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Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training Institutions: A Decentralized Model for Facilitating Accreditation and Program Quality

Peska, Don N. DO, MEd; Opipari, Michael I. DO; Watson, D Keith DO

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181a43ac3
Osteopathic Medicine and Medical Education

Osteopathic medicine has experienced significant growth in the number of accredited colleges and graduates over the past decade. Anticipating that growth and recognizing a responsibility to provide sufficient opportunities for quality postdoctoral training, the American Osteopathic Association created a national network of educational consortia to meet the needs of those graduates. These osteopathic postdoctoral training institutions (OPTIs) were to provide enhanced capability for the development and accreditation of new programs, quality oversight, and access to academic resources for their members. The plan reached full implementation in 1999 when all graduate training programs were required to become members of one of these consortia. Although several contributing factors can be considered, an increase in the rate at which training programs have obtained approval by the American Osteopathic Association has occurred under the OPTI model. Quality indicators are more elusive. Each OPTI provides peer-driven oversight to curriculum and faculty development and closely monitors outcomes such as in-service examination scores, certification board passage rates, and resident evaluations of programs.

The strategy has enabled a much-sought-after transformation in osteopathic graduate medical education that has provided both strength and accountability to the preexisting infrastructure. As a decentralized accreditation model, OPTI is still evolving and warrants continued application and study.

Dr. Peska is associate dean for educational programs, University of North Texas Health Science Center/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and academic officer of the Texas OPTI, Fort Worth, Texas.

Dr. Opipari is chairman, Council on Osteopathic Postdoctoral Training, American Osteopathic Association, Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Watson is associate dean for graduate medical education, Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine/Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education, Athens, Ohio.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Peska, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd., Ft. Worth, TX 76107; e-mail: (dpeska@hsc.unt.edu).

© 2009 Association of American Medical Colleges