On June 1st, 2012, the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) at Midwestern University in Glendale held commencement ceremonies honoring 228 new Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). The AZCOM Class of 2012 was the largest graduating class yet from Arizona's largest medical school, reflecting a national trend as osteopathic medical colleges graduate more students than ever before.
The nation's colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) are graduating roughly 4,500 students this spring, 9 percent more than last year's 4,159 graduating osteopathic medical students, and 56 percent more than the 2,536 students who graduated from osteopathic medical schools a decade ago. The number of graduates is projected to continue to increase, with an estimated 5,300 students graduating each year by 2015. Additionally, new COMs in Alabama, North Carolina, and Indiana are slated to open in 2013. This marked expansion of new osteopathic physicians could help mitigate future physician shortages.
"Growth in the number of osteopathic medical students and graduates is evidence that the primary care-based, patient-centered, prevention-focused philosophy of osteopathic medicine rings true with aspiring physicians and aligns with the type of care all should have," says Stephen C. Shannon, D.O., M.P.H., President and CEO, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). "Osteopathic medicine has emerged as a leading force in the changes needed in the nation's health care system."
The osteopathic medical profession employs a patient-centered, holistic approach to health care, with an emphasis on primary care and preventive medicine. Osteopathic physicians enjoy the same rights and privileges as allopathic physicians (M.D.s) and possess an additional skill to treat patients: osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). By combining OMM with traditional medical approaches, D.O.s provide patients with the most comprehensive care available today.For more information on AZCOM and its D.O. degree program, click here.