The path toward single accreditation offers increased opportunities for training and raising awareness of osteopathic medicine.
The osteopathic medical profession is currently transitioning to a single accreditation system for graduate medical training. By 2020, all residency programs in the U.S. will be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Both DO and MD students will be able to match into residency programs of their choice.
A major cornerstone of the single accreditation transition plan is preserving the distinctiveness of osteopathic medicine. ACGME programs can apply for osteopathic recognition, a distinction that recognizes their commitment to teaching osteopathic principles and practice.
The rest of the osteopathic educational system will remain focused on providing distinctive training for DOs. This includes undergraduate medical education, COMLEX-USA, board certification and osteopathic continuing medical education. Here’s what single GME accreditation means for osteopathic medical students moving forward:
The AOA and ACGME are fully committed to protecting students and residents throughout the transition to the single GME accreditation system. The AOA is working closely with AOA-accredited residency programs to help them transition smoothly to ACGME accreditation. At the same time, we’re ensuring that no students match into residency programs that aren’t on the path to achieving ACGME accreditation by 2020.
It’s expected that 2019 will be the last year for the AOA Match. Starting in 2020, all students will use either the NRMP—the primary Matching service for ACGME residency programs—or, if they choose, a different match program such as the Military Match, the Urology Match or the San Francisco Match.
All osteopathic medical students must pass Levels 1 and 2 of the COMLEX-USA exam in order to graduate from osteopathic medical school. Residency program directors are generally enthusiastic to learn more about COMLEX-USA if they aren’t already familiar with the exam, but there are still some ACGME programs that prefer candidates take the USMLE exam. If that’s the case with residency programs you’re pursuing, you may want to consider taking the USMLE in addition to COMLEX. Program websites that only include information about USMLE may be out of date, so you should call the program to find out directly if COMLEX is acceptable.
Osteopathic medical students across the country are raising their voices about the kind of training they want to pursue. Approximately 70% of third-year osteopathic medical students surveyed by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine indicated that programs with osteopathic recognition were more appealing than ACGME-accredited programs without osteopathic recognition. View the video below to hear from some of these students about how they hope to train and practice in the future.