Since receiving initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) earlier this year, Parkview Medical Center’s osteopathic internal medicine residency program in Pueblo, Colorado, has received approximately 50% more applications from prospective trainees.
And the program’s director, Teresa Braden, DO, expects that number to increase even more once the program receives osteopathic recognition.
When she learned that the osteopathic medical profession was working toward joining a single system of graduate medical education accreditation, Dr. Braden wasted no time in applying for institutional and program accreditation from the ACGME. She then applied for osteopathic recognition as soon as she could.
“There’s great value in promoting osteopathic principles and practice,” says Dr. Braden, who helped establish Parkview’s residency program in 2012. “We want candidates to see that osteopathic distinctiveness is taught, encouraged and required in this program.”
A first-year resident in the program, Lauren Sanders, DO, says Parkview’s intention to obtain initial accreditation and osteopathic recognition heavily influenced her decision to train there.
“I really wanted to be part of a forward-thinking program,” Dr. Sanders says. “By acknowledging the need to apply for ACGME accreditation, this program really stood out.”
For Dr. Sanders, training in an osteopathically-focused program is a way to stay connected to her roots. “I intentionally chose a DO school because I wanted osteopathic training and that’s something I want to continue,” she says. “It means a lot that my program places an emphasis on osteopathic training and OMT.”
Building on tradition
Osteopathic training lies at the heart of the Parkview residency program, which runs a clinic staffed entirely by residents who perform OMT on a daily basis, Dr. Braden says.
Initially established in a federally designated health professional shortage area, the program has provided an influx of physicians for the surrounding community. In fact, the medical center has retained 50-60% of the residents who graduated from the program in 2015 and 2016, many of whom practice primary care.
“We used to see a lot of patients who didn’t have a primary care physician,” Dr. Braden says. “That’s not happening nearly as much anymore. We have patients driving in from New Mexico and Kansas to see physicians in our clinic.”
Obtaining osteopathic recognition will help the clinic ensure patients continue to receive the holistic, whole-person care they have come to expect, Dr. Braden says. “They greatly benefit from the osteopathic care our program provides,” she adds.