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Osteopathic Students' Graduate Medical Education Aspirations Versus Realities: The Relationship of Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care

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Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

Acad Med. 2016 Jan;91(1):36-41.

Authors:

Mark Cummings

Abstract.

Osteopathic medicine is closely identified with primary care. The mission statements of a majority of colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) mention the goal of producing primary care physicians. By far, there are more family medicine and internal medicine residency programs in the American Osteopathic Association graduate medical education (GME) system than programs for any other specialty. In addition, the osteopathic profession is embarking on a new direction to ensure COM graduates are trained as practice-ready primary care physicians. In counterpoint to the osteopathic profession's emphasis on primary care, the majority of entering and graduating osteopathic medical students express preferences for residencies in non-primary care specialties. When graduating students confront their GME options, however, they discover their choices for non-primary care specialties are limited. Currently, approximately two-thirds of COM graduates end up in a primary care residency. The creation of a unified GME accreditation system under the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) may further consolidate the osteopathic identity with primary care: Osteopathic training institutions may reduce the number of non-primary care programs they offer, which would allow them to increase enrollment in primary care programs to meet ACGME standards and remain below their Medicare caps. Additionally, in the National Resident Matching Program Match, selection patterns by program directors for competitive non-primary care residencies currently favor U.S. MDs. Therefore, while osteopathic students enter COMs aspiring to careers in non-primary care specialties, they are encountering a GME environment that offers them a shrinking number of alternatives.

Publication Date: 

2016 Jan

OEID: 

2722

Cummings, M. (2016) 'Osteopathic Students' Graduate Medical Education Aspirations Versus Realities: The Relationship of Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care ', Acad Med. 2016 Jan;91(1):36-41.

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