Attitudes of Family Medicine Program Directors Toward Osteopathic Residents Under the Single Accreditation System

J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2017 Apr 1;117(4):216-224. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2017.039.


Background: Between 2015 and 2020, residency programs accredited through the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) are preparing the single graduate medical education (GME) system through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Objectives: (1) To assess the attitudes of family medicine program directors in programs accredited dually by the AOA and ACGME (AOA/ACGME) or ACGME only toward the clinical and academic preparedness of osteopathic residency candidates and (2) to determine program director attitudes toward the perceived value of osteopathic-focused education, including osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) curricula.

Methods: A survey was sent to program directors of AOA/ACGME and ACGME-only accredited family medicine residency programs. Items concerned program directors' perception of the academic and clinical strength of osteopathic residents at the onset of residency, the presence of osteopathic faculty and residents currently in the program, and the presence of formal curricula for teaching OMT. The perceived value of osteopathic focus was obtained through a composite score of 5 items.

Results: A total of 38 AOA/ACGME family medicine residency program directors (17%) and 211 ACGME family medicine residency program directors (45.6%) completed the survey (N=249). No difference was found in the ranking of the perceived clinical preparation of osteopathic residents vs allopathic residents in programs with and without OMT curricula (P=.054). Directors of programs with OMT curricula perceived the academic preparation of their osteopathic residents vs allopathic residents more highly than those without OMT curricula (P=.039). Directors of AOA/ACGME programs perceived both the academic preparation and clinical preparation of their osteopathic residents more highly than those at ACGME-only programs (P=.004 and P=.002, respectively).

Conclusion: Directors of AOA/ACGME programs, as well as those whose programs have an osteopathic focus in curricular offerings, were more likely to rank the academic preparation of osteopathic residents higher than directors of ACGME-only programs and those without OMT curricula. Further research is needed to determine the value of osteopathic recognition in attracting strong family medicine residency candidates.

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation / standards*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / organization & administration
  • Faculty, Medical / organization & administration
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Osteopathic Medicine / education*
  • Physician Executives*
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States