For GME Leaders Osteopathic Recognition

Osteopathic Recognition

The DO Difference

Take your program to the next level and #GetRecognized

Nurture the next generation of osteopathically-trained physicians by achieving Osteopathic Recognition for your residency program.

ACGME Osteopathic Recognition demonstrates a commitment to teaching Osteopathic Principles and Practice in the clinical learning environment. If a program is training DO residents, the AOA believes Osteopathic Recognition is a designation all program should consider.

Osteopathic Recognition allows programs to strengthen their applicant pool in accordance with their mission and aims. It also provides a learning environment that advances the residents’ ability to provide high quality, holistic patient care.

New Resources to Guide Your OR Application

The AOA is committed to increasing the number of programs with Osteopathic Recognition. To help advance this goal, the AOA is developing resources to assist programs with the OR application process.

  • AOA Osteopathic Recognition Support Tool
    This document walks your program through the Osteopathic Recognition application to help you focus your responses and highlight existing resources. This tool can be used by both programs working on their application, as well as programs with initial recognition preparing for the first recognition site visit.
  • Osteopathic Recognition Checklist
    This document is structured to assist coordinators, designated institutional officials and others in reviewing a program’s Osteopathic Recognition application for completeness.

In addition to the above documents, the AOA has dedicated funds to providing free application assistance and connecting you with an experienced OR program to help assist with your application and preparation for site visits. Contact us at for more information.

Step 1: Getting started

Why should programs apply for OR?

Osteopathic Recognition is a status available to all ACGME-accredited programs to demonstrate that their program incorporates osteopathic principles and practice into the clinical learning environment. Osteopathic Recognition signifies a commitment to teach osteopathic principles, formally continuing this emphasis into graduate medical education. Osteopathic distinctiveness can only be preserved and reinforced when done in a deliberate and focused manner.

By achieving Osteopathic Recognition, training programs help ensure the unique principles and practice of osteopathic medicine will continue to benefit future generations of patients. Osteopathic Recognition also provides advantages for medical students seeking osteopathic-focused training and hospitals in need of resident physicians who provide patient-centered, holistic care.

With the osteopathic approach emphasizing on communication and patient care that tends to the body, mind and spirit, it has been shown to reduce medical care costs, improve patient outcomes, and increase patient satisfaction.  

What are the requirements?

The Osteopathic Recognition requirements and application are located on the ACGME’s website. There’s also a webinar sponsored by the Assembly of Osteopathic Medical Educators (AOGME) that walks you through the application and common issues programs have when applying for recognition. There is no application fee or accreditation fee for Osteopathic Recognition. 

What programs have OR already?

234 programs have Osteopathic Recognition in 27 specialties and across the nation. View Osteopathic Recognition Matters’ interactive map.

Make the case for your program to apply for OR

1. Improve patient care and reduce institutional costs

  • The osteopathic approach emphasizes physician-patient communication, with a focus on empathic and holistic care.
  • Research shows that patients who receive osteopathic care experience reduced pain and improved function.
  • DOs are trained to consider alternatives to prescribing medication.
  • Osteopathic care can result in shortened hospital stays for patients recovering from pneumonia or surgery.
  • Osteopathic physicians are trained to use a team care approach that aligns with the patient-centered medical home model.

2. Ensure osteopathic distinctiveness

  • The success of osteopathic training programs ensures the profession will continue to grow and thrive.
  • The osteopathic approach can be integrated into any specialty. Structure-function relationships are paramount for radiology and surgery. Holistic understanding of the patient is vital for successful management of most specialty specific conditions from dermatology to OB to cardiology.
  • The integration of OMM into patient management can be as simple as rib raising on hospitalized pneumonia patient or as complicated as treatment of sacral dysfunction in a low back pain patient. Each residency chooses where this integration works best.

3. Attract more high quality candidates

  • More than 70% of third-year osteopathic medical students indicate they would like to train in an osteopathic-focused residency program.
  • Osteopathic medical students represent 25% of the medical student population.
  • The majority of third-year osteopathic medical students want to complete osteopathic-focused residency training.
  • Providing osteopathic principles training within the residency program provides a way to set your program apart from others by provided added value. This may help attract higher quality candidates in a highly competitive market. Osteopathic Recognition will help attract osteopathic and allopathic students to your program, increasing the pool of qualified applicants.

Step 2: Gather the team and get started

Key elements of an OR program

  • A program with Osteopathic Recognition must have a Director of Osteopathic Education and one additional osteopathic faculty member.
  • The program must integrate OPP into the six ACGME core competencies and formally evaluate resident’s performance in the application of OPP in each of the core competencies.
  • The program must create an osteopathic learning environment through longitudinal and focused educational experiences.

Identify the Director of Osteopathic Education and additional osteopathic faculty

The Director of Osteopathic Education (DOE) for a program can be the program director or another member of a program’s faculty. Programs can even share the DOE among programs. The DOE can be board certified in any specialty. This individual must be willing to oversee and direct the Osteopathic Recognition curriculum and assessments. 

Programs must also have one additional osteopathic faculty member that provides OPP education and reports osteopathic scholarly activity to ACGME. The ACGME has a Guide to Classification of Osteopathic Faculty on the ADS Roster on their website in the Documents section.

Every osteopathic physician has passed licensure examinations that prove they have demonstrated minimal competency in osteopathic principles and practice, including basic OMT. Many MDs have also had sufficient training to direct an OPP curriculum. All that is really needed is someone with osteopathic training who is willing to lead and train the next generation of physicians in osteopathic principles.

*Application Tip* Make sure your program is using correct terminology for osteopathic faculty and that each faculty member’s certification status, state licensure information is up-to-date and accurate in ADS. Having out of date or expired information in ADS may prohibit your program from achieving OR.

Integrate OPP into evaluations

Programs with Osteopathic Recognition are required to submit 5 evaluations to the ACGME Osteopathic Principles Committee:

    1. Formative evaluation of residents
    2. Summative evaluations of residents
    3. Evaluation of faculty
    4. Program evaluation by residents
    5. Program evaluation by faculty 

The formative and summative resident evaluations are not the Osteopathic Recognition Milestones. They can be evaluation forms from osteopathic specialty colleges or the AOA that a program used while AOA-accredited, but the program should remove all references to the AOA basic standards. The Summative Evaluation must have a statement regarding the resident that includes the following: “demonstrated sufficient competence to apply OPP to patient care, upon entering practice, without direct supervision.”

Create an Osteopathic Learning Environment

Programs applying for Osteopathic Recognition are required to submit a block diagram. The OR block diagram identifies on the specialty block diagram where designated osteopathic residents are receiving osteopathic education/experience in the clinical setting, osteopathic/OMT clinic, and osteopathic didactics/labs. The ACGME has a block diagram guide in the Application for Recognition section of their website.

Step 3: Get help

AOA Application Assistance Program

The AOA is committed to increasing the number of programs with Osteopathic Recognition. At no cost, the AOA can connect your program with a peer consultant experience with Osteopathic Recognition to assist you in reviewing your application, as well as share their experience with applying for and maintaining Osteopathic Recognition. Email us at to learn more about this free service.

Peer Learning

Many of the programs who have achieved Osteopathic Recognition want to help additional programs achieve OR and advance osteopathic graduate medical education.

ACGME program director discusses value of Osteopathic Recognition – Sarah Cole, DO, the Program Director and Director of Osteopathic Education at the Mercy family medicine residency in St. Louis shares why her ACGME program applied for Osteopathic Recognition,

Perspectives on How Osteopathic Recognition Enhances Patient Care – Katina Rue, DO, the Director of Osteopathic Education for the Central Washington Family Medicine Residency (CWFMR) in Yakima, WA shared her valuable perspective on the importance of osteopathic training in GME with the AACOM/AOGME OR Matters blog.

Single GME accreditation and the future of osteopathic medicineTwo family medicine residency program directors take a hard look at what it will take to expand Osteopathic Recognition.

Osteopathic Recognition in the ER: Ohio program preserves its heritage – in The DO, Ohio Health/Doctor’s Hospital Emergency Medicine program explains why applying for applying for Osteopathic Recognition was a “no-brainer” for their program.

Osteopathic Recognition is key to GME program’s forward-thinking approach – Obtaining Osteopathic Recognition will help ensure patients continue to receive the holistic, whole-person care they have come to expect, Teresa Braden, DO the Internal Medicine program director at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, CO, says.

Why apply for Osteopathic Recognition? To recruit ideal candidates, DO says – Eric Mast, DO, says his family medicine residency program wants to maintain its focus on osteopathic principles and practice.

Contact ACGME

Programs working on their application should review all the of the resources on the ACGME’s website. This includes Frequently Asked Questions, a step-by-step application guide, and other documents that will help your program achieve Osteopathic Recognition by avoiding common citations. If you still have questions after reviewing the material on ACGME’s website, you can always contact the ACGME.

AACOM UME-GME Resource Library

The UME-GME Digital Resource Library is a digital repository of resources for undergraduate medical education (UME) and graduate medical education (GME) developed by the Faculty Development for Programs with Osteopathic Recognition Working Group of the AACOM UME-GME Continuum Initiative. The UME-GME Digital Resource Library serves as a comprehensive library of resources and events that focus on faculty development in GME programs, specifically programs with or seeking Osteopathic Recognition. The library is relevant to a broad audience, including GME program administrators and faculty, practicing physicians, residents and fellows, medical students, researchers, and other health care professionals.

Step 4: Submit your application and #GetRecognized

Have your colleagues and residents review your application

Once you have completed your application and uploaded the required forms, you should review your application in its final form and send it to your colleagues and residents to review. This will help your program identify missing or out-of-date information and make the corrections necessary before you submit.

Send to PD and DIO to submit through ADS

Submit your application to your DIO, who will review and submit the application to the ACGME. 

You did it!

Wait for a decision from the ACGME.

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