The number of DOs is on the rise—and it's projected to keep climbing.
Each year, the AOA crunches the numbers to bring you the Osteopathic Medical Profession (OMP) Report—an annual snapshot of the profession’s growth and demographics. In addition to adding more than 6,000 new osteopathic physicians (DOs) to the work force in 2017, the profession recorded an 85% increase in osteopathic medical students since 2007. Read on for the details.
Osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest-growing health care professions in the country. Over the past 30 years, the number of DOs practicing in the U.S. has more than tripled.
Over the past decade, the profession has experienced a 68% increase in the total number of DOs.
✟ Source: AOA Physician Masterfile
* Source: AACOM Fall 2017 Preliminary Enrollment Report (includes 2017 graduates)
More aspiring physicians are choosing osteopathic medicine than ever before, leading to an increasingly youthful profession. In 2017, more than half of all DOs were age 45 or younger.
The number of female DOs also continues to trend upward each year. While roughly 41% of DOs are women, female physicians make up 47% of the DO population under age 45.
The osteopathic medical profession has a long tradition of providing care where patients lack doctors. Following this trend, more than half of this year’s new osteopathic medical residents will embark on careers in primary care specialties.
While the osteopathic profession remains rooted in primary care, the number of DO specialists has increased over the last 30 years. In 2017, roughly 44% of DOs practiced in non-primary care specialties, helping meet the growing demand for specialists in surgery and obstetrics and gynecology.
DOs provide care in all 50 states—and they tend to practice in the communities where they complete their education and training. Providing instruction at 49 teaching locations in 32 states, colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) are helping underserved regions where doctors are in short supply.
One in four medical students in the U.S. attends an osteopathic medical school, with enrollment increasing approximately 25% every five years. If this trend continues, DOs are projected to represent more than 20% of practicing physicians by 2030.
After graduating from osteopathic medical school, DOs complete internships, residencies and fellowships that prepare them to become licensed and board-certified physicians. Trainees in osteopathic-focused residency programs demonstrate achievement of common competencies based on the unique principles and practices of osteopathic medicine.