The answer to the primary care shortage

February 23, 2012

More osteopathic medical students are headed to family medicine post-graduate training than any other specialty, according to the American Osteopathic Association.

More osteopathic medical students are headed to family medicine postgraduate training than any other specialty, according to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

The AOA, reporting results from the National Matching Services Inc., announced that of the 2,373 individuals who participated in the AOA Intern/Resident Registration Program, 75% of students and recent graduates successfully matched for a total of 1,767 placements, 127 more than last year.

Family medicine saw a 16% increase and internal medicine saw a 21% increase from last year. Family medicine was the largest matched specialty with 433 positions filled. Last year family medicine also was the largest matched specialty.

According to the AOA’s 2011 Osteopathic Medical Profession Report, approximately half of osteopathic physicians (DOs) practice in family medicine and internal medicine. Historically, DOs have had a special commitment to providing primary care, particularly in the nation’s rural and underserved populations, according to the AOA.

“As one of 20 DOs in my family, I have seen the legacy of the osteopathic medical profession being carried on by many generations of osteopathic medical students,” AOA President Martin S. Levine, DO, said in a statement. “Their contributions to all areas of medicine, including primary care, are essential in meeting our nation’s healthcare needs.”

The AOA cites a finding from the Association of American Medical Colleges that the nation faces a projected shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians by the year 2020.

Upon earning degrees as doctors of osteopathic medicine, the graduates who were matched will begin their training programs July 1.

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