Osteopathic medicine- excellence across the United States

Osteopathic medicine has enjoyed exponential growth over the past three decades while enrollment in MD schools has remained stagnant. In 1980, there were 17,620 practicing DOs and 1,059 DO graduates. In 2010, there are 63,000 practicing DOs and 3,845 DO graduates. The number of colleges of osteopathic medicine has increased from 15 to 26 colleges and 5 branch campuses. At least three schools and two branch campuses are being planned. Marian University in Indianapolis, IN, Campbell University at Buies Creek, NC, and Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan are applying for accreditation. Interestingly, because of the continuous growth, one in five medical students in the United States is currently enrolled in an osteopathic medical school. Thirty-two percent of the DO student body is made up by minority groups. By 2020, there will be 100,000 DOs practicing in the U.S., more than 6,000 DOs will graduate yearly, and one in four medical students will be DO students.

Across the nation, local communities have embraced and supported the development of new osteopathic medical schools:

  • Marian University, a Catholic, liberal arts university in Indianapolis, Indiana, is scheduled to open an osteopathic medical school in 2013. The project was made possible by a $30 million donation from a single anonymous donor. According to the Indiana Business Journal, “The University and the Indiana Osteopathic Association are scheduled to announce plans Friday to raise $75 million and enroll as many as 150 students in the first class.”1
  • South Alabama Medical Center in Dothan is investing $40 million to start a new osteopathic school on its campus in 2012 in order to respond to a physician shortage in the region.
  • The Board of Trustees at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina voted Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010 to authorize a feasibility study to consider the establishment of a College of Osteopathic Medicine, beginning with a charter class in August 2013.

A number of osteopathic hospitals have been ranked among the top hospitals in the United States. According to Thompson Reuters’ “Top 100 Hospitals” list in 2010 and the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP), several osteopathic hospitals are among the top 100 hospitals.

“Small Community Hospital” category:

  • Major Hospital in Shelbyville, IN.
  • Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville, CA
  • Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville, MO

“Medium Community Hospital” category:

  • St. Francis Hospital-Indianapolis
  • “Major Teaching Hospitals”:
  • Doctors Hospital in Columbus, OH

100 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals” in 2009:

  • Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA
  • Grandview Medical Center, Dayton, OH
  • Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals, Clinton Township, MI
  • Providence Hospital & Medical Center, Southfield, MI
  • St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital, Warren, MI

1 Wall, JK. “Marian University to Launch State’s Second Medical School.” Indiana Business Journal, January 15, 2010.

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3 Responses to Osteopathic medicine- excellence across the United States

  1. drumming207 says:

    "Branch campuses" are not the way to go. Eventually, all of these new DO students will be facing increased difficulty to match, as residencies have been capped at 1997 levels. Osteopathic schools are shooting themselves in the foot with this approach.

  2. eyedrd says:

    Competion fosters hardwork and better students. America is a land of opportunity. All graduates can find a place for training in the field they want to.

  3. Jacqui O. says:

    As an osteopathic medical student at a branch campus, I understand this concern, but I myself am not worried. I plan to go into internal medicine, and quite a few primary care slots are left unfilled every year (both osteopathic and allopathic). Additionally, like 30% of my colleagues at my particular school, I'm in the military, so I don't even plan on applying for a civilian residency. We do indeed need more residencies, but we also need better ways to motivate students to go into primary care. And we should analyze the data to see how many students are actually competing for the limited residencies, since a significant number of us pursue military, allopathic, or dual-accredited residencies instead of osteopathic ones. Is it just because there are too few osteopathic residencies, or do other issues (location, prestige, pay, quality of training) also factor in?

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