Bioethics Blogs

The D.O. Is in Now

[The New York Times]

The old Blumstein’s department store sits across 125th Street from the legendary Apollo Theater. It’s something of a Harlem landmark, where “don’t buy where you can’t work” protests led to the hiring of African-Americans as the first salesclerks in 1934 and where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was stabbed by a mentally unstable woman during a book signing in 1958. Now a row of colorful clothing and jewelry stores lines the ground floor. But the rest of the building has been gutted and fitted with lecture halls, classrooms, laboratories and a library to house the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Harlem is a fitting location for Touro’s new medical school. Many osteopathic schools have an added mission: to dispatch doctors to poorer neighborhoods and towns most in need of medical care.

“The island of Manhattan has lots of doctors, but not here in Harlem,” said Dr. Robert B. Goldberg, dean of the college, which taught its first class in 2007.

Inside, Touro seems indistinguishable from a conventional medical school — what doctors of osteopathic medicine, or D.O.s, call allopathic, a term that some M.D.s aren’t much fond of. A walk through the corridors finds students practicing skills on mannequins hard-wired with faulty hearts. They dissect cadavers. They bend over lab tables, working with professors on their research. And, unlike their allopathic counterparts, they spend roughly five hours a week being instructed in the century-old techniques of osteopathic medicine, manipulating the spine, muscles and bones in diagnosis and treatment.

In one classroom, several students lay flat on examining tables while classmates, under the guidance of Dr.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.