Joseph D’Ambrosio, MD, DMD, runs an MD residency program that was one of the first to obtain osteopathic recognition from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The four-year internal medicine and pediatrics program, located at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine in Kalamazoo, currently comprises eight DOs and nine MDs.
Dr. D’Ambrosio says helping his current and future residents maintain their osteopathic identity is a top priority. “Osteopathic recognition is one way we can ensure that applicants see we are committed to osteopathic principles,” he says.
Impressed with the osteopathic philosophy of treating the whole patient, Dr. D’Ambrosio notes that the American house of medicine is transitioning toward a more holistic approach that parallels osteopathic medicine. For this reason, he sees real value in DOs and MDs training side by side.
“It’s important that we look upon the body as a whole, and that’s what osteopathic medicine has done since its inception,” he says. “I think joint training is good because we need to communicate to all our physicians how vital it is to treat the whole patient.”
About osteopathic recognition
Osteopathic recognition is an added qualification residency programs can obtain from the ACGME to demonstrate that they offer residents osteopathic training and that they follow the training guidelines outlined by the ACGME’s Osteopathic Principles Committee.
As the ACGME, the AOA and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine move toward a single system of graduate medical education accreditation, osteopathic recognition will help medical students assess how potential programs have incorporated osteopathic principles into their training curriculum.
The ACGME began awarding osteopathic recognition to programs in the fall, and 18 programs obtained it as of Nov. 18.
Why programs want it
Although it has never trained a DO resident, the internal medicine residency program at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Illinois, recently obtained osteopathic recognition. Program director Sajan Thomas, MD, is actively seeking DOs for his program because he’s interested in diversifying his resident population.
“If we have both allopathic and osteopathic residents, we will have more residents from different backgrounds,” he says. “We’d also like to learn more about osteopathic medicine, and we’re hoping that bringing DOs on will benefit our patients as well.”
Mark Robinson, DO, an associate program director for the dually accredited family medicine residency at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, hopes osteopathic recognition will help his program continue to attract high-quality DO candidates.
“We are definitely talking to applicants about it during interviews,” he says. “Having osteopathic recognition really shows our dedication to maintaining osteopathic family medicine training.”
Dr. D’Ambrosio hopes obtaining osteopathic recognition will lead to the MDs in his program learning more about osteopathic medicine. Specifically, he points to the prescription pain medication epidemic as evidence that physicians need to be aware of alternatives to pharmaceuticals, including osteopathic manipulative treatment.
“Many times, I’ve seen manipulation help reduce pain,” he says. “In the future, I hope our MD residents will also consider manipulation as a possible tool they can use to take care of their patients.”