of Commitment to Quality Health Care


85 years ago, the NBOME was founded with the overall goal of providing the means to assess competencies for osteopathic medicine and related health care professionals. We are proud of how far we’ve come on this incredible journey, and while we remain firmly committed to our historic roots, we look optimistically ahead to what the future holds.

To celebrate our 85th anniversary, the NBOME is taking you back in time. Throughout the year we'll be posting pieces of NBOME history, from the momentous events that shaped our organization, to the characters who led us through the years. You can look out for #ByTheDecades on our social media channels for teasers and trivia, and find the full stories here.



Meet Thomas Santucci, Jr., DO

Thomas F. Santucci, Jr., DO, received the Distinguished Service Award from the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians, practiced in New Jersey, and served on the National Board for the NBEOPS. Dr. Santucci, Jr., received his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and became nationally recognized as an outstanding pediatric pulmonologist. He was Board president from 1985 to 1987 and is credited with bringing new energy to the board, modernizing its structure and attitude, and changing the discipline-based test to a more clinically based test. In 2009, NBOME instituted the Santucci Award, our highest honor, awarded to individuals who distinguish themselves with sustained outstanding contributions.


What school requested that we provide examinations for all their students?

The Chicago College of Osteopathy and the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines both requested that we administer our exams to all their students in 1963. This signified the beginning of a closer relationship between the NBEOPS (now NBOME) and the colleges of osteopathic medicine.


When did our exams change from open-ended questions to multiple-choice?

At our July 1958 Board of Directors meeting, it was decided that multiple-choice examinations were the most effective way of evaluating candidates for osteopathic medical licensure. Essay questions, while useful, had become outdated and virtually impossible to grade with a standardized score.


When did we begin including real-life patients as part of their examinations?

T. T. Spence, DO, served as president of NBEOPS from 1944 to 1948. During his tenure, in 1947, live patients in osteopathic hospitals were used for Part III examinations. Osteopathic hospitals had been built throughout the nation to keep pace with the growing profession beginning in the late nineteenth century. By 1945, there were 260 such hospitals.


Meet Margaret Barnes, DO!

First Person to take an NBOME Examination

Twenty-eight-year-old Margaret Barnes, DO, a graduate of Wellesley College and the American School of Osteopathy, was the very first person (not to mention, woman) to take the examination in 1936. She passed with high marks. A dedicated member of the Academy of Applied Osteopathy (now the American Academy of Osteopathy) (AAO), Dr. Barnes served as the AAO editor of their yearbook of selected osteopathic papers from 1956-1974. She later wrote the first AAO history, “History of the Academy of Applied Osteopathy” as well as “A Fortieth Anniversary Memoir”, both published in the American Osteopathic Association’s The DO in 1972 and 1978 respectively.


Meet Charles Hazzard, DO!

First President of the NBOME

A native of Peoria, Illinois, Charles Hazzard, DO, graduated from Northwestern University and enrolled in the first class at American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville in 1892. He was the author of the widely used The Principles of Osteopathy and The Practice of Osteopathy. Hazzard was elected president of the American Osteopathic Association in 1903, the same year he moved to New York to begin a private practice. For many years he was treasurer of the A.T. Still Research Institute. In 1934 he was named the first president of the National Board of Examiners for Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (NBEOPS).


Meet Asa Willard, DO!

Co-founder of the NBOME

Asa Willard, DO, was born in Frederick County, Maryland. After attending Missouri State Normal School (now Truman State University) in Kirksville, he entered the American School of Osteopathy, where he was taught directly by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. After graduating in 1900, he opened his own practice where his chief role was that of gadfly and tireless promoter of full rights for osteopathic physicians. His columns in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association were written in a folksy style with an incisive intellect that feasted on statistics and political machinations (he didn’t know how to be dull). Founder of the National Board of Examiners for Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons in 1934, he was its first secretary-treasurer.


Check back as we add more to our timeline in the coming weeks!