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The Most DO-Friendly Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Programs in the US

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by Yousmle Staff in Residency

Are you wondering how DO-friendly (or unfriendly) Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is as a US medical specialty? Do you want to know your chances of matching in this highly competitive field? Would you love to figure out what Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation programs a DO would stand the best chance?

This article will give you the most up-to-date information on DO-friendly Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation programs. Use this information to strategize on whether – and where – to apply to maximize your chances of matching as a DO in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.


  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is a competitive US medical specialty but there are DO-friendly residency programs
  • Most residency programs accept at least some DOs, while others are DO favored
  • Some Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation programs favor DOs with some filling all spots with DOs (Cleveland Clinic and Oklahoma State).
  • See the full list of searchable residency programs to strategize where DOs have recently been the most welcome
  • Be sure to bookmark this page – and sign up for the newsletter – to keep up with the latest residency and USMLE trends and maximize your chances of matching

Table of Contents

What’s the Difference Between a DO and an MD?

Let’s start with some definitions.

DO: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Licensed physicians trained in “whole body” wellness and treatment techniques in muscle and joint manipulation in addition to mainstream treatments.
Allopathy Vs. Osteopathy

In the US, there are two main branches of registered physicians:

  • Allopathy: In this path, doctors train in modern, sometimes referred to as “Western”, medicine to treat symptoms and diseases. Doctors who train in this branch are licensed as Doctors of Medicine (MD)
  • Osteopathy: These doctors have the same education and licensing exams as MDs but have additional muscle and joint manipulation training. Doctors who train in Osteopathy are licensed as Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and have the same residency training and choices as MDs.

To begin practicing medicine, DOs and MDs must take specific licensing exams:

  • COMLEX-USA: This test assesses osteopathic medical knowledge and allopathic medical knowledge to become licensed as a DO in the USA.
  • USMLE: This test assesses allopathic medical knowledge and is required to become licensed as an MD.
NRMP: “National Resident Matching Program®”
  • The organization that administers the “Match.” In the match, the NRMP pairs residency applicants with a residency program.

Note that before the 2020 Match, DOs had access to a “pool” of residencies reserved for which only they could match. The current system has merged DO and MD residencies so that every applicant has the same “chance” for matching in their chosen specialty.

For more on how to maximize your match chances and how the “Merge” has changed residency applications, see THE MATCH: Everything You Need to Maximize Your Residency Chances

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is Moderately DO-Friendly

Looking at the % of spots filled by DOs in the 2022 Match, we can see Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation was exceptionally DO-friendly and ranks at the top of all residencies with 33% of positions filled by DOs.

Moreover, the match rate for DOs in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (64%) shows the DOs have a moderate chance for acceptance in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the 2022 Match:

Here are the same data represented in a table:

% DO Applied that Matched% DO Unmatched% Positions Filled by DOTotal Positions OfferedTotal # All ApplicantsDO Senior MatchedDO Senior UnmatchedDO Senior Total
**Radiation Oncology0%100%0%185162
**Plastic Surgery0%100%0%194340
Vascular Surgery8%92%1%8414311213
Neurological Surgery43%57%4%24037991221
Orthopaedic Surgery56%44%13%8751,43511186197
Interventional Radiology59%41%12%169226201434
General Surgery62%38%12%1,6222,400200125325
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation64%36%33%53272517699275
Obstetrics and Gynecology65%35%16%1,5032,044241130371
Diagnostic Radiology67%33%15%1,1551,56816984253
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics74%26%9%392458371350
Child Neurology89%11%9%18818217219
Internal Medicine94%6%15%9,80911,5981,503931596
Emergency Medicine95%5%25%2,9212,81373638774
Family Medicine96%4%27%4,9165,0551,345621407

For more on the most competitive DO medical specialties, see this article.

The Most DO-Friendly Dermatology Residency Programs

While most Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation programs do accept some DOs, some programs favor are likely to fill most spots with DOs. For example, 9 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residencies in the most recent GME census had 50% or higher DO percentages. Five had DO rates of 60% or higher: Nassau (83% DO), Zucker (67%), North Carolina (62%), MetroHealth (62%), and Grossman (61%).

Here is a list of the most (and least) competitive Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation programs for DOs. It includes data from the most recent National GME Census Survey. Percentages are of all residents in the program in 2020.

ACGME residency program codePhysical Medicine and Rehab residency program nameCityState% residents US DO graduates% residents US MD graduatesOsteopathic Recognition# applications submitted (2021 NRMP Main Match)% applicants interviewed (2020 NRMP Main Match)# categorical positions offered (2021 NRMP Main Match)# categorical positions filled (2021 NRMP Main Match)# advanced positions offered (2021 NRMP Main Match)# advanced positions filled by (2021 NRMP Main Match)
3403511037Nassau University Medical Center ProgramEast MeadowNY838No363270055
3403521042Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell ProgramManhassetNY6733No31917.40044
3403621104University of North Carolina Hospitals ProgramChapel HillNC6238No50310.44400
3403831053The MetroHealth System/Case Western Reserve University ProgramClevelandOH6238No522156600
3403521046NYU Grossman School of Medicine ProgramNew YorkNY6139No41723.3001212
3403521048SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University ProgramBrooklynNY5936No38728.70066
3404100089Penn State Milton S Hershey Medical Center ProgramHersheyPA5536No39300044
3404821067University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Joe and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine ProgramSan AntonioTX5347No44218.18800
3403521044Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai ProgramNew YorkNY5046No47513.75522
3403621091Vidant Medical Center/East Carolina University ProgramGreenvilleNC4530No399185500
3403521093SUNY Upstate Medical University ProgramSyracuseNY3928No30928.90066
3400121002University of Alabama Medical Center ProgramBirminghamAL3367No3010044
3404921068University of Utah Health ProgramSalt Lake CityUT3367No41615.67700
3404121056Temple University Hospital ProgramPhiladelphiaPA3264No45919.900108
3403500105Burke Rehabilitation Hospital ProgramWhite PlainsNY3138No36517.90066
3403521043Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine ProgramBronxNY3131No431260099
3404821065University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ProgramDallasTX2968No51417.66633
3403521039New York Presbyterian Hospital (Columbia and Cornell Campus) ProgramNew YorkNY2571No42520.10088
3404821066Baylor College of Medicine ProgramHoustonTX2563No48219.30088
3404121057Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University/TJUH ProgramPhiladelphiaPA2377No49218.90077
3405621071Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals ProgramMilwaukeeWI2278No34521.30066
3405121089University of Virginia Medical Center ProgramCharlottesvilleVA2179No476142222
3403621095Carolinas Medical Center ProgramCharlotteNC1981No44418.60055
3404700100Vanderbilt University Medical Center ProgramNashvilleTN1981No5209.14400
3404121058University of Pennsylvania Health System ProgramPhiladelphiaPA1882No53818.94422
3405121069Virginia Commonwealth University Health System ProgramRichmondVA1876No44213.10066
3403521051University of Rochester ProgramRochesterNY1577No39417.84400
3404121075UPMC Medical Education ProgramPittsburghPA1388No53116.95544
3404821101University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ProgramHoustonTX1356No51214.54400
3403821054Ohio State University Hospital ProgramColumbusOH1288No46917.73344
3405421070University of Washington ProgramSeattleWA1079No46619.23355
3403522041One Brooklyn Health System/Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center ProgramBrooklynNY00No33218.30055
3404231063VA Caribbean Healthcare System ProgramSan JuanPR092No10014.53300
3403500106Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center/Mercy Medical Center ProgramRockville CentreNYNo30218.10033
3403500108Rochester Regional Health/Unity Hospital ProgramRochesterNYNo00066
3403521035Albany Medical Center ProgramAlbanyNYNo35312.32200
3403521045New York Medical College (Metropolitan) ProgramNew YorkNYNo38234.10044
3403521103Stony Brook Medicine/University Hospital ProgramPort JeffersonNYNo35111.80033
3403800087Cleveland Clinic Foundation ProgramClevelandOHNo44311.60022
3403800088University Hospitals Community Consortium ProgramRichmond HeightsOHYes24322.43300
3403821080University of Toledo ProgramToledoOHNo31910.80033
3403821086University of Cincinnati Medical Center/College of Medicine ProgramCincinnatiOHNo444113300
3404100001Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education ProgramScrantonPANo05550
3404100090Geisinger Health System ProgramBloomsburgPANo37812.23300
3404100091Tower Health ProgramWyomissingPANo034.14400
3404100092Albert Einstein Healthcare Network/MossRehab Program ProgramPhiladelphiaPANo032.30088
3404231062University of Puerto Rico ProgramSan JuanPRNo803300
3404800109University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School ProgramAustinTXNo43111.40022
3404831064Baylor University Medical Center ProgramDallasTXNo41812.10033
3405121081Eastern Virginia Medical School ProgramNorfolkVANo3369.40066
3405400001Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center ProgramSpokaneWANo030.20066
3405621072University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics ProgramMadisonWINo337120033

Concluding Thoughts

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is a competitive specialty for DOs. That said, there are still places for DOs with over 90 residency programs accepting at least one DO. However, DOs hoping to match in some of the most prestigious programs will find it more competitive with only a few programs accepting any DOs (eg., Harvard-MGH and Johns Hopkins).

Are you despairing at your chances of matching into Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as a DO? Then, check out Never Forget, where you can learn how to master – not memorize – for the impressive USMLE scores to match at your dream residency. And if you’re looking for a residency advisor, look at our residency advisory services.

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Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.