Family Medicine Comes Out on Top in Osteopathic Match

February 26, 2014 12:05 pm Sheri Porter

More osteopathic physicians matched to family medicine than any other medical specialty in the recently completed American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Intern/Resident Registration Program, which matches graduating osteopathic physicians with residency programs nationwide.

When the results were tabulated, family medicine filled 519 of 880 open positions in the 2014 osteopathic Match.

According to an AOA press release(www.osteopathic.org), the 2014 family medicine fill number represented a 10 percent increase compared to the 472 family medicine positions filled in 2013.

Furthermore, primary care as a whole -- defined by the AOA as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and OB/Gyn -- accounted for 53 percent of all matches for a total of 1,096 placements.

According to an AOA summary of results of the 2014 Match(www.natmatch.com),

Story Highlights
  • Family medicine topped all other medical specialties and subspecialties in the recent American Osteopathic Association Intern/Resident Registration Program, with 519 of 880 available residency positions filled.
  • Primary care as a whole accounted for 53 percent of all matches for a total of 1,096 placements.
  • The number of medical students training in osteopathic medicine is on the rise; three new osteopathic medical schools opened in 2013.
  • 439 applicants matched to internal medicine in 2014 compared with 402 matches in 2013,
  • 61 applicants matched to pediatrics compared with 46 matches in 2013 and
  • 77 applicants matched into OB/Gyn compared with 72 matches in 2013.

"Every year, we take pride in seeing that the majority of osteopathic medical students match into primary care specialties," said Clinton Adams, D.O., a family physician and chair of the AOA Council on Postdoctoral Training, in the press release.

"Now, in the shadow of the (Patient Protection and) 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."

Also included in the AOA Match numbers were another 968 residency positions that were filled in nonprimary care areas, such as orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology and emergency medicine.

Perry Pugno, M.D., M.P.H., AAFP vice president for education, told AAFP News that the osteopathic Match results were yet another example of how the much-publicized U.S. primary care physician shortage was affecting the career choices of graduating medical students.

"A 10 percent increase in the number of osteopathic students selecting family medicine is indeed gratifying and bodes well for another increase in the number of allopathic students selecting family medicine when the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) takes place next month," said Pugno.

Although there remains a large unmet need when it comes to the availability of primary care services in the United States, knowing that 25 percent of 2,064 D.O. graduates selected a career in family medicine feels good, said Pugno. "It is definitely a trend shift in the right direction."

The AOA press release pointed out that the number of students training in osteopathic medicine is on the rise. U.S. osteopathic medical schools have increased their class sizes to keep up with demand, and in the fall of 2013, three new osteopathic medical schools opened their doors to students.

The AAFP has been tracking the unprecedented growth of osteopathic medicine. In the AAFP's analysis of the 2013 NRMP Match(www.stfm.org) in the October issue of Family Medicine, authors pointed out that the number of D.O.-granting medical schools grew from 19 schools in 2002 to 37 schools -- including branch campuses and satellite programs -- in 2013.

In the same report, authors noted that osteopathic medical school first-year enrollment nearly doubled between 2002 (2,968) and 2012 (5,627), and predicted enrollment could reach 6,699 by 2017.

Results of the much larger 2014 NRMP Match(www.nrmp.org) will be available from AAFP News on March 21. Adams suggested that many positions left unfilled after the osteopathic match would be filled in the NRMP Match.

Related AAFP News Coverage
Radical Changes in Primary Care Needed to Meet the Coming Demand for Health Care
(1/30/2013)


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