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President's Welcome

Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH
President and CEO
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine



If you are interested in learning about osteopathic medical education, applying to a U.S. osteopathic medical school, and staying current with osteopathic medical education news, research, and advocacy, you have come to the right place. Here you will find the information and tools needed to learn about and take part in the many programs and services AACOM provides in its role as a leader in the osteopathic medical education community.

Osteopathic medical education has seen tremendous growth in the last 20 years. During this time, nearly half of the nation’s 34 colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) opened their doors to students, many of them in diverse and medically-underserved areas in our nation. Today, more than 25 percent of the nation’s new first-year medical students are studying at an osteopathic medical school. For additional statistics on osteopathic medical education, please visit AACOM Reports.

But what is it about our COMs and the physicians we graduate that uniquely positions the DO profession to address the health care challenges confronting our nation? The underlying tenets of osteopathic medicine: that a patient-centered approach to health care is a key element to effective treatment, that the body has a natural capacity to heal itself, and that structure influences function and therefore the health of the musculoskeletal system is inherently linked to the health of the whole person.

AACOM, in collaboration with its member colleges, other health care associations, and the nation’s osteopathic physicians, is continuously working to promote quality with a constant focus on fostering the development of innovative approaches to improve the health of the American public.

I hope you will take time to explore our many available resources. If you are interested in learning more about what AACOM does, I also encourage you to read through AACOM's Strategic Plan 2014-2018, which lays out a five-year roadmap for the association’s work on behalf of our COMs. As we develop initiatives, programs, and services that reflect our strategic priorities, we also invite you to provide us with your ideas and feedback.

On behalf of the nation’s osteopathic medical schools and the entire AACOM staff, I thank you for your interest in osteopathic medical education.