Osteopathic Medical School Enrollment Up Over 10 Percent

For Immediate Release
October 12, 2010

Contact Information:
Wendy Fernando 
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
(301) 968-4174

As the critical need for primary care physicians increases, there is a bright spot on the horizon. The number of students attending and graduating from osteopathic medical schools is increasing as well.  In fact, more than 20 percent of new U.S. medical students are enrolled at osteopathic medical colleges.  And, osteopathic medical education has a proud history of producing primary care physicians. Osteopathic medical schools and the physicians they graduate are playing an important role in mitigating future physician shortages.
  • More than 18,000 students are enrolled in the nation’s osteopathic medical colleges.
  • This fall, more than 5,500 new students enrolled at osteopathic medical colleges, 6.5 percent more than the 5,162 students who enrolled last fall.
  • The 2010 applicant pool included more than 13,300 students, a 4 percent increase over the 2009 applicant pool.
  • 9,624 applicants have already applied for the 2011 entering class, a 7 percent increase over this time last year. Applications will continue until April.
  • By 2015, more than 5,300 osteopathic physicians will graduate from the nation’s osteopathic medical schools each year.
  • There are 26 U.S. osteopathic medical colleges and three branch campuses, with several additional colleges in the planning stages.
  • The nation’s approximately 55,000 osteopathic physicians are fully licensed to practice the entire scope of modern medicine, bringing a patient-centered, holistic, hands-on approach to diagnosing and treating illness and injury.

Additional Information

View 2009-10 Enrollment by Osteopathic Medical College.

View data on applications, enrollment and graduates by osteopathic medical college.

View Survey of Graduating Seniors Summary Report.

View information about each of the nation’s colleges of osteopathic medicine.

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

“During the recent health reform dialogue, projected physician shortages were raised again and again as a reason for encouraging more students to consider health care careers, and particularly primary care careers. Like the country’s allopathic (MD) medical schools, osteopathic (DO) medical colleges are helping to fill a critical national health care need.”

“The number of applicants to osteopathic medical schools is growing exponentially, from 6,814 in 2003 to more than 13,300 for the 2011 entering class (a 95 percent increase). These are excellent students; both their Medical College Admissions Test scores and their GPA are strong, and have been steadily increasing during the same period of rapid growth.”

“Osteopathic physicians account for 10 percent of the nation’s primary care physicians. Regardless of whether they become primary care practitioners or pursue another medical specialty, we 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 Osteopathic Medical School Growth

Clinton E. Adams, DO, FAAFP, FACHE
Western University of Health Sciences/College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
(909) 469-5563

Boyd Buser, DO
Vice President and Dean
Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine
(606) 218-5411

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