The growth of the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) profession is staggering, according to statistics presented by American Osteopathic Association (AOA) President Mark Baker, DO, at a student luncheon held at Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) in Suwanee yesterday. He noted that today there are more than 130,000 DO students and physicians in the United States. With 5,000 DO students graduating each year, he said in about seven years DOs will make up 20 percent of the physician workforce with 54 percent of them under the age of 45 and 46 percent female.
Donning sunglasses, he said, “Your future is very, very bright!”
The visit, sponsored by the Student Osteopathic Medical Association, included the luncheon, as well as a breakfast with the college’s DO student leaders and an informal gathering with the college’s faculty and staff members.
The growth in the number of DOs correlates to the number of osteopathic colleges in the United States, Dr. Baker said. Thirty years ago, there were eight colleges. Today there are 33 colleges of osteopathic medicine in 49 locations, a 312 percent increase, he said.
Dr. Baker discussed the transition to a single accreditation system for residency programs which means, by the year 2020, all osteopathic and allopathic medical students will participate in the same residency matching program through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. “Your opportunities are increasing,” he said.
At the breakfast meeting, leadership was discussed. Saying “yes” led to his current position, Dr. Baker explained. “Although we have three generations of DOs in our family and I felt I should give back, it was not my goal to be president of the AOA,” he said.
Not having held a leadership position in medical school, Dr. Baker said his path to the AOA presidency began from a position at the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association. “Somebody will give you a simple job. Do it to the best of your ability and it will be noticed.”
Dr. Baker is an osteopathic diagnostic radiologist from Fort Worth, Texas. In addition, he serves as a clinical associate professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of North Texas Health Science Center /Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM) in Fort Worth. Previously he served as acting chair and course director for the Department of Radiology and as a member of the teaching faculty for the Department of Gross Anatomy at UNTHSC/TCOM.
After earning his osteopathic medical degree from UNTHSC/TCOM, Dr. Baker completed a residency in diagnostic radiology at Fort Worth Osteopathic Medical Center. He has served as president of the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association. He is also a member of the American Osteopathic College of Radiology.
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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