SOURCE: Western University of Health Sciences

Western University of Health Sciences

October 24, 2012 16:43 ET

MDs, DOs Announce Unified Residency System

POMONA, CA--(Marketwire - Oct 24, 2012) -  The dean of Western University of Health Sciences' flagship osteopathic medical college believes today's announcement that the systems governing osteopathic and allopathic medical residencies will merge is a positive move toward opening new residencies for osteopathic graduates in California.

"Osteopathically, we will be represented on the board that governs all residencies. Truly there will be a partnership between the two professions, distinct and equal, but working together. This is a huge step forward," said Clinton Adams, DO, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific.

Adams was commenting on the announcement earlier today that the two organizations responsible for the accreditation of graduate medical education in the U.S. -- the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) -- along with the Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), are joining in an effort to create a single, unified system for Graduate Medical Education (GME). If these efforts are successful, by July 2015, all GME in the U.S will be accredited by the ACGME, and the AOA and AACOM will become organizational members of the ACGME.

Graduate medical education is the period of clinical education in a specialty that follows graduation from medical school.

The announcement noted the ACGME currently accredits more than 9,000 programs in graduate medical education with about 116,000 resident physicians, including more than 8,900 osteopathic physicians (DOs). The AOA accredits more than 1,000 osteopathic graduate medical education programs with about 6,900 resident physicians, all DOs.

The transition to a unified system would be seamless so that residents in or entering current AOA accredited residency programs will be eligible to complete residency and/or fellowship training in ACGME accredited residency and fellowship programs.

"This is a watershed moment for medical training in the U.S.," Thomas Nasca, MD, MACP, chief executive officer of ACGME, said in the announcement. "This would provide physicians in the United States with a uniform path of preparation for practice. This approach would ensure that the evaluation and accountability for the competency of resident physicians are consistent across all programs."

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