Historic Decision House supports profession’s entry into a single GME accreditation system The action caps more than two years of deliberations, negotiations and soul-searching. “I am elated,” student says. July 22, 2014Tuesday Rose Raymond Contact Rose Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Topics House of Delegatessingle GME accreditation On Saturday morning, capping more than two years of deliberations, negotiations and soul-searching, the AOA House of Delegates voted to support the osteopathic medical profession’s landmark entry into a single graduate medical education accreditation system. Both the AOA and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) called the decision historic. The vote follows the February announcement that the AOA, AACOM and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) had agreed to pursue a system in which the DO and MD professions will develop a single standard for residency training. The new system optimizes “the use of GME resources provided by the public to the profession, and maximizes opportunities for the residents of today and tomorrow,” the ACGME said in a statement. Throughout the spring and into the summer, AOA leaders redoubled their efforts to travel the country to meet with osteopathic physicians and medical students to listen to their opinions and concerns and answer their questions. Their efforts and the language in the resulting resolution pleased Ohio delegate Robert L. Hunter, DO, for one, who said it appropriately and satisfactorily reflects the profession’s hopes and concerns for the single GME system. During a hearing the day before the House voted on the single GME accreditation system, Carisa R. Champion-Lippmann, OMS IV, was one of dozens who lined up to voice their opinions. “This resolution is one of the best resolutions I have ever seen in this House,” said Dr. Hunter, who had an inside view as a member of the AOA Special Reference Committee on the Single GME Accreditation System. “If you look at it, it incorporates everybody. … We really tried to incorporate everybody’s wants in this House.” The resolution calls for the AOA to provide annual progress reports to the House of Delegates on osteopathic board certification, the state of rural training programs and other pertinent issues. The resolution also emphasizes the importance of maintaining osteopathic licensing exams, osteopathic divisional and specialty societies, and the distinctiveness of osteopathic medicine as the AOA moves forward with the single accreditation system. And it encourages the AOA to advocate for fair evaluation of currently AOA-accredited programs as they transition into the next accreditation system. Students thrilled In a single GME accreditation system, osteopathic medical students will have greater options for their residency and fellowship training, many delegates noted. Moreover, students will not be hindered by the ACGME’s previously planned changes to its common program requirements, which would have barred DOs who served AOA residencies from entering ACGME fellowships. Therefore, a single system will allow students greater freedom to pursue specialty and subspecialty fellowships, some of which are not currently offered in AOA programs. “Our students will get to compete on a level playing field with the allopathic students,” Illinois delegate Richard A. Feely, DO, told The DO. “They have the opportunity to achieve great things in the new single GME system. We will be challenged to come forward and show [the nation] the unique characteristics an osteopathic physician can have. It’s incumbent upon the colleges and the students to grab the bull by the horns and move forward with osteopathic medicine in the 21st century.” Justin Michael Penny, OMS II, is excited about more fellowships potentially being within his reach, he told The DO. “I have an interest in bioethics, and I’m hoping to pursue hospice and palliative care,” said Penny, who attends the Kansas City (Missouri) University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine. “There are a lot of hospice and palliative care fellowships in the ACGME system that I hope to have access to no matter which residency I go into. There are many more hospice and palliative care fellowships in the ACGME system than there are in the AOA system.” Students on the whole were overwhelmingly in favor of a single GME accreditation system, Penny noted. “I am elated for myself, for my school and for osteopathic medical students on the whole,” he said. “We’re passionate about our identity as future osteopathic physicians, and we’re excited for future opportunities.” Speaking on behalf of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association, John M. Carlson, OMS III, addressed the House to thank AOA leaders for incorporating student opinion into the resolution. “The SOMA national leaders, local chapter leaders at our schools and colleges of osteopathic medicine, and our student members across the country wish to join their voices in support and recognition of the AOA leaders and their tireless work put forth during the single accreditation negotiations,” said Carlson, who attends the Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, Tennessee. “Again, we express appreciation for their efforts in reaching out to students, providing formative resources, answering our questions, addressing our concerns, truly listening to and acknowledging our opinions, and above all giving us the opportunity to have our collective voice heard.” Previous articleMore research needed on recreational marijuana, House determines Next articleVideo: What mobile apps help you practice better?