The AOA is currently the only accrediting body for osteopathic graduate medical education (OGME) programs. However, the AOA, along with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), have agreed to a single GME accreditation system, with all AOA-accredited training programs transitioning to ACGME recognition and accreditation between July 1, 2015 and June 20, 2020. Read more about this transition and view Frequently Asked Questions.
Under the current accreditation system, the AOA reviews and approves all osteopathic training programs, develops and approves training standards, establishes policy, sets requirements for program inspections and develops and approves program forms and applications, including the Application for a New Residency Training Program application.
The AOA also approves dual and parallel osteopathic training programs in settings that have allopathic (MD) training programs accredited by ACGME. A dual program is a residency that is accredited by both the AOA and ACGME. Osteopathic residents in dual programs receive AOA credit and may receive ACGME credit at the discretion of the ACGME program.
A parallel program is an AOA-approved training program that is conducted alongside an ACGME program in the same specialty and hospital. The programs and trainees in parallel programs are separately approved and registered by their respective accrediting body, the AOA or ACGME. In parallel programs, osteopathic trainees receive only AOA credit.
The primary difference between dual and parallel programs is that trainees who complete dual programs have the option of becoming board certified by either or both the AOA and the American Board of Medical Specialties. Trainees completing parallel programs are eligible to become AOA Board certified.
As the accrediting body, the AOA establishes basic requirements, policies and procedures for OGME programs to ensure that residents receive the training they need to deliver high quality patient care. Among these requirements are:
The Basic Standards for Postdoctoral Training for all AOA accredited training programs. Key terms in GME, payment and accreditation are defined in a glossary in the Basic Standards.
The Common Institutional and Program Requirements, which provide a streamlined summary of standards that apply to all specialty programs.
An institutional core competency plan, which facilitates the creation of an internal hospital process that includes planned compliance and evaluation activities.
The osteopathic specialty standards, which set forth specialty-specific requirements for training in each osteopathic specialty.
A table showing length of training for the internship and all osteopathic residencies.
The application for a new training program, which outlines the process and the information, documentation and submission requirements.
A summary manual for directors of medical education (DMEs), program directors and program coordinators, which contains detailed information about key requirements and processes such as the Osteopathic Match, the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), the Opportunities database, the Trainee Information, Verification and Registration Audit (TIVRA), and the program inspection process.
A GME Resource Manual also is available to help new teaching hospitals get started. This manual was developed by the Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators (AODME), a national membership organization of osteopathic medical educators and an AOA affiliate.