Serious Post

A week or so ago, the President of the AOA, Dr. Vinn, came to visit NSU-COM and to speak with the medical students. I, for one, was super excited that Dr. Vinn was actually taking time out of his schedule to talk to us, a bunch of students who barely know what we’re doing. Despite there being less than 30 people in the audience (wow that was embarrassing), Dr. Vinn attempted to address our concerns regarding future fellowship opportunities for DO’s and what the deal was with the merger that fell apart last year. He told us that the AOA is currently focusing their attention on residencies before attempting to developing followships, and that everything the AOA does is in the best interest of us, the next generation of DO physicians.

And then, we get this email today:

After months of discussion, the AOA, along with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), have agreed to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education (GME) programs in the United States.
A single GME accreditation system will evaluate and provide accountability for the competency of physician residents consistently across all GME programs. This ensures the quality and efficiency of postdoctoral education, while preserving the unique dimensions of the osteopathic medical profession and recognizing its contribution to health care in the U.S.
Under the agreement:
  • From July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2020, AOA-accredited training programs will transition to ACGME recognition and accreditation. 

  • There will continue to be osteopathic-focused training programs under the ACGME accreditation system. Two osteopathic review committees will be developed to evaluate and set standards for the osteopathic aspects of training programs seeking osteopathic recognition. 

  • DOs and MDs would have access to all training programs. There will be prerequisite competencies and a recommended program of training for MD graduates who apply for entry into osteopathic-focused programs. 

  • AOA and AACOM will become ACGME member organizations, and each will have representation on ACGME’s board of directors.
The agreement provides the framework for the osteopathic and allopathic communities to prepare future generations of physicians with the highest quality graduate medical education and serve as a unified voice for graduate medical education resources to help mitigate the primary care physician shortage and better serve the public. 
As I stated in our joint press release issued today, a single GME accreditation system ensures that all physicians have access to the primary and sub-specialty training they need for the patients they want to serve. For the osteopathic medical profession, the system recognizes the unique principles and practices of DOs and our contribution to the health and well-being of all Americans.
While there is still much to determine over the coming months as far as processes, I am sure many of you have questions. Please visit www.osteopathic.org/acgme for more information.
Wow, so the AOA and ACGME actually came to an agreement. This was pretty much the last thing I was expecting to see in my inbox. To be honest, I don’t keep up much with the politics of medicine and by no means do I consider myself an expert on the subject, but I think that this unified accreditation system may be a step in the right direction, as cliche as that sounds. Now with the unified accreditation system any residency you do will be ACGME and you’ll therefore be able to apply to any ACGME fellowships. Of course the drawback is that some AOA programs are going to be closed, but even that can be considered a positive because it means that now all residency programs will be held to the same set of ACGME standards. As far as I know, the COMLEX and the USMLE are separate exams still, and there technically isn’t an officially combined match, yet. However, I see today’s agreement between the AOA and ACGME  as having a domino effect. Maybe it will eventually lead to re-evaluating the need for completely separate board exam.  Anyway, we’ll see how all this plays out as the merger goes into effect. Only time will tell.
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2 comments

  1. Haha, I was just going to ask whether that means DO students will still be required to take both the COMLEX AND USLME – looking forward to your updates!

    1. Yes, DO students still need to take the COMLEX and USLME/just COMLEX. I don’t think the board exams will be combined anytime soon.

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