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Osteopathic Medical School Graduate Numbers Continue to Rise Students to Help Mitigate National Primary Care Physician Workforce Shortage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 2, 2010

Contact Information:
Wendy Fernando 
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
(301) 968-4174 
wfernando@aacom.org
www.aacom.org

The number of graduating osteopathic medical school seniors has increased steadily over the past decade. These graduates have continued to pursue primary care fields (internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics) in proportions significantly surpassing those of their allopathic colleagues. As osteopathic physicians, they are playing an important role in the current physician workforce to meet the growing health care demands of an aging and flourishing U.S. population as the new health care reform law is implemented.

  • U.S. osteopathic medical schools recently graduated 3,845 seniors.
  • The number of new doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) has increased annually since 1999, when just 2,169 seniors graduated from the nation’s COMs.
  • By 2015, COMs will graduate more than 5,300 osteopathic physicians.
  • Twenty percent of new U.S. medical students are training to be DOs; there are 26 schools of osteopathic medicine offering instruction at 34 locations in 25 states.
  • The growing number of DOs will help mitigate the nation’s primary care physician workforce shortage as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (PL 111-152) are implemented.
  • AACOM recently conducted a survey of the 2009 graduating seniors at the nation’s COMs; results showed that 24 percent of respondents consider themselves most likely to work in a primary care specialty (defined as family practice, internal medicine and pediatrics).
  • Forty percent of students who matched in the 2010 American Osteopathic Association (AOA) residency match will enter osteopathic primary care programs.
  • Fifty-five percent of the students participating in the 2010 Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) match will enter primary care programs.
  •  In contrast, 34 percent of U.S. MD students matched into primary care training.

Additional Information

View the number of osteopathic medical school graduates by state.
View  a breakdown of 2008-09 osteopathic medical school graduates by gender and race/ethnicity.
View 2010 osteopathic medical school graduate residency match data.
View 2010 allopathic medical school graduate residency match data.
Review AACOM’s DVD to learn more about osteopathic medical education.

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

“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." – Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

“Osteopathic physician graduates (DOs) spend years in rigorous classroom, clinical and residency training, and while DOs have a traditional affinity for primary care, they can be found practicing every specialty throughout the country.” – Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

Other Contacts for Stories on Osteopathic Medical School Graduates and Their Career Choices

Kendall Reed, DO
Dean and Professor of Surgery
Des Moines University - College of Osteopathic Medicine
(515) 271-1513
kendall.reed@dmu.edu

Jessica Hilst, DO
Osteopathic Medical Intern
Grandview Medical Center
(770) 654-3360
jessicahilst@gmail.com

Fitzhugh S. Mullan, MD
Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy
George Washington University
(202) 530-2341
fmullan@gwu.edu

Wendy Fernando
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
(301) 968-4174
wfernando@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