Good news for Graduate Medical Education: Unified accreditation system on the way for GME

October 29, 2012

Work is under way to develop a unified graduate medical education (GME) system that would benefit medical students and the public by streamlining the system for becoming a licensed osteopathic physician.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) announced they are pursuing a single, unified accreditation system for graduate medical education programs beginning in 2015.

At that time, all U.S. GME programs would be accredited by the ACGME, with the AOA and AACOM as organizational members of ACGME.

"TCOM currently sponsors several ACGME and AOA accredited programs on its campus and in partnership with its affiliated hospitals," said Don Peska, dean of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine." We see this development as testimony to the quality of the educational experience and training our students receive and look forward to our continued participation with theses agencies to provide the best opportunities for our graduates."

The three organizations are discussing the process, format and timetable for accrediting all osteopathic GME programs now accredited by the AOA, a move that demonstrates ACGME’s acceptance of AOA graduate medical education.

Current and prospective medical students would benefit by:

  • Ensuring those who complete AOA-accredited GME will be eligible to complete residency and/or fellowship training in ACGME-accredited programs.
  • A single process to apply for residency training and a uniform path of preparation for practice.
  • An increased focus on GME competency-based curriculum and evaluation.
  • Improved collaboration and consistency in determining the competency of resident physicians.
  • Automatic designation of all osteopathic training programs as ACGME accredited.

In addition, the AOA and AACOM would become member organizations of ACGME, have seats on the ACGME Board and be ensured input into future discussions of accreditation standards.

Programs that have a uniquely osteopathic focus, such as those for neuromuscular medicine, would continue as ACGME-accredited programs.

The transition to a unified system would be seamless. Residents in or entering current AOA-accredited residency programs would be eligible to complete ACGME-accredited residencies and fellowships.

Graduate medical education is the period of clinical education (often in the form of internships, residencies and fellowships) that doctors pursue after graduation from medical school to prepare them for independent practice.

Currently, there are three options:

  • AOA-sponsored programs
  • ACGME-sponsored programs
  • A combination of the two (programs accredited by both organizations)

Most TCOM students (80 percent) participate in programs that are currently ACGME accredited.

Joint News Release from ACGME, AOA and AACOM

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