If you're an allopathic/MD Medical school, this may affect you a little bit, but not as much as this would affect DO students. In July of 2020, the AOA, AACOM, and ACGME will form a single GME Accreditation system.
What this means for DO students is something that not a lot of schools are warning their students of. So if you're a premed entering osteopathic medical school or you're a 1st year or 2nd year osteopathic medical student, this is something you need to hear.
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Previously, there have been two accreditation systems - the AOA for the DOs and the ACGME for the MD residency programs and fellowships. As an MD medical student, you could only apply to ACGE (MD) residency programs. As a DO student, you could apply to both AOA and ACGME. As an MD student, you can only apply to one.
In July 2020, once this goes up and running, that restriction for MD graduates to only apply to ACGME programs will go away. The safe haven that DO students that have had with DO only residencies is also going away.
If you are a weaker DO student, with weaker board scores and weaker grades, weaker recommendations ore reviews through your clinical rotations, you may have potentially been sheltered and given a spot at a DO residency because there was this force field where MD graduates couldn't apply to these programs. And that is now going away.
This is not a bad thing though. But what this will do is that as you are going through this process, and as you're going through medical school, you need to work your tail off and leave nothing behind.
"Leave nothing on the table as you go through this process."
Nobody ever says they've studied too much. The regret is only about not studying enough. If you're a DO student, you need to work your tail off. Crush your classes to give you the foundation to crush your boards.
When you went to medical school, MCAT and GPA were huge! But personal statements are super important as well as the extracurriculars and interviews. When it comes to residency, your Step 1/ Level 1 score would be the make or break aspect of your application. You need to interview well as the process in residency is completely different than medical schools. You need to have the board scores. You need to have the grades to do well in the match.
"If you're a weak DO student, you're now at a huge disadvantage because that protective program that you thought you would be safe at is now open to MD graduates."
This actually applies to not just U.S. graduates. There are thousands upon thousands of international medical graduates, which are both U.S. citizen and non-U.S. citizen graduates applying to residencies every year who don't get the spot. A lot of these students are really good. But they're international graduates so they've always been a rundown than everybody else. But with this new system, as a DO student, your competition has just gone through the roof.
Time will tell as to how this will all play out. But there's a potential risk that weaker DO students are now going to be at a severe disadvantage for finding residency spots because of this influx in MD applicants into what has been known as DO only programs.
"Now is your time to turn your game up and work your tail off to do as well as you can."
You need to work your tail off in medical school. This goes both ways to MD and DO students. If you're still premed, you should be working your tail off too preparing for your application. Potentially, this has huge ramifications for DO students with the match and applying to specialties.
If you're starting osteopathic medical school soon and if you're first or second year in osteopathic medical school, hopefully this will open up your eyes to what may be coming with this "merger." It's not all roses and sunshine like a lot of osteopathic medical schools are painting it out to be. There could be some rough waters in the future for the lower, less qualified DO applicants to residency programs. Again, work your tail off so that you aren't one of those students. And make those residency programs want you because you have the stats that shine and you have everything else that goes along with that.
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