DO Student Enrollment Increases Nationwide

New OU-HCOM Cleveland Campus Part of Growth

(October 23, 2015) New student enrollment (first year) at the nation’s colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) increased by 3.5 percent from fall 2014, according to data released this week by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). This rise in first-year matriculation brings the preliminary fall 2015 total student enrollment at US COMs to 26,121—a 6.3 percent increase from the official total enrollment in fall 2014.

Much of this growth is attributed to the creation of two newly-accredited teaching locations—the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Auburn (VCOM-Auburn) and the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) Cleveland campus—which enrolled inaugural classes in fall 2015.

"As a distinct form of medical practice that continues to attract an increasing number of students throughout the United States, osteopathic medicine is leading the way in preparing the physician of the future,” said AACOM President/CEO Stephen C. Shannon, DO. “Through innovative training models that focus on developing quality, patient-centered care, osteopathic medical schools are equipping future DOs with the competencies they need to meet the rapidly changing demands of our health care system.”

Among the key findings from AACOM’s preliminary Fall 2015 enrollment report:

  • The total number of paid applicants to one or more COMs climbed from 18,177 in 2014 to 20,670 this year—an uptick of 13.7 percent.
 
  • The preliminary number of DO students graduating from medical colleges between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, rose from 4,997 to 5,314—an increase of 6.3 percent.
 
  • A total of 7,025 students began their osteopathic medical education (OME) at one of the 31 DO-granting medical schools that educate students at 44 U.S. locations in 29 states.

Recent data also suggests that a substantial number of DO graduates over the past three years either plan to pursue primary care, or plan to practice in areas impacted by a shortage of health professionals. According to the AACOM Annual Survey of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine nearly half of DO graduates in 2012 and 2013 placed in GME (residency) programs in the primary care specialties of family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics. Data in the report was provided by the nation’s osteopathic medical schools as of September 24, 2015, and represents preliminary findings. Official findings are due January 2016.

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