The transition to a single US graduate medical education (GME) accreditation system—the culmination of a five-year transition that began in July 2015 with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the ACGME, American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)—concluded in June 2020. The MOU provided a roadmap for integration of the osteopathic educational tradition into the ACGME accreditation system; as the osteopathic accreditor of GME, the AOA phased out the accreditation of GME programs. This included:
During a five-year transition period beginning in July 2015, institutions and programs solely accredited by the AOA had to demonstrate substantial compliance with relevant ACGME requirements through an application for accreditation. Ninety-eight percent of previously-AOA-approved programs that applied and completed the application process for ACGME accreditation during the transition period have achieved it. Since July 2015, filled post-graduate positions in previously-AOA-approved programs grew 22 percent to 10,462 in 2020.
The ACGME’s accreditation model preserves the osteopathic medical education continuum, by integrating the opportunity to offer and receive osteopathic education within ACGME-accredited residency and fellowship programs, while maintaining the other aspects of the continuum (accreditation of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, AOA certifying boards, osteopathic licensing examinations, etc.). It also allows all US medical school graduates to complete their residency and/or fellowship education in ACGME-accredited programs and demonstrate achievement of common Milestones and competencies.
Benefits of this single GME accreditation system include:
The ACGME, AOA, and AACOM remain committed to continued collaboration toward the shared goal of improving health care through the advancement of GME across all medical specialties, with a focus on promoting patient safety, learner education, and physician well-being.
To learn more about osteopathic medicine, view a series of videos presented by former ACGME Board Chair and osteopathic physician Dr. Karen Nichols in the ACGME’s online learning portal, Learn at ACGME.