The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) last November posted a report that may be very helpful to osteopathic medical students before they begin the match process in their fourth year. Only the second of its kind, the report presents data on graduates who matched into their first-choice specialties and those who did not.
As reported Dec. 27 in The DO, the publication of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the report’s measures include average scores and passing rates on the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) as well as depth of volunteer, research and work experience. The report covers AOA-approved programs in 21 specialties and the traditional rotating internship.
“It is very helpful for gauging how you measure up and seeing the relative weight programs give to volunteer, research and work experience,” fourth-year DMU student Roberto Fernandez, M.P.H., was quoted in The DO article.
(Not that Rob has much to worry about: Named AACOM’s 2012 National D.O. Student of the Year, he is a scholar in DMU’s Pathways of Distinction Program, and last summer he interned at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Heavily involved in research, community service and global health, he is also the national legislative affairs representative for the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP), the national student representative to the AOA Council on Osteopathic Post Graduate Training Institutes and the regional vice president for academic affairs and health policy for the Midwest Region of the Latino Medical Student Association.)
The AACOM report provides average COMLEX scores and number of volunteer experiences of participating graduates (2011) who matched into their first-choice specialty. It also reveals, as defined by the number of first-choice applicants per position the most competitive AOA-approved programs in 2011 (physical medicine and rehabilitation, anesthesiology and ophthalmology) and the least competitive (the traditional rotating internship, family medicine and internal medicine).
Hence, The DO article noted that Thomas Levitan, AACOM vice president for research and application services, suggests that candidates with weaker credentials “rank a number of programs in more than one specialty” and “consider programs that usually do not fill in less-competitive specialties.”
With the report finding that more than 300 positions in family medicine and more than 100 positions in internal medicine did not fill during the 2011 match, that seems to be sound advice.