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Profession on the rise

2023 OMP Report tracks growth & expansion of osteopathic medicine

The number of osteopathic physicians in the U.S. has increased by more than 30% in the past 5 years.

The AOA’s Osteopathic Medical Profession (OMP) Report provides an annual update on the expansion and growth within the osteopathic medical profession. Read on for a summary of current demographics and trends related to the practice of osteopathic medicine in 2023.

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For the past 131 years, the osteopathic medical profession has provided full-spectrum care for millions of patients seeking a unique approach to managing their health—one that considers the whole person: body, mind and spirit. The profession was founded in the late 1800s by frontier physician Andrew Taylor Still, DO, MD, based on the philosophy that harmony between the body’s structure and function is essential to achieving optimal health. Today, this philosophy continues to guide all aspects of medical education and training for the nation’s workforce of osteopathic physicians (DOs).

What began as a small profession with a distinctive philosophy has grown to become a critical component of the nation’s health care system. In 2023, the total number of osteopathic physicians in the U.S. reached almost 149,000—a 30% increase over the past five years. Over the past three decades, the total number of DOs and osteopathic medical students has more than quadrupled to reach 186,871 in 2023. Currently representing more than 11% of all physicians and 25% of all medical students in the U.S., the osteopathic medical profession is positioned to continue growing exponentially.

Era of growth

The osteopathic medical profession added more than 7,300 DOs to the physician workforce in 2022. Moreover, the pipeline of future DOs poised to enter the profession reached an all-time high, with approximately 36,500 osteopathic medical students expected to matriculate during the 2022-23 academic year. Over the last decade, the number of students attending osteopathic medical school has grown by 77%, helping lead to an overall 81% increase in the total number of DOs and osteopathic medical students in the U.S.

Total DOs & Students


DOs in the U.S.


Source: All living DOs, including an estimated 7,859 osteopathic physicians who graduated in 2023, according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. Source: AOA Physician Masterfile, May 2023. **Includes all estimated osteopathic medical students expected to matriculate in the 2023-24 academic year. Source: Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.

Physicians on the front lines

Though DOs bring their distinctive approach to every field and specialty across the landscape of medicine, the osteopathic profession plays a major role in meeting the nation's primary care workforce needs. In 2023, more than half of the nation’s DOs practice in the primary care specialties of family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. The majority of these physicians—62%—are under age 45, demonstrating that primary care remains a desirable specialty for early-career physicians entering the workforce.

of DOs practice in primary care

57 %

of DOs practice in other specialties

43 %

Source: AOA Physician Masterfile, May 2023. Based on 103,128 physicians who reported specialty; 4,294 with unknown specialty not included. *Includes physicians who practice osteopathic neuromuculoskeletal medicine (ONMM)

Snapshot of the profession

As the osteopathic profession continues to grow and evolve, the AOA actively tracks demographic and practice trends among DOs and osteopathic medical students. In recent years, the increased number of medical students pursuing osteopathic medicine has led to an increase in the percentage of DOs under age 45. In 2023, approximately 86,110 DOs fall into this category, representing 68% of all osteopathic physicians in active practice.

The number of women practicing osteopathic medicine increased in 2023. Women currently represent 44% of all DOs in active practice. Approximately 47% of DOs under age 45 in active practice are female. According to data published by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the number of female DOs graduating from osteopathic medical schools increased by almost 10% in 2022. Similarly, the number of graduates from underrepresented racial and
ethnic minority groups increased by nearly 10%.

of active practice DOs are under 45

68 %

of active practice DOs under 45 are female

47 %

Source: AOA Physician Masterfile, May 2023.

Future of the profession

More medical students than ever before are choosing to pursue careers in osteopathic medicine. During the 2023-24 academic year, the AOA’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) will accredit 40 colleges of osteopathic medicine offering instruction at 65 locations to more than 38,000 medical students.

Following medical school, DOs complete internships, residencies and fellowships, which can last between 3-8 years and prepare them to practice a specialty of their choosing. Each year, fourth-year osteopathic medical students and DOs seeking graduate medical education placements participate in the NRMP Match to secure residency positions at training institutions across the country.

Breaking records from all previous matches, the 2023 Match placed 7,132 osteopathic medical students and past DO graduates into residency positions in 37 specialties. Outside of the NRMP Match, additional DO candidates secured residencies through NRMP's SOAP, the San Francisco and Urology matches, and the Military Match, leading to a final total placement rate of 99.5% for DO seniors.

osteopathic medical students


colleges in 65 locations


Source: National Resident Matching Program; American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

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