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Fam Med. 2006 Mar;38(3):206-10.

Family medicine's search for manpower: the American Osteopathic Association accreditation option.


In recent years, family medicine has encountered problems recruiting and filling its Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited residencies. In addressing these reverses, one increasingly popular strategy has been to acquire American Osteopathic Association (AOA) accreditation as a way to tap into the growing number of osteopathic graduates. This stratagem is founded on assumptions that parallel-accredited postdoctoral programs are attractive to doctor of osteopathy (DO) graduates, that collaboration with sponsoring colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) provides direct access to osteopathic students, and that DOs can play an important role in replacing the increasing scarcity of United States medical graduates who are selecting specialty residencies. Within the past 5 years, nearly 10% of all ACGME family medicine residency programs have voluntarily obtained a second level of accreditation to also qualify as AOA-accredited family medicine residency programs. This strategy has produced mixed outcomes, as noted from the results of the osteopathic matching program. The flood of osteopathic graduates into these parallel-accredited programs has not occurred. In addition, recent AOA policy changes now require ACGME-accredited programs to make a deeper educational commitment to osteopathic postdoctoral education. The most successful ACGME/AOA-accredited programs have been those that are closely affiliated with and in near proximity of a COM and also train osteopathic students in required clerkship rotations.

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