In the early 1990s, leaders in Alabama identified the need for more primary care physicians in the state, and in 2005, after years of coordinating activities to accomplish this goal, formed the Alabama Medical Education Consortium (AMEC), a 501(c) organization to help increase the production of these physicians across the state through the osteopathic medical education system. AMEC conducted a feasibility study which demonstrated that more than 60 percent of osteopathic medical students chose primary care careers as compared to 20 percent of allopathic medical students.
Over the next five years, AMEC built an extensive osteopathic teaching network in Alabama to provide third and fourth year training to medical students and created a Physician Pipeline to recruit Alabama students for enrollment in out-of-state osteopathic colleges. This required developing partnerships with 10 out-of-state colleges of osteopathic medicine, 26 state colleges and all state community colleges. In partnership with out-of-state Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, AMEC established an educational infrastructure that represents substantial clinical resources to provide clerkship rotations for Alabama students, as well as students from other states, enrolled in their programs. This educational infrastructure continues to expand and now includes over 400 Alabama physicians from communities throughout the state and 47 hospitals that include 15 core teaching sites and 42 educational sites.
After careful research and examination, AMEC and the Houston County Health Care Authority, the operator of Southeast Alabama Medical Center (SAMC), determined that it would be feasible for the state to develop its own college of osteopathic medicine to address the shortage of primary care physicians in the state. Thus, the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM), a non-profit, private institution, was established in May 2010.
ACOM received its Private School licensure from the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education in December 2011, and provisional accreditation with the ability to recruit students from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation on July 1, 2012. ACOM is building a free-standing facility in Dothan. Construction was completed in May 2013, and the college celebrated its historic grand opening on July 29, 2013. ACOM’s inaugural class began classes on August 5, 2013, and will graduate in 2017.