Growth of the osteopathic medical profession addresses physician shortage in rural and urban medically-underserved areas. Twelve states record more than 100 percent growth in osteopathic physicians since 2005.


he number of osteopathic physicians practicing in 12 states has more than doubled over the past decade, adding physicians where they are most needed as the profession records a 62 percent growth rate for the same period, according to the newly-published 2015 Osteopathic Medical Profession (OMP) Report. Aligned with this growth is the evolution of the osteopathic medical profession, which has seen an average 25 percent growth in total DOs every five years since 1985. According to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)’s recent report, there are 96,954 DOs in the United States.

The 2015 OMP Report also found:

  • One out of four entering medical students attends an osteopathic medical school
  • 53 percent of DOs are age 45 or younger
  • Women comprised 48 percent of DOs in active practice for fewer than 10 years
  • 56 percent of DOs are primary care physicians (defined as family medicine, general medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics)
  • 44 percent of osteopathic physicians are specialists
  • The top five practice specialties are emergency medicine, anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, and psychiatry
“The American Osteopathic Association report documents the longitudinal impact of establishing new osteopathic medical schools in rural and underserved areas,” said Adrienne White-Faines, MPH, CEO of the American Osteopathic Association. DOs and MDs are the only two types of fully licensed physicians in the United States, with DOs comprising 11 percent of physicians.
“The osteopathic medical schools developed during the last decade are strategically located in areas where they can significantly improve the overall health of their communities,” White-Faines explained. “These institutions tend to attract local students who remain in the state after graduation, helping to mitigate regional physician shortages and ensure access to high-quality primary and specialty care in rural and underserved areas.”

View the full report, or visit the AACOM Reports web page for more information.

Inside OME Header
February 2016
Vol. 10, No. 2