Graduate medical education

DO representation on ACGME board expands in final year of transition to a single GME system

AOA training and certification are fully recognized credentials for those serving as ACGME program directors and faculty and for DOs entering ACGME-accredited fellowships.


Osteopathic representation on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Board of Directors and its review committees continues to expand, its CEO recently told the AOA House of Delegates.

“Osteopathic tradition is now codified in the ACGME, and its principles and practices are woven into the fabric of the organization,” said ACGME CEO Thomas Nasca, MD. “We have committed to incorporation of leadership from the osteopathic community, equal in numbers per organization to any other of our member organizations.”

ACGME bylaws were amended to include eight AOA and AACOM-nominated members on the ACGME Board of Directors in 2020. Currently, 67 DOs serve in ACGME leadership positions. Six DOs serve on its Board of Directors, with two sitting on its executive committee. Among the 67 DOs in leadership, four chair review committees and four serve as vice chairs, Dr. Nasca noted.

The number of DOs in ACGME-accredited residency positions has doubled over the past four years, hitting 21,927 in 2019, Dr. Nasca said.

Number of ACGME programs, positions grows

Osteopathic graduates entering pipeline programs—defined as residencies that lead to initial certification—rose from 2,153 in academic year 2008-09 to 5,965 during the 2019 Match. Over the same 10-year period, ACGME pipeline programs increased 28%, with 32,603 pipeline positions participating in the most recent NRMP Match.

In addition to increasing the number of pipeline programs, growing the number of residencies with osteopathic recognition is a priority. More than 200 programs currently have osteopathic recognition. Of them, 15% were historically ACGME-accredited programs.

“The programs do it because they believe osteopathic recognition will give them a better ability to recruit the kind of residents that they believe will successful in their programs, and that’s our DO graduates,” AOA Past President Boyd Buser, DO, liaison to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, told the House of Delegates.

“We expect that number to continue to rise over the next three to four years, as people become comfortable with and understand the nature of the systems and the processes for achieving osteopathic recognition,” Dr. Nasca explained.

Transition by the numbers

  • 85% of all filled AOA-accredited positions in 2015 are now ACGME-accredited
  • 75% of 1,244 AOA programs are ACGME-accredited or pre-accredited
    • 84% of 862 residency programs
    • 57% of 261 fellowships
    • 47% of 121 internships

All ACGME-accredited training programs, including fellowships, are now open to physicians who completed residency training in either an AOA-accredited or ACGME-accredited program, according to Dr. Nasca. AOA training and certification are recognized credentials for those who wish to serve as program directors and faculty in ACGME-accredited programs.

Related reading:

Single GME accreditation and the future of osteopathic medicine

Osteopathic training, certification recognized in new ACGME common program requirements


  1. Carl Shermetaro

    As a PD for an osteopathic otolaryngology residency program I have real concerns about the reduced number of programs in our profession as well as the AOA in general with the single accreditation process ending 6/2020. According to the above mentioned statistics, we already lost 311 programs (25% of 1244) and we do not have accurate number of how many DO programs have actual initial or full accreditation? These are the important numbers. Pre accreditation only means an application was submitted to ACGME. I feel the true numbers of AOA accreditation programs will be way lower by next june. I would be curious, 4 years in, how many of our programs actually have initial or full accreditation? It is disingenuous to quote 75% of our AOA programs have ACGME accreditation. In Otolaryngology , we will have lost 50% of our residency programs to this process. We were down to 18 spots in the country for our students to apply to for ENT.
    Just my thoughts.

    1. James Swartwout, AOA Senior Vice President of Education and Accreditation

      Hi Dr. Shermetaro,

      The number of AOA-accredited programs that have closed in the past four years mirror historical residency program closure rates. 876 of the original 1,244 AOA residency programs now have initial or full ACGME accreditation.

  2. Bernadette Kohn

    Kudos to this commitment to provide physician programs that provide the next generation with greater opportunities to be extraordinary, compassionate and diversified in their training programs.

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