Osteopathic Medical College Enrollment Up 6.5 Percent


October 5, 2011

Wendy Fernando
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
Phone: 301-968-4174

Total enrollment at the nation’s osteopathic medical colleges now tops 20,600, a 6.5 percent increase over last year’s (2010) more than 19,000 students. Today, more than 20 percent of new U.S. medical students are attending osteopathic medical schools, a percentage that will continue to increase as new campuses are developed or complete all four years of enrollment, and as established and existing colleges complete previously approved increases in their class sizes. This year, some schools increased their incoming class sizes, one branch campus and one remote teaching location opened, and three new colleges of osteopathic medicine are in development.

  • This fall, more than 5,620 new students enrolled at one of the nation’s 26 colleges of osteopathic medicine, a 3.7 percent increase over last year’s incoming class.
  • The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine welcomed its inaugural class of 162 students at its new branch Carolinas Campus (VCOM-CC) in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific– Northwest (COMP - Northwest), located in Lebanon, Oregon, has enrolled an inaugural class of 100 students.
  • Enrollment is expected to rise in the coming years, with three colleges of osteopathic medicine in development stages: Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, Campbell University College of Osteopathic Medicine (North Carolina) and Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (Indiana). Each school plans to enroll entering classes of over 100 students.

Growth in the number of osteopathic medical school graduates will help mitigate looming physician shortages, especially in the critical primary care area. A variety of reports predict primary care physician deficits that will range from 20,000 to 46,000 by 2020-2025, and all physician shortages of 120,000 to 160,000. With large numbers of new osteopathic physicians continuing to pursue primary care careers, AACOM is hopeful that the osteopathic medical profession can help the nation avert a primary care crisis.

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

“Each and every new osteopathic physician will be needed to help meet our nation’s increasing health care demands. I am convinced that osteopathic physicians will make a difference in mitigating physician shortages and improving our health care system.”

Contacts for Stories on Enrollment Growth:

Clinton E. Adams, DO 
Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Dean 
Western University of Health Sciences/College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific 
(909) 469-5563

Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, DO 
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine 
(540) 231-5992 and

Tom Levitan, MEd 
Vice President for Research and Application Services 
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine