American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

The Single GME Accreditation System

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The American Osteopathic Association (AOA), American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) are currently transitioning to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education in the U.S. 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. Through osteopathic-focused residency programs, the new system will recognize the unique principles and practices of the osteopathic medical profession and its contributions to health care. 

Information For Members

The AOA remains dedicated to helping its members navigate the transition as it progresses. View detailed updates on accreditation processes and the latest information for students & residents and educational stakeholders.

For more information, the ACGME has updated its online Single GME Accreditation System section to provide greater ease of access to news items, important updates and critical resources to osteopathic programs pursuing ACGME accreditation.

View the Board Certification Chart to learn more about AOA and ABMS training eligibility requirements for specialty certification during the five-year transition period to a single GME accreditation system. The AOA provides a pathway for osteopathic physicians (be they AOA or ACGME trained) to sit for AOA board examinations in the areas for which it certifies. For AOA programs that achieve ACGME accreditation during the transition, all current osteopathic residents will receive AOA approval following completion of training, which will satisfy the AOA board training eligibility requirements.  During the transition, the ABMS boards will offer certification to osteopathic physicians under specific circumstances (summarized in the chart). Individuals seeking ABMS certification should monitor relevant ABMS board websites for any changes in policy. Note that the rules for entering advanced ACGME training are established by the ACGME. Those rules may allow a trainee to enter advanced ACGME training, but do not guarantee the trainee would be eligible to sit for the ABMS board examination.

News & Announcements

  • Oct. 13, 2017: Program directors can access single GME accreditation system transition materials from the ACGME's recent annual educational conference online through the ACGME Bridge. Learn more in The DO.

  • Oct. 4, 2017: A recent article published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that more than two-thirds of osteopathic medical students, residents and faculty surveyed consider osteopathic recognition important. Among the students surveyed, 80% believe that osteopathic recognition is important. Learn more by reading the JAOA article or related coverage from The DO.

  • Sept. 26, 2017: Emergency medicine program directors can view the AOA's webinar on how osteopathic emergency medicine programs can transition into the single GME accreditation system. The webinar also addresses the benefits of applying for osteopathic recognition. View webinar.

  • Aug. 31, 2017: Proposed changes to Section X: AOA Program Accreditation during Transition to Single GME Accreditation System could impact the eligibility of some training programs to participate in the 2019 AOA Match and the ability to accept new trainees. Feedback from specialty colleges, osteopathic postdoctoral training institutions (OPTIs), directors of medical education, and program directors is very important to the AOA. The comment period closes Oct. 16, 2017. View the proposed changes and submit a comment.

  • Aug. 4, 2017: View the updates on the transition to a single GME accreditation system that were given by ACGME CEO Thomas J. Nasca, MD, and 2015-16 AOA President Boyd R. Buser, DO, during the AOA House of Delegates Meeting on Friday, July 21.

  • July 13, 2017: ACGME CEO Thomas J. Nasca, MD; AOA President Boyd R. Buser, DO; and ACGME board member Karen Nichols, DO, will give an update on the transition to a single GME accreditation system during the AOA's House of Delegates meeting on Friday, July 21. Content from the update will be posted on the AOA's Annual Business Meeting page.

  • March 27, 2017: The AOA, ACGME and AACOM reached an agreement this week to protect residents as part of the transition to the single GME accreditation system. The three organizations recognize there may be unique circumstances whereby some residency programs make a good faith effort to achieve ACGME accreditation, but still haven’t transitioned successfully to ACGME accreditation by the deadline of June 30, 2020. The agreement will give the AOA restricted authority to extend the AOA accreditation date to allow any remaining resident in such programs to complete training in an accredited program. Questions about this agreement can be directed to singlegme@osteopathic.org.

  • Feb. 3, 2017: Looking toward the full transition to a single GME accreditation system in 2020, training programs may not accept new trainees if their training would be completed after June 30, 2020, unless those programs have submitted an application for ACGME accreditation. Learn more.

  • Sept. 13, 2016: In an update on the single GME accreditation system, AOA President Boyd R. Buser, DO, addressed a paper written by Norman Gevitz, PhD, in which Dr. Gevitz provides his perspective on the progress of the transition. Dr. Buser notes that the paper does not reflect the facts, an accurate understanding of the single accreditation system structure or match process, or the current environment that led to the decision to pursue a single system for GME. Read Dr. Buser's complete letter​ or view AACOM's response to Dr. Gevitz's paper.

  • July 22, 2016: Boyd R. Buser, DO, and Thomas J. Nasca, MD, chief executive officer of ACGME, presented an update on the single GME accreditation system to the AOA House of Delegates. View or download Dr. Buser's and Dr. Nasca's presentation slides.

  • March 22, 2016: ​​The ACGME has published a collection of resources to help guide programs through the process of applying for ACGME accreditation. The video guide, “Completing an ACGME Program Application,” can be viewed on Vimeo

  • Jan. 11, 2016: The ACGME announced that many fellowships will now accept the COMLEX-USA examination on equal footing with the USMLE. This change is specifically related to the "exceptionally qualified candidate" provision included in the ACGME's new Common Program Requirements. If an individual applies to a fellowship program based on this provision and has successfully completed Levels 1, 2 and 3 of COMLEX-USA, he/she will not be required to take the USMLE. This only applies to residents who graduate from a residency program with pre-accreditation, and not all subspecialties accept the exceptionally qualified candidate pathway. The ACGME will be issuing guidelines to assist fellowship program directors in determining whether individual applicants are eligible for appointment. Eligibility criteria for every ACGME-accredited subspecialty can be reviewed on the ACGME’s website.

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