Family Medicine Tops the List in Osteopathic Match

2019 AOA Match Day Marks End of Era

February 20, 2019 11:45 am News Staff

Results of the 2019 American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Intern/Resident Registration Program were recently made public, and this year's outcomes are significant on a couple of fronts.

[doctorate and red stethoscope]

For starters, the AOA Match results once again put family medicine at the top of the list as the medical specialty of choice among participating osteopathic medical school seniors and new D.O. physicians.

A total of 304 participants -- or 34 percent of those matching in 2019 -- were accepted into family medicine residency programs. Another 197 participants (22 percent) matched to internal medicine.

"Specialty choices in today's match results align with the osteopathic profession's historic emphasis on careers in primary care," noted an AOA press release posted on Feb. 4, the day the AOA Match occurred.

Results for the other top specialties chosen in 2019 show

  • 107 matches to orthopedic surgery (12 percent),
  • 65 to general surgery (7 percent), and
  • 54 to emergency medicine (6 percent).

Another 159 new or soon-to-graduate D.O. physicians matched to other specialties. In total, the 2019 AOA Match accomplished a 54 percent fill rate.

As to that second important note, this was the final AOA Match; this year's event marked the end of an osteopathic placement system that began in the 1950s.

But with endings come the promise of new beginnings.

The dawn of 2020 will mark the inaugural year for the nation's single accreditation system for graduate medical education -- a system that's now in the home stretch of a five-year transition period.

Next year, most D.O. and M.D. students looking to enter U.S. medical residency programs will participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP)(www.nrmp.org) Main Residency Match for placement in a graduate medical education program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).(www.acgme.org)

As expected, the number of students matching in the AOA Match has declined during the past few years as the single accreditation deadline has drawn closer and residency programs and students move to the NRMP Match.

For instance, according to AAFP comparisons, the AOA saw 503 matches into family medicine in 2018, down from 610 in 2017.

However, the AAFP anticipates gains in the number of D.O. students matching to family medicine in the upcoming NRMP Match on March 15 -- similar to 2018 results -- that will more than make up for the AOA Match decline.

For its part, the AOA also provided a peek at progress on the conversion to a single ACGME accreditation program.

According to the Feb. 4 news release, "To date, 80 percent of all osteopathic training positions have transitioned to ACGME accreditation, with additional positions expected over the next 17 months."

Related AAFP News Coverage
Osteopathic Match Again Shows Family Medicine on Top
(2/14/2018)

2017 Osteopathic Match Results
D.O. Physicians' Passion for Family Medicine Continues

(2/7/2017)