CHICAGO, Jan. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) announced today that the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) are now ACGME member organizations. The measure took effect January 1 and is a critical step toward implementation of a single accreditation system for all graduate medical education (GME) programs in the U.S.
The single accreditation system will allow graduates of allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) medical schools to complete their residency and/or fellowship education in ACGME-accredited programs and demonstrate achievement of common Milestones and competencies. Currently, the ACGME and AOA maintain separate accreditations systems for allopathic and osteopathic educational programs.
Election of new members to the ACGME Board of Directors nominated by AOA and AACOM accompanies the establishment of member organization status, and is part of the agreement reached in early 2014 by the three organizations.
This historic undertaking was driven by a shared desire to align GME structures and standards to improve public health, said Thomas Nasca, MD, MACP, chief executive officer of ACGME.
The partnership has the enthusiastic support of the other ACGME member organizations: the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, American Board of Medical Specialties and Council of Medical Specialty Societies.
"We welcome leaders from the American Osteopathic Association and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine to the ACGME as Member Organizations. Together, we are one step closer to helping to meet the health and health care needs of the American Public," said Dr. Nasca.
Rapid growth in osteopathic medicine fostered an integration of DO and MD training in recent years. Of nearly 5,000 DO graduates seeking residencies in 2014, 45 percent entered ACGME programs, according to AOA President Robert S. Juhasz, DO, FACOI, FACP who noted that MDs and DOs are already accustomed to working side-by-side.
"The single GME system responds to the dynamic growth and interest in osteopathic medicine, but more importantly it ensures broad access to training for all current and future physicians," said Dr. Juhasz, who also serves as president of Cleveland Clinic's South Pointe Hospital. "We are very pleased with the progress we've made with the ACGME to create a single GME accreditation system that standardizes training, promotes efficiencies and helps ensure the quality and safety of health care delivery in this country."
Beginning July 1, 2015, AOA-accredited programs will begin a five-year transition to ACGME accreditation. Osteopathic standards will be added to ACGME standards to define osteopathic programs, and MDs and DOs will remain eligible for all residences.
"We are very pleased to be joining the ACGME as a Member Organization to support the implementation of a single accreditation system for GME," said Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, president of AACOM. "Standardizing requirements for accrediting the training programs for all physicians in the U.S. is an important step in strengthening the postdoctoral education process and ensuring that the next generation of physicians is equipped to deliver quality health services to patients."
As member organizations, AOA and AACOM will be integrated into governance and operations of the ACGME. Four osteopathic physicians have been elected to the Board of Directors, two nominated by the AOA and two by AACOM.
- Karen J. Nichols, DO, MA, MACOI, CS is dean of the Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is a past president of the AOA and was vice chair of AACOM's Board of Deans until resigning from that board to accept this position.
- David Forstein, DO, FACOOG is a reproductive endocrinologist and residency program director at Greenville Health System in South Carolina, where he also serves as vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
- Gary Slick, DO, MACOI, FACP is a medical director at the Osteopathic Medical Education Consortium of Oklahoma (OMECO), director of medical education at OMECO Teaching Health Centers, and professor of internal medicine at OSU Center for Health Sciences.
- Clinton Adams, DO, FACHE is a professor of family medicine, the senior advisor for strategic leadership and external affairs, and formerly vice president of clinical affairs and dean at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific.
About the ACGME
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is a private, non-profit, professional organization responsible for the accreditation of approximately 9,600 residency and fellowship programs and approximately 700 institutions that sponsor these programs in the United States. Residency and fellowship programs educate over 120,000 resident physicians in 128 specialties and subspecialties. The ACGME's mission is to improve health care by assessing and advancing the quality of resident physicians' education through accreditation.
About the AOA
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents 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. The AOA accredits more than 1,000 osteopathic GME programs with about 6,900 DO resident physicians. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) was founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. AACOM's mission is to provide leadership for the osteopathic medical education community by promoting excellence in medical education, research and service, and by fostering innovation and quality across the continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the American public. AACOM represents the 30 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the U.S., which are accredited to deliver instruction at 42 teaching locations in 28 states. In the 2014-15 academic year, these colleges are educating over 24,600 future physicians – more than 25 percent of new first-year U.S. medical students. Six of the colleges are public, and 24 are private institutions.
SOURCE American Osteopathic Association