We’re at the mid-way point in the five-year transition to a single GME accreditation system—and this is our third pre-conference for osteopathic residency and fellowship programs. A lot has happened in the last few years, and we’re excited to be meeting once again with the folks who are here in Orlando for the first time, as well as those from programs that are fully-accredited by the ACGME. We’re proud of our expanding family—not just on the program side, but also on the accreditation and governance side.
The ACGME was founded in 1981, growing out of the AMA and four other sponsor organizations (AAMC, ABMS, AHA, and CMSS) that all nominated members to the Review Committees overseen by the ACGME and to the ACGME’s Board of Directors. These five organizations, while now called “member organizations,” are really more nominating organizations. The member organizations are corporately separate from the ACGME, and do not participate in accreditation, pay dues, or make any other monetary contribution to the ACGME.
In 2014, as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the ACGME, AOA, and AACOM, the AOA and AACOM became ACGME member organizations. Our Board of Directors now has Directors nominated by both organizations, as well as members on every Review Committee. Additionally, the ACGME created two new committees: the Review Committee for Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (a new specialty for the ACGME) and the Osteopathic Principles Committee (a Recognition Committee that conducts peer review of accredited programs’ educational program in Osteopathic Principles and Practice).
We have been working shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues at the AOA and AACOM for the last several years, getting to understand each accreditation system, language, requirements, and ways of working. We’re getting pretty good at understanding each other’s particular language at this point, and many of us consider ourselves fluent in both languages: osteopathic and allopathic! These people are more than just partners in accreditation—they are colleagues who share our common mission!
For example, the ACGME has partnered with the AODME (Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators) to create and host this pre-conference. An exciting change this year is that the AODME has reconcepted as AOGME (Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators) and is now integrated into AACOM.
One great thing about attending the ACGME Annual Educational Conference is catching up with people we maybe don’t see as often as we’d like, like Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President and CEO of AACOM. We caught up with Dr. Shannon to learn a little more about what’s happening at AACOM.
Q. The new year brings a new start for the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) with the integration of the Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators (AOGME). Talk a little about the vision for this move and how it will help AACOM’s larger mission.
SS: We are thrilled about the launch of AOGME (formerly the Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators) within AACOM, which occurred at the beginning of this year. AACOM represents the 34 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States, and now also represents leaders in osteopathic graduate medical education. This strongly positions AACOM and osteopathic medicine to respond to the transforming health care system. It is breaking down the walls between undergraduate and graduate medical education and unifying leadership in both worlds, which I believe is important to respond to the evolving health care system. In addition, this effort will bring residents and fellows within AACOM through AOGME membership. Through this effort, we will continue to promote excellence in medical education, research, and service across the full continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the American public.
Q. This is our second jointly run pre-conference for osteopathic programs. The agenda is full, with a lot to cover for everyone—from those just learning about ACGME accreditation to those programs and institutions that are fully accredited by the ACGME. What are you most looking forward to this year? Or talk about these pre-conferences in general.
SS: Since 2014, AACOM, has worked closely with the ACGME and AOA on a variety of educational efforts related to the single accreditation system in several committees. We are very pleased to be part of this particular joint effort, initially started with the AODME—now AOGME—to work with the ACGME on the pre-conference for osteopathic programs and institutions. For the past two years, this joint pre-conference has provided key resources and opportunities for osteopathic programs and institutions to learn about the single accreditation system and importantly, how to achieve and maintain osteopathic accreditation. This year’s program is certainly not an exception, with a robust and relevant agenda, distinguished speakers, and breakout sessions. Given that we are past the half-way mark for the transition and many programs have achieved initial accreditation, I am looking forward to hearing about the transition of programs to continued accreditation and how to prepare for that phase of the process. We are certainly proud to a part of this effort. We will welcome members at a reception after the pre-conference workshop to celebrate the launch of AOGME at 4:30 p.m. in the Headwaters Lounge on the Lobby Level of the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort before the Exhibit Hall opening.
Q. On a day-to-day basis, you work most closely with medical students training to become DOs. Talk a little bit about what they think of the new opportunities brought about by the transition to a single GME accreditation system.
SS: The single accreditation system is the future. For years, we observed trends of osteopathic medical students applying and matching into ACGME-accredited programs, and with the exponential growth of osteopathic schools and graduates, this was the next logical step. The single accreditation system affords osteopathic medical students (graduates of COCA-accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine) and now LCME-graduates the opportunity to train in ACGME-accredited programs with Osteopathic Recognition. Osteopathic training in GME is something that the majority of our students indicate they are interested in pursuing. With the growing interest and applications for Osteopathic Recognition, we are excited and positive about the future where both DOs and MDs are benefiting from osteopathic medicine. Our students are also looking forward to a more streamlined residency application and match process, which by 2020, will be in place.