American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

The Single GME Accreditation System

In July 2014, the AOA House of Delegates voted to pursue a new, single accreditation system for graduate medical education in the U.S.​​ Read the statement from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

When fully implemented in July 2020, the new system will allow graduates of osteopathic and allopathic medical schools to complete their residency and/or fellowship education in ACGME-accredited programs and demonstrate achievement of common milestones and competencies.

The AOA strongly believes the public will benefit from a single standardized system to evaluate the effectiveness of GME programs for producing competent physicians. Through osteopathic-focused residency programs, the new GME accreditation system will recognize the unique principles and practices of the osteopathic medical profession and its contributions to health care. To learn more, view the AOA presentation outlining the goals, benefits and opportunities, and timeline of the single GME accreditation system. 

New Materials:

Implementation Updates:

​​Updated Sept. 15, 2015: The ACGME updated and reorganized the Single GME Accreditation System section on its website to provide greater ease of access to news items, important updates and critical resources to osteopathic programs pursuing application for ACGME accreditation.

The General Topics and Specialty-Specific presentations and webinars are listed on the ACGME website. After the three-month period of recording availability concludes for these webinars, the slide decks will be maintained indefinitely so that any future updates to the subject matter can be applied and incorporated into the presentations. These are also linked under the “Presentations” section on each specialty Review Committee web page as applicable.

Sept. 9, 2015: The ACGME is seeking comments on proposed revisions to program requirements for GME in Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine. Neuromusculoskeletal program directors are strongly encourage to provide their comments to the Review Committee via the official comment form​. The comment period will close on Oct. 14. 

Sept. 3, 2015: The ACGME began accepting accreditation applications from AOA institutions on April 1, 2015, and from AOA-approved programs on July 1, 2015. In addition, the ACGME began accepting applications for Osteopathic Recognition from both AOA-approved programs with pre-accreditation status and currently-ACGME-accredited programs on July 1.

The ACGME has made a strong commitment to the timely review of these applications and encourages programs to apply early in order to allow sufficient opportunity to achieve ACGME Initial Accreditation. As part of that commitment, the ACGME aims to provide an accreditation decision on each program application no later than one year from receipt of the application. For example, an application received by Sept. 30, 2015, would be reviewed, with the goal of communicating a decision by Oct. 1, 2016.

Please note that the Sept. 30, 2015, date is provided as an example only and is not a deadline for receipt of program applications. As stated in the Memorandum of Understanding among the ACGME, AOA, and AACOM, applications must be submitted in time to allow AOA-approved programs to achieve ACGME Initial Accreditation before the AOA ceases accreditation activities on June 30, 2020.

Programs needing help with the process are encouraged to contact the applicable ACGME Review Committee Executive Director​ as frequently as needed before submitting their applications.

Aug. 28, 2015: The AOA Board of Trustees last month approved several key postdoctoral standards to protect residents during the transition to the single GME accreditation system. 

Standard 10.5(a) states, “AOA programs that do not apply for ACGME accreditation cannot accept new trainees after July 1 of the year in which the resident can complete their training by June 30, 2020.” This means that AOA-accredited residency programs that have not entered into the ACGME accreditation process cannot accept a resident if the resident’s expected training completion date is after the AOA ceases its accreditation functions (June 30, 2020).  

The purpose of the standard is to protect the resident by giving some assurance they would complete their training in an accredited training program. For example, family practice programs are three years in length. Residents accepted on or before July 1, 2017, would be expected to complete their training by June 30, 2020. Residents accepted after July 1, 2017, would be expected to complete residency training after June 30, 2020. 

AOA programs that do not apply for ACGME accreditation cannot accept residents if the resident’s expected training completion date exceeds June 30, 2020. If an AOA-accredited family practice training program entered into the ACGME accreditation process on or before June 30, 2017, it would be able to accept residents on July 1, 2017. If the residency program planned to not recruit residents in 2017 but planned to accept students in July 1, 2018, the program could satisfy Standard 10.5(a) by entering into the ACGME accreditation process before July 1, 2018.

It is important to note that five-year and seven-year programs have not violated this policy. They accepted trainees before the policy was approved. The policy does not apply retroactively. Thus, Standard 10.5(a) does not apply retroactively to seven-year programs that accepted residents in 2014 or 2015, nor does it apply retroactively to five-year programs that accepted residents in 2015. However, the Standard does apply to these programs moving forward. Five-year and seven-year programs will need to enter into the ACGME accreditation process to accept residents henceforth. 

View a complete list of new transitional standards​

Aug. 28, 2015: The ACGME has announced 17 newly accredited institutional sponsors for the upcoming academic year. See the full list.

Aug. 14, 2015: As of this week, 22 ACGME Review Committees (RCs) have announced they will accept AOA certification as a qualification for program directors of osteopathic programs, and not require an ABMS-certified co-program director. Specialties include:

  • Allergy and Immunology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Dermatology
  • Diagnostic Radiology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Traditional Rotating Internship/Transitional Year

This list represents about 97% of osteopathic program directors. Two RCs will require co-directors – urology and neurosurgery – accounting for about 40 of AOA’s 1,205 programs. All program directors, whether DO or MD, must meet any other specialty-specific requirements to be approved.

July 17, 2015: View a video update on the implementation of the single graduate medical education accreditation system from AOA Trustee and President-elect Boyd R. Buser, DO, and Thomas J. Nasca, MD, Chief Executive Officer for ACGME. Dr. Buser and Dr. Nasca provided the update during the AOA's Annual Business Meeting.

Feb. 23, 2015: ACGME named Lorenzo Pence, DO, FACOFP, as its new Senior Vice President to oversee osteopathic program accreditation. In this position, Dr. Pence will ensure osteopathic medical standards are upheld as ACGME begins accepting osteopathic residency programs into its system.

Currently, Dr. Pence serves as associate dean for graduate medical education and professor of family medicine at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) in Lewisburg. He’s held comparable positions with the Des Moines (Iowa) University College of Osteopathic Medicine and what is now the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens. A graduate of WVSOM, Dr. Pence is an active member of numerous AOA committees focused on graduate medical education.

Feb. 13, 2015: At its meeting last weekend, the ACGME Board of Directors voted on nominations to a majority of its Residency Review Committees (RCs), including approving the first DO representatives to serve on the RCs. Information about Family Medicine and Anesthesiology RRC members is expected to be announced in June. View the list of appointees.

Feb. 9, 2015: The AOA and AACOM were recognized as full member organizations at the ACGME Board of Directors meeting today in Scottsdale, Arizona. There were unanimous votes of approval for the ONMM Review Committee standards and the standards for the Osteopathic Recognition Review Committee, which will incorporate the tenets of osteopathic medicine into the six ACGME core competencies.

Announcements are expected soon on DOs who have been selected to serve on ACGME Residency Review Committees, as well as the ACGME Senior Vice President selected to oversee osteopathic programs.

Jan. 16, 2015: Rapid progress is being made in transitioning to a single GME accreditation system. As of Jan. 1, the AOA and AACOM are member organizations of the ACGME. Four DOs have been elected to the ACGME Board: Karen J. Nichols, DO, and David Forstein, DO (nominated by the AOA); and Gary Slick, DO, and Clinton Adams, DO (nominated by AACOM). At the Osteopathic Medical Education Leadership Conference, held in Los Angeles last week, the first of three educational sessions took place to give hospital CEOs and GME program directors access to educational resources to begin preparing for the transition. Two more sessions will be held at the ACGME Annual Education Conference Pre-Conference (Feb. 26) and AACOM/AODME 2015 Joint Annual Conference (April 22-24).    

Dec. 4, 2014: Recent clarifications regarding the pathways to accreditation note that under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), AOA-accredited programs fall into three categories. Read more.

Nov. 14, 2014: The ACGME’s Osteopathic Principles Committee (OPC) and the Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal (ONMM) Review Committee today released proposed standards for ACGME osteopathic training.

The OPC’s draft standards for Osteopathic Recognition and the ONMM RC’s draft standards for the ONMM specialty are posted on the ACGME website

This past weekend, the ACGME Executive Committee approved the AOA’s nominees to serve on the new Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (ONMM) Review Committee:

  • Eric Hunter Sharp, DO
  • Natalie Nevins, DO
  • Lisa DeStefano, DO
  • Guy DeFeo, DO
  • William Thomas Crow, DO

The ONMM Review Committee (RRC) will oversee standards and programs that do not have a corresponding specialty in ACGME.  The appointments become effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Oct. 2014: The first four DOs representing the AOA and AACOM were elected to serve on the ACGME Board of Directors: Karen J. Nichols, DO; David A. Forstein, DO; Gary Slick, DO; and Clinton Adams, DO.  Their terms will take effect Jan 1, 2015, pending approval of the bylaws changes by ACGME member organizations.

Oct. 2014: Slate of candidates for the Osteopathic Principles Working Group approved by the ACGME Board. This group will become the inaugural Osteopathic Principles Committee pending approval of the bylaws changes by the ACGME member organizations.  

  • Juan Acosta, DO, Emergency Medicine, Washington
  • Natasha Bray, DO, Internal Medicine, Florida
  • Robert Cain, DO, Internal Medicine/Pulmonary Medicine, Ohio
  • Jane Carreiro, DO, Family Practice/NMM, Maine
  • Millicent King-Channell, DO, Family Medicine/NMM/OMM, Pennsylvania
  • Alissa Craft, DO, Pediatrics/Neonatal Perinatal Medicine, New York
  • John Dougherty, DO, Family Medicine, Missouri
  • Robert Hasty, DO, Internal Medicine, North Carolina
  • Ken Heiles, DO, Family Medicine, Arkansas
  • Anthony Ottaviani, DO, Internal Medicine/Pulmonary Medicine, Florida
  • George Pasquarello, DO, NMM/OMM/Pain Medicine, Rhode Island
  • Mike Rowane, DO, Family Medicine/NMM/OMM, Ohio
  • Karen Snider, DO, NMM/OMM, Missouri

Sept. 24, 2014: Hosted collaborative webinar with the American Hospital Association with the AOA and the ACGME to share information on the single GME accreditation system with hospital CEOs who have osteopathic GME programs. View webinar.

Sept. - Oct. 2014: Submitted the names of DO nominees to serve on the ACGME’s Residency Review Committees. The ACGME will make their selections in the coming months.

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