Transition to a Single GME Accreditation System History

From July 2015 to July 2020, the ACGME, American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) transitioned to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education (GME) in the US. The transition to a single GME accreditation system allows graduates of allopathic and osteopathic medical schools to complete their residency and/or fellowship education in ACGME-accredited programs and demonstrate achievement of common Milestones and competencies.

Since July 2015, filled post-graduate positions in previously AOA-approved programs grew 22 percent from 8,647 to 10,462 in 2020. In addition, 98 percent of previously-AOA-approved programs that applied for and completed the process for ACGME accreditation have achieved it.

Benefits of the single GME accreditation system include:

  • High-quality and uniform GME accreditation that enhances opportunities for residents and fellows and provides transparency to the federal government, licensing boards, US and international credentialing committees, and most importantly the public.
  • Increased collaboration among the medical education community to address the challenges facing GME for the benefit of all medical residents and fellows, and their patients.
  • Reduced costs and increased efficiencies by eliminating duplicative accreditation costs and reporting.
  • More choice for physicians interested in allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) accreditation pathways, eliminating the need for dual accreditation by both the ACGME and AOA.
  • Consistency across all residency/fellowship programs in evaluation methods and accountability standards, using specialty-specific Milestones for assessing the competence of residents/fellows graduating from all accredited US GME programs.
  • A uniform GME pathway for all US medical school graduates, allowing them to seek admission into any residency and fellowship program.
  • The preservation and protection of osteopathic medical education in the essential dimensions of the osteopathic tradition, including through AOA board certification, accreditation of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, and osteopathic licensing examinations.
  • Increased opportunities for osteopathic GME and recognition for all ACGME-accredited programs, which can now provide education in Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) to allopathic and osteopathic medical school graduates in designated positions in programs with ACGME Osteopathic Recognition; programs can receive designation for their osteopathic curricula through ACGME Osteopathic Recognition.

The ACGME now serves as the nation’s sole accreditor for both osteopathic and allopathic residencies and fellowships. The osteopathic profession is now fully integrated into the ACGME in terms of its processes, procedures, and governance, and opportunities have been established for expansion of OPP through the distinction of Osteopathic Recognition.

In addition to adding DOs to its Board of Directors and its Review and Recognition Committees, the ACGME established the Osteopathic Recognition Committee and a new Senior Leadership position in its administrative structure focused on osteopathic accreditation. The ACGME also now offers ACGME accreditation for programs in the specialty of osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine.

The ACGME, AOA, and AACOM remain committed to continued collaboration toward the shared goal of improving health care through the advancement of GME across all medical specialties, with a focus on promoting patient safety, learner education, and physician well-being.