administered by the AOCD, osteopathic residents at this program also participate in the American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD) in-service examination.

The foregoing example further illustrates the line between osteopathic and allopathic dermatology education is becoming increasingly obscure.

No two dermatology residencies are exactly alike in terms of education and the residents that fill the positions year after year.

Fortunately, the matriculating osteopathic and allopathic residents are equally well- trained, providing a strong educational foundation for years to come.

Best regards,

William Kelly DeHart, D.O.
Academic Chief Resident, PGY-4
Department of Dermatology
University Hospitals/Case Medical Center
11100 Euclid Avenue, Lakeside 3500
Cleveland, OH 44106
kelly.dehart@uhhospitals.org