The April COCA Meeting was full of important conversations and valuable updates. Here is a summary of what our SOMA leaders learned.

A presentation by AACOM about the Match/placement process showed us that the final placement rate for osteopathic medical students was 98.75%. This means that 98.75% of osteopathic medical students graduating this year have residency or internship positions lined up for next year. This number is down from 99.34% last year. Two new COMs graduated their first class this year.

We also heard some of the latest numbers about the transition to a Single Accreditation System (SAS). 641 programs that were previously accredited by the AOA now have ACGME accreditation. An additional 71 programs are in Pre-Accreditation, which means they are actively being reviewed and many of these programs will likely receive ACGME accreditation in the coming year. 119 programs have closed since 2015 and an additional 57 will be closing. With this last statistic it is important to keep in mind that historically 44 programs on average close every year, and that some degree of program closure may be considered regular turnover. New GME programs are also actively being created by new and existing COMs, and these numbers are not factored into the numbers above.

Tough questions were also asked about the role of COMLEX vs. USMLE in the residency application process. Commissioners urged ACGME to take an active role in setting standards for Program Directors to accept COMLEX scores.

COCA, AACOM and the AOA all pledged their sincere commitment to addressing sexual harassment. They are looking at ways to bring about culture change, and are undergoing a thorough review of standards to see where changes could be made to ensure the highest standards of professionalism at our COMs and reduce any barriers to reporting violations of those professionalism standards. These three bodies actively seek input from students on how they could makes changes. SOMA will continue to be a part of these conversations and we welcome your input.

Diversity was also a central theme at the COCA meeting. The AOA discussed how it is vital for us to have a physician workforce that is representative of the populations we serve, and that the consequence of not addressing this lack of diversity in our profession is poor health outcomes for our patients. Dr. Baker specifically cited the low number of African American men enrolled in medical schools (6.5%) and expressed that we have to do better.

We also heard testimony from LECOM, LUCOM, NSU-KPCOM, UNECOM, ICOM, KCU Joplin, ATSU-SOMA, RVUCOM-SU, UIWSOM, and MSU, following their accreditation visits.

Overall, COCA’s Spring Meeting was productive and informative!