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Osteopathic Physician “Match” Helps Bolster Primary Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 15, 2011

Contact:
Wendy Fernando
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
Phone: 301-968-4174
E-mail: wfernando@aacom.org

This week, the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) will link many new physicians to the residency programs that will complete their training.  Residency training programs, also called graduate medical education (GME), represent the additional years of supervised, hands-on education that all medical school graduates must undergo prior to being licensed to practice.

Much of the public is unaware, however, of the large numbers of new osteopathic physicians (DOs) who in February already “matched” into osteopathic-specific medical residencies, or of the fact that DOs may choose to participate in either of the match systems. 

In addition, many are unaware of DOs’ historic commitment to primary care. Some 45 percent of this year’s osteopathic match (NMS) participants matched to a residency in one of the three primary care specialties (family medicine, internal medicine, or pediatrics). Similar percentages of DOs participating in the NRMP are expected to enter primary care residencies.

  • More than 4,200 osteopathic medical students are expected to graduate in 2011, 15 percent more than in 2010. By 2020, more than 5,900 osteopathic medical students are expected to graduate from osteopathic medical schools each year.
  • The osteopathic GME match for 2011 graduates included 1,990 anticipated 2011 graduates and 222 prior year graduates – a total of 2,212 participants; 1,640 of those participants matched in the regular match that ended on February 14, 2011.  An additional 255 current and prior year DO graduates participated in the 2011 military match.
  • In the 2011 osteopathic match, for positions starting on July 1, 2011, 731 current and prior year DO graduates matched to primary care residencies (family medicine, internal medicine, or pediatrics).  This compares to 608 in the 2010 match, an increase of 4 percent. 
  • It is important to note that without participating in residencies, physicians cannot be licensed to practice medicine. Thus, graduate medical education represents a critical component of physicians’ path to practice.
  • Osteopathic physicians (DOs) are fully licensed to practice the full scope of medicine in all medical specialties. However, the broad-based training DOs receive makes them exceptionally well-prepared to provide primary care. While osteopathic physicians constitute less than 7 percent of the U.S. physician workforce, they account for 10 percent of the nation’s primary care physicians. Some 56 percent of practicing DOs are primary care practitioners.

Quote from Dr. Stephen C. Shannon, President and CEO, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

“Osteopathic medical education has a proud heritage of producing primary care physicians. However, regardless of whether they become primary care practitioners or pursue another medical specialty, I believe that graduates of osteopathic medical colleges are better physicians because of the strong primary care foundation they received while in medical school.”

Other Contacts for Stories on New Osteopathic Residents

Tyler Cymet, DO
Associate Vice President for Medical Education
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
(301) 968-4182
tcymet@aacom.org

Tom Levitan, MEd
Vice President for Research and Application Services
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
(301) 968-4148
tlevitan@aacom.org