Identifying Attitudes Toward and Acceptance of Osteopathic Graduates in Surgical Residency Programs in the Era of Single Accreditation: Results of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons Medical Student Section Questionnaire of Program Directors

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Purpose The purpose of this study was to quantify the number of surgical programs currently training osteopathic residents and to solicit advice for current osteopathic medical students who are interested in pursuing a surgical residency. Methods A questionnaire was sent to all listed Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®) email contacts for the following specialties: General Surgery, Neurological Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Urology, Integrated Vascular Surgery, Integrated Plastic Surgery, and Integrated Thoracic Surgery. The questionnaire was sent a total of three times. Results Two hundred sixty-four of the 1,040 surgical residency programs responded to the questionnaire. Of these responses, 19% were formerly American Osteopathic Association (AOA) accredited programs. About 47.3% of responding programs indicated they are not currently training an osteopathic physician. One hundred thirteen programs provided additional comments on how osteopathic medical students may improve the competitiveness of their residency applications. These comments included increasing volumes of research activities, performing well on the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE), and completing a sub-internship in the desired field or at a specific institution. Conclusion Osteopathic students still face many barriers to matching into surgical residencies. This study provides concrete steps students may take to increase the competitiveness of their application.