As the country faces a projected shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians by the year 2020, osteopathic medical students are stepping up to fill that void.
CHICAGO, IL — Family medicine continues to be the largest matched specialty among osteopathic medical students, according to the National Matching Services, Inc., which recently announced the results of the 2012 osteopathic match.
Of the 2,373 individuals who participated in the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Intern/Resident Registration Program, 75% of students and recent graduates successfully matched for a total of 1,767 placements. Last year, there were 1,640 successful matches.
Primary care specialties of 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 with 373 positions filled.
"Each year an increasing number of osteopathic medical graduates are matched successfully into funded AOA residency positions. With the rate of annual increase noted and the success of the osteopathic post-match scramble, it is anticipated that virtually all available funded AOA positions will be filled in the next year or two," said Michael I. Opipari, DO, chair of the AOA Council on Postdoctoral Training. "In addition, we continue to see a significant increase in primary care specialty matches."
According to the AOA's 2011 Osteopathic Medical Profession Report, approximately half of osteopathic physicians (DOs) practice in the primary care areas, such as 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.
"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," said AOA President Martin S. Levine, DO. "Their contributions to all areas of medicine, including primary care, are essential in meeting our nation's health care needs. I wish the participants of this year's osteopathic match much success as they begin their new careers as practicing osteopathic physicians."