DO Match Day Yields Close to 1000 Primary Care Residents

Megan Brooks

February 07, 2018

More than 1600 osteopathic medical school seniors and graduates matched into osteopathic residencies in 25 specialties, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) announced on Tuesday.

Specialty choices in the match align with the osteopathic profession's long-standing emphasis on careers in primary care, with 55% choosing family and internal medicine, the AOA said. The following table shows the top five specialties by number of matches.

Specialty 2018 Total Number Matched Total Match by Specialty
Family medicine 503 30%
Internal medicine 426 25%
Emergency medicine 158 9%
General surgery 118 7%
Orthopedic surgery 115 7%
Other 360 22%


Altogether, 580 positions were filled in non–primary care specialties. More than 700 positions were not filled through the initial match process, although many of these positions will be filled in the days ahead, the AOA said. The percentage of participants who matched is 65.7%, which is slightly lower than past years.

In a report released last month, the AOA noted that the number of osteopathic medical students in the United States has grown 85% in the past 10 years, bringing the total number of DO students and physicians to 137,099 in 2017. There are now 34 DO schools in the United States operating at 49 sites. Enrollment has increased an average of 25% every 5 years, the AOA said.

For comparison, the number of students seeking MD degrees rose 18.6% from 2008 to 2017, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

In March 2017, the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) celebrated its largest residency Match Day ever. A record-high 35,969 US and international medical school students and graduates vied for 31,757 positions, the most ever offered for Match Day.

Although the number of osteopathic medical students has risen significantly over the years, the number of osteopathic graduate students moving into an AOA residency program is declining, the AOA said.

The AOA, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) are in the third year of a 5-year transition to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education. To date, nearly half of all osteopathic training programs have transitioned to ACGME accreditation. Most are expected to complete the process by the end of 2020.

DOs currently have a choice between multiple systems for postgraduate education. In the single accreditation system, most DO and MD students will participate in a unified NRMP, in which they will have the opportunity to choose residency programs that have received osteopathic recognition.

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