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SOURCE American Osteopathic Association
CHICAGO, Feb. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Between aging baby boomers requiring more medical attention for chronic conditions and millions of Americans gaining access to medical care under the Affordable Care Act, the country's need for primary care physicians has never been greater. The osteopathic medical profession is doing its part to meet this need as the majority of osteopathic medical students and recent graduates matched into primary care residency programs, according to new data released by the National Matching Services, Inc., about the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) match.
Among primary care specialties, family medicine is the largest matched specialty with 519 positions filled, a 10% increase from last year. Family medicine also was the largest matched specialty in 2013 with 472 positions filled.
Historically, osteopathic physicians (DOs) have been committed to providing primary care. According to the AOA's 2013 Osteopathic Medical Profession Report, more than 60% of DOs with self-identified specialties are primary care physicians. These DOs practice in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology.
Overall, there are osteopathic training programs available in four primary care specialties and more than 25 specialties and subspecialties.
"Through my work as an advocate for seniors and homebound patients, I am proud of the osteopathic medical profession's commitment toward alleviating a projected primary care physician shortage and meeting our nation's health care needs," said AOA President Norman E. Vinn, DO, founder of Housecall Doctors Medical Group, Inc., a home care network providing on-site clinical services to homebound patients. "As the number of future physicians choosing to apply to and attend osteopathic medical schools continues to grow, it is encouraging to also see a steady increase in the number of recent graduates going into primary care."
In an effort to help mitigate the projected primary care physician shortage, osteopathic medical schools continue to increase their class sizes while new osteopathic medical schools have been established around the country. In fall 2013, three osteopathic medical schools welcomed their first classes, bringing the total to 29 osteopathic medical schools offering instruction in 37 locations across the United States. Today, there are more than 21,000 osteopathic medical students across the country, up from more than 15,000 students enrolled five years ago.
Osteopathic Match Trends
"Every year we take pride in seeing that the majority of osteopathic medical students match into primary care specialties," said Clinton E. Adams, DO, chair of the AOA Council on Postdoctoral Training. "Now, in the shadow of the Affordable Care Act, more than ever our country needs primary care physicians to lead health care teams designed to educate patients about healthy lifestyles in order to help prevent disease and to work as partners with that team to develop the best treatment plan when illness does strike."
How the Osteopathic Match Works
After interviewing with internship and residency training programs at medical facilities around the country, osteopathic medical students and recent graduates submit a rank-order list of training programs they want to pursue for their osteopathic graduate medical education while the programs submit a list of their preferred applicants in rank order. Using a computer program, the National Matching Services, Inc., coordinates the match of applicants to internship and residency programs.
Applicants who learn on Feb. 10 that they did not match into a training program can participate in what is known as "the scramble" to find training positions through July 2014. An electronic post-match tool is available to assist programs and trainees who did not find placement in the match. Upon earning degrees as doctors of osteopathic medicine, graduates typically begin their training programs on July 1, 2014.
For more information about the 2014 osteopathic match, see full match results listed by state at www.osteopathic.org. To see osteopathic match data from previous years, see The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association at www.jaoa.org.
What is a DO?
DOs are licensed physicians who can prescribe medication and practice in all specialty areas, including surgery, in the United States. They complete approximately four years of medical school followed by graduate medical education through internship and residency programs typically lasting three to eight years. In addition, DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, providing them with an in-depth knowledge of the ways that illness or injury in one part of the body can affect another. As one of the fastest-growing segments of health care professionals in the nation, the number of DOs has grown more than 200% during the past 25 years.
About the American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.
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