Primary Care, Family Medicine Shine in 2015 Osteopathic Match

February 27, 2015 02:40 pm Sheri Porter

Primary care scored big in the 2015 American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Intern/Resident Registration Program, which matches new and recently graduated osteopathic physicians with residency programs nationwide.

[Two female medical residents in white coats working at laptop]

According to a Feb. 9 press release( announcing the 2015 results, a total of 2,907 individuals participated in this year's program, and 75 percent of them, or 2,179 newly minted physicians, successfully matched to a program.

Of that total, 54 percent, or 1,171 placements, were with primary care specialties -- defined by the AOA as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and OB/Gyn.

The AAFP considers only residents who choose family medicine, general internal medicine or general pediatrics to be additions to the ranks of primary care medicine.

Family medicine fared well in 2015 by matching 549 applicants to residency programs, a 6 percent increase from 2014.

"The news from the AOA Match is very encouraging," said Stan Kozakowski, M.D., the AAFP's director of medical education. "It continues the trend of increasing interest in family medicine and primary care that we have witnessed in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), or the 'traditional Match,' over the last several years," he added.

Story Highlights
  • Primary care in general and family medicine in particular made good showings in the 2015 osteopathic match.
  • According to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), 54 percent of placements were with primary care specialties defined by the AOA as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and OB/Gyn.
  • Family medicine residency programs welcomed 549 new residents to their programs nationwide, a 6 percent increase compared to 2014.

According to the latest AAFP member survey, 11.3 percent of active members hold a D.O. degree.

Regarding the increasing number of graduating D.O. students entering primary care specialties, Kozakowski said, "It is not at all surprising that a large percentage of osteopathic medical students select family medicine given the emphasis (in that discipline) on treating the whole person.

"The principles of osteopathic medicine dovetail well with the principles of family medicine and primary care," he added.

Results of the much larger NRMP Match will be announced on March 20.

Other highlights from the 2015 AOA Match show that

  • 497 applicants matched into internal medicine, 13 percent more than in 2014;
  • 144 applicants matched to general surgery, an increase of 12 percent from last year; and
  • 1,008 positions were filled in nonprimary-care specialty areas such as orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology and emergency medicine.

The AOA also noted in its release that osteopathic medicine was a rising star in the U.S. health care system. According to the AOA, one in four U.S. medical students attended an osteopathic medical school. "In 2011, 14 percent of resident physicians held a D.O. degree according to a study published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the numbers are rising dramatically," said the AOA.

The AAFP also noted an increasing interest in osteopathic medicine in its analysis of 2013 NRMP Match results. Authors of that report pointed out that the number of D.O.-granting medical schools grew from 19 in 2002 to 37 in 2013.

They also pointed out that osteopathic medical school first-year enrollment nearly doubled between 2002 (2,968) and 2012 (5,627) and could reach 6,699 by 2017.

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