fbpx
NBOME
Merwan Faraj, ENS, MC, USNR, is a second year med student at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Carolinas campus and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians-Carolinas Chapter President.

Merwan Faraj, ENS, MC, USNR, is a second year med student at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Carolinas campus and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians-Carolinas Chapter President. He has been a huge advocate for the wellness of his colleagues, has published a previous article on practicing gratitude, and continues to promote the use of body, mind, and spirit in osteopathic medicine on his road to DO Licensure. Coming from a background as a cardiovascular ICU nurse, Merwan has a lot of insight into how one can learn to cope with the stressors of being in the field. Read on to see his thoughts and advice!


You were an ICU nurse before you decided to become a doctor—what inspired you to become a DO, specifically?

I was inspired by the osteopathic tenets of mind, body, and spirit being applied to the treatment of patients. This was similar to what I’d already learned during nursing school—you don’t take care of a patient; you take care of a whole person. This is was what I wanted to do at a much higher level, but because I am so big on spending time with my patients and I enjoy being there for them, I didn’t want to lose that in my decision to become a doctor. I felt that by choosing to become a DO, I would be able to maintain that same practice for my patients—that I would always be there for them.

On top of that, DOs also learn OMM. When I discovered this, I thought it was a more hands-on way to take care of somebody without having to rely heavily on medications. Just being able to use your hands to diagnose and treat someone is amazing. Just touching a patient can go a long way. This also aligns with my ideas of prevention because DOs do our duty to avoid prescribing meds if we don’t have to, or if we do, making sure to offer and incorporate non-pharmacologic treatments. OMM is a great way to take care of people that can improve their quality of life with minimal risks and expenses. I wanted to learn that skill so I could become a more well-rounded physician and help patients to the best of my ability.

What mental challenges are you facing as a 2nd-year osteopathic medical student as you prepare for your first level of COMLEX-USA and how are you addressing them?

The sheer amount of information that we need to know can easily be overwhelming—just looking at the big picture. What I realized I needed to do was to break down all of that information into chunks a little bit at a time. I need to understand the bigger concepts before digging down to the smaller details, and then I need to recognize where my weaknesses are so I can go after them. I’ll spend more time on those weaknesses than I will on the things I already know, prioritizing my study time. Also, doing tons of questions—they will show you what’s important and how your brain works—how you’re thinking and if you know why you got something right or why you got it wrong. If you think you’re going to memorize nine text books of medical knowledge, then good luck, but take comfort in realizing that you don’t have to know everything; you just need to know enough. What will make you one of the best doctors is being compassionate with your patients. No matter what anyone does for a living, I think you need to recognize that you are interacting with another human. Empathy should be everywhere—it will make the world a better place.

Also, setting goals is important. I set a daily goal for the number of questions I will do that day. Once I hit that number, it’s over—I’m clocking out! You have to have those breaks in between and not try and do it all in one sitting. Do a set of questions and then take a break to just relax or do something you enjoy. Then, do another batch, and before you know it, you’ll have reached your goal and it wouldn’t have been that tolling.

Although it varies from person to person, what do you feel is most important to a medical student’s mental well-being and why?

You need to do things for yourself. And that may sound selfish, but from what I experienced, taking care of yourself might actually be one of the most unselfish things you can do. Because when you’re in a better place, you’re more able to be there for others. I think if you take care of yourself by making time to exercise on this day at this time or decide that at seven o’clock, you’re going to meditate for 10 minutes no matter what, you’ll keep burnout at bay and find yourself thriving. It’s easy to get caught up with grades and other worries, but I think if people realize that taking these little timeouts for themselves is not going to negatively affect their scores; bur rather improve them, they would be much more likely to do them on a regular basis. There’s a myth that more studying equals better performance, but that may only be true to a certain degree. I believe in quality over quantity, and performing better because you physically and mentally feel better. I think taking some pressure off yourself, especially when you’re always feeling you have to achieve at such a high level, is extremely important.

I hope students can carry this mindset into their practice as physicians. If you adopt—that sure there is school, there is work, but there is also me, my friends, my family, and my life—you will be happier and better for it. I have both witnessed and been someone who just works all the time and is always under this certain level of stress…it’s not exactly the recipe for providing excellent patient care. You’ll find yourself being fatigued, not as sympathetic or compassionate, and even may not be as cognitively present. It becomes easy to miss things that otherwise you would have caught when you’re burned out. It’s a valuable practice to take time for yourself, and I hope it carries over to every facet of your life.

VCOM featured you in an article about practicing gratitude and its positive impact on mental health. What other practices, both mental and physical, do you find helpful for improving wellness while preparing for COMLEX-USA? What advice would you give to other COM students?

For your physical health, you definitely need to be making healthy food choices, drinking lots of water, and you absolutely should be exercising. You don’t have to do them 100% of the time, but if you can pull them off on a regular basis you will still reap the rewards.

As for your mental health, I recommend some form of meditation. And don’t worry about whether or not you’re doing it right— I love the quote: “Meditation, if you're doing it, you're doing it right.” But, especially when you first start out, I think it's easy to get frustrated if your mind wanders off or you internally feel like you're messing up. I would tell anyone that they should expect for this to happen as part of their progression in learning about themselves. You’re only human and it’s natural. Don’t judge yourself when that happens, and instead, use it as a tool to practice self-acceptance and bring yourself back to the present moment.

The goal of meditation isn’t about not having thoughts—the goal isn’t about not having your mind wander; the goal is just to be present in the moment and to be able to let go. Just be there. There is so much time in our day where we are bogged down by work or distracted with other things. I think meditation is an opportunity to practice awareness and “be here now.”

One of the most important things you can do is give yourself permission to relax. A friend of mine, at one point, was constantly quizzing himself so much that he couldn’t sleep. When he came to me with this issue I told him, “Man, you already study for 13 hours a day. It’s okay to go to bed, but you gotta give yourself permission to not think about school.” If you’ve studied 12 hours a day for X number of days for your exam, you’ve already put in the work. Being able to let go and give yourself permission to relax comes from trusting yourself, trusting your work, and trust that you’ve put in enough time.

For me, I anticipate my success on the exam because I know I busted my butt. Now I can relax—now I’m going in to get the reward for all my hard work. And if you’re not succeeding, know you need to go get help. I always believe in asking for help, guidance, advice, or coaching no matter what. From there, you can reformulate how you study.

Work-life-balance is important for every field, how do you recommend osteopathic medical students start now to be sure that they maintain this throughout their career?

This is definitely tough because we do have a lot of pressure. We have school, we get involved in organizations, we do volunteer work, etc. Work-life-balance was definitely something I struggled with, also because I hadn’t gotten involved in many things until going into med school. I wasn’t used to juggling everything.

The best thing you can do is maintain your relationships and stick to your hobbies or find new ones. For me, it’s exercising, hanging out with friends, meditating, learning a new language, NASA/space, and I even had a guitar that I hadn’t touched in 12 years that I just picked back up. I know others who jumped on instruments too. I feel like no matter what you’re passionate about, you need to make time for those things. It’s so important to your mental health and well-being. If you just make time to study for 13 hours a day, then that’s all you’re doing. Having those personal aspects to your life will allow you to succeed more in school and clinically (especially for connecting with patients), but also enjoy yourself and stay who you are.


See All

You may also like

CANDIDATE WELLNESS: Confronting Mental Health Issues and Advocating for Change

August 10, 2020
To just say that mental health and the effects of stress and anxiety have a direct impact on academic success would...

CANDIDATE WELLNESS: How to Keep Nutrition & Hydration in Your Diet with a Busy Schedule

July 2, 2020
We’ve all been the kind of busy and stressed out that makes us accidentally miss a meal (and in some cases, not...

CANDIDATE WELLNESS: How to Meditate without Doing Nothing

June 8, 2020
What do you picture when you think of meditation a person standing under a waterfall or someone sitting in full...
During National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) week, we’d like to discuss why osteopathic assessment is important throughout the career of an osteopathic physician and to our patients.

During National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) week, we’d like to discuss why osteopathic assessment is important throughout the career of an osteopathic physician and to our patients.

The 4 tenets of osteopathic medicine underlie the osteopathic philosophy of health and medical care. The body, mind, and spirit approach; the connectedness of the body’s structure and function; and consideration of other factors, such as social determinants of health and partnership with patients in overall wellness all contribute to this approach. DOs are trained to integrate these osteopathic principles and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) into patient care.

If you look at an assessment as a milestone for what has been learned and a framework for what is required, then the assessment tools used should align both with the curricular program (what is taught and learned) and what is practiced (what patients expect). If that assessment is further used as part of a profession’s responsibility for self-regulation (i.e. licensure exam), then it is all the more important.

Examinations are developed by a profession, or entity (think driver’s tests or teacher certification) to assess whether a candidate has the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to perform in that profession. The COMLEX-USA licensure examination series is designed to assess the competencies required for the practice of osteopathic medicine. It reflects how DOs approach a patient, and the foundational abilities needed to provide osteopathic medical care, which remain distinctive for DOs.

COMLEX-USA is the only licensing examination that is aligned with the practice of osteopathic medicine, and it is gaining recognition across the globe. It is the only licensing exam accepted in all 50 states and other US licensing jurisdictions for osteopathic physicians. In 2020, the Medical Board of Australia recognized the NBOME/COMLEX-USA as a competent authority pathway for registration (licensure) for comprehensive medical practice in Australia!

Specifically, then, how is COMLEX-USA osteopathically distinctive?

  1. Examination series: The COMLEX-USA series is aligned to be taken at certain developmental times in the osteopathic medical student and residents’ progression toward licensure. Content is designed to be developmentally appropriate and aligned with the osteopathic medical educational programs. COMLEX-USA is endorsed by the AOA’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) with graduation standards that include COMLEX-USA examinations. COCA is the recognized accreditation authority by the US Department of Education for osteopathic medical schools.

  2. Blueprint design: The COMLEX-USA examination blueprint includes two integrated dimensions: osteopathic competency domains and clinical presentations. The competency domains define the unique knowledge, skills, experience, attitudes, values, behaviors, and established professional standards of osteopathic medicine. The clinical presentations represent the manner in which a particular patient, group of patients, or a community presents for osteopathic medical care. These are both informed by an evidence-based design for the practice of osteopathic medicine, including the review of national databases of what DOs do and see in practice. 1-2

  3. Inclusion of the Competency Domain “Osteopathic Principles, Practice and Manipulative Treatment”: COMLEX-USA includes this as a competency domain, and it is important to osteopathic medical education and practice. However, osteopathic principles are also integrated with the other competencies in the assessment. For example, questions classified or “coded” to this competency domain may also be assessing another competency domain or skill. This aligns with practice—osteopathic physicians bring all of their competencies to the care of a patient, at the same time.

  4. Examination construction: Once the blueprint has been designed and the items written, the test is assembled according to specifications for each level (as in, how many of each kind of question goes into an examination, among other considerations). This provides an assessment form that is fair, valid, and aligned with the practice of osteopathic medicine. Because the specifications are so aligned, changing a few items will necessarily change the whole examination. The test specifications are based on DO practice data including that from the National Ambulatory Health Care Surveys, which is actually distinctive from practice data for other physicians. 3

  5. Test question and case construction: Down to the item level, the NBOME uses an osteopathically distinctive approach to developing multiple-choice questions and clinical cases. Interdisciplinary groups of DOs and other professional colleagues collaborate to develop patient scenarios and associated questions based on high-frequency, high-impact clinical presentations. This results in items that address whole patient care—not just assessment of basic recall of scientific facts. COMLEX-USA test items and cases are built to assess the application of knowledge and other competencies—not just knowledge itself. The unique clinical decision-making (CDM) cases in the Level 3 examination are designed to assess a candidate’s ability to think beyond multiple-choice questions. CDM forces candidates to think holistically about the patient’s scenario—whether that means determining the diagnosis based on the available findings or selecting management steps for a patient in an extended multiple-choice question. CDM items are particularly relevant to patient safety and differentiation at the minimal competency threshold.

    To help ensure alignment across national standards taught at all of the colleges of osteopathic medicine, the NBOME collaborates with Educational Council on Osteopathic Principles (ECOP) to establish testable concepts and standardized nomenclature related to osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). In the Level 2-PE, before that exam was suspended in the pandemic, candidates had the opportunity to perform hands-on diagnostic physical exam maneuvers, and perform OMT as appropriate to the diagnosis and within certain parameters.

On the residency program/GME front, we work at the grassroots-level to help provide information to elective clinical rotation sites and program directors about COMLEX-USA, helping to contribute to the steady increase in DOs being accepted with their own distinctive credentials into ACGME-accredited residency programs.

  • We have worked with the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) to provide data for the Report on Residents, which for the first time in 2020 included COMLEX-USA scores.

  • Our partnership with the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®) assists residency program directors by demonstrating parity in the application dashboard for DO and MD applicants, including a COMLEX-USA percentile score converter and similar transcript presentations and notations to those available for licensing exams for MD applicants.

  • We serve on the National Resident Matching Program®’s (NRMP®) Research Advisory Committee to ensure that the osteopathic voice is represented and that inclusive nomenclature is used for DO stakeholders in NRMP® publications, presentations, and other Match® initiatives.

Even those less familiar with DOs and COMLEX-USA prior to the Single GME Accreditation System (2015-2020) have learned that DOs take COMLEX-USA. The NBOME has historically advocated for DO students and their credentials, including the DO degree, COMLEX-USA, and AOA board certification both nationally and internationally.

Other examples of osteopathically distinctive assessments deemed to be valid for their purposes include COMAT examinations used by almost every DO medical school campus in the US, AOA board certification assessments in 16 specialties, and numerous residency in-training/in-service assessments designed by osteopathic specialty societies and used by hundreds of residency programs in specialties such as family medicine (ACOFP), internal medicine (ACOI) and surgery (ACOS).

Assessments should be aligned with the educational programs, outcomes, and practice of the profession. A profession must self-regulate and set standards to continue to earn public trust. COMLEX-USA is targeted to the distinct practice of osteopathic medicine to protect that trust. This, along with rigorous standards and continuous quality improvement, has helped COMLEX-USA to be the gold standard licensure examination for osteopathic physicians since the NBOME was founded in 1934. Having a robust, distinctive portfolio of assessments will help DOs to be well positioned to continue to grow and thrive across the United States and the world. Happy NOM Week 2021!!


  1. Gimpel JR, Horber D, Sandella JM, Knebl JA, Thornburg JE. Evidence-based redesign of the COMLEX-USA series. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2017;117(4): 253-261.
  2. Horber D, Gimpel JR. Enhancing COMLEX-USA: Evidence-based redesign of the osteopathic medical licensure examination program. Journal of Medical Regulation. 2018;104(3):11-18.
  3. Boulet JR, Gimpel JR, Errichetti AM, Meoli FG. Using National Medical Care Survey data to validate examination content on a performance-based clinical skills assessment for osteopathic physicians. JAOA: 2003; 103(5):225-31.

See All

You may also like

Myths and Misconceptions – Match 2020

March 22, 2020
With a single GME system comes expanded training opportunities for DO and MD applicants—and many are anxiously...

Myths and Misconceptions – COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE

January 30, 2020
We’re guessing you don’t necessarily believe everything you hear or read these days, especially on the internet....

Empathy on the Global Patient Assessment

December 23, 2019
“When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it....
Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III, was recently appointed to the Special Commission for Osteopathic Medical Licensure Assessment as the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) representative, and we wanted to get to know him better by featuring him in our latest installment of the Stories from the Road series.

Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III, was recently appointed to the Special Commission for Osteopathic Medical Licensure Assessment as the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) representative, and we wanted to get to know him better by featuring him in our latest installment of the Stories from the Road series. Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) student doctor Khiabani is actively involved with SOMA as Region II Trustee and was recently reelected to be part of the senior board as National Treasurer. To him, SOMA is family-oriented in the same way osteopathic medicine is—in that he sees his experience as more than just something to put on paper, but rather something to live. Amir also enjoys being a producer of the D.O. or DO Not Podcast, which you can listen to here.


What inspired you to become a DO, specifically? Tell us your story.

I was a chemist before going into medical school. I’d finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Florida, and I worked for a company in Savannah, Georgia. I was very unhappy, all over the place, and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I dabbled in many things, including being a high school teacher—loved mentoring kids or anything with a group of people—but I hadn’t found my calling. I even earned my Master's degree in molecular medicine. A couple of my friends were in medical school—they were learning pharmacology and I was looking at their material and found myself interested, even enjoying studying the topics with them. That is when they said to me, “Why don’t you go to med school.” I’d never even thought of that. I like people. I like science. I like mentoring. That’s what a physician is and should be—it made sense, so I decided to apply to medical school.

We often hear the phrase ‘osteopathic distinctiveness’ used across the profession. What does that phrase mean to you personally?

I was a scribe in the emergency room and met four amazing DO physicians. When I worked with them, I felt like I wanted to be like them. They sat down on the bed of the patient, they held their hand—didn’t even take their computers inside the room. The patient would always laugh, smile, cry—they would tell us things that would help us diagnose them. In just the way those DOs would connect with their patients—I was inspired to go into osteopathic medicine. That’s the main reason why I only applied to DO schools.

Looking back at how you prepared for your most recent level of COMLEX-USA, would you have taken a different approach to studying? What advice do you have for other COM students who are preparing for COMLEX-USA?

COMLEX-USA questions include a lot more detail, are more person-oriented, and have answer choices that are very non-invasive. Every answer choice on every question still tested my scientific knowledge, but I feel as though COMLEX-USA also tests the concept of patient-centered osteopathic medicine in a way that 2nd years can understand.

I was actually surprised by how well I scored. The only regret I really had was inundating myself with too many study resources. I think if I just stuck with two or three and not listened to everyone saying, “This is better than this and that’s better than that,” then I would’ve been more selectively driven. Therefore, I would say to try and find those two or three study resources that work for you and stick with them. Also, do a lot of questions and practice exams. I did a lot because I'm a very anxious test-taker; I don't like taking exams. There’s a lot of pressure.

My best piece of advice is to try to remember that it’s just a test. If you’ve put in all the work prior to taking it and you give it your all, the results will come. You really just need to focus on what you're doing while you're studying—focus on that test, and be as relaxed as possible. I approached each question like I’d treat a patient. Because they are patients; they’re vignettes. I don’t want to misdiagnose my patient so I’m not going to get this question wrong. It’s true!

My final piece of advice I'd give students is, when you're taking practice tests or practice questions, you need to simulate the environment of where you're going to take your exam. Go into a quiet room, have a desk, take it with a similar keyboard, similar mouse, and sit with good posture. Get a chair that's similar to what they have in Prometric testing centers and sit in it as if you're taking the real test every single time, every question. With the right body language, you self-perceive yourself as more confident.

The Road to DO Licensure has many unexpected challenges that I’m sure you’ve experienced, including burnout, stress, and anxiety. Tell me some of the major challenges you’ve faced while taking COMLEX-USA and some advice on how you personally overcame them.

My first two years of school were rough. I was a non-traditional student- I was out of school for three years prior to coming in. I didn't have that study routine down my first year, but I didn’t let that stop me from being who I was. I still joined SOMA. I engaged in extracurricular activities, and I still do—that's what gives me life. It was a struggle to find that rhythm my first year, and there were tears, there were long nights, there were times where I had to tell family, “I can't talk to you today.”

There was a lot of sacrifice—I even had to miss my niece being born. I had to shut people down at the time and ask for forgiveness later. My family knows I love them, but they struggled to see the path I had to take. I’m a 1st generation; my mom came from Mexico and my dad came from Iran. They didn’t go to college—I’m the first. Because of this, I had to be very self-motivated and I had to work my own way through college with four jobs. I worked as a shoe salesman, a waiter at a Mexican restaurant, a barista and a chemistry tutor. My mornings started at four in the morning, working at a coffee shop in the atrium of Shands Hospital, University of Florida. This was all while still being a full-time student.

I also encountered a great deal of financial strain during my first year, almost requiring me to pull out of medical school, but members of my community helped me. I regularly go to the gym to help with stress, and friends there noticed how I was struggling. Without a word to me, they collected donations from community members. They told me I was surrounded by friends: lawyers, dentists, and DO physicians who wanted to help and encourage me. They told me, “We don’t want this paid back. You’re helping our community, and we know what you as a DO physician are doing. We see a light in you and we want to keep that on.” It gives me chills thinking about it. I have been blessed to encounter so many wonderful people on my journey.

I also took my board exams during the roughest period of the pandemic in June, 2020. COVID was messing up all the schedules. The stress level, anxiety, and the trauma of repeatedly having to be rescheduled was extremely high. My exam was pushed back from June to July to the end of July—the day after my birthday. It was stressful, but I looked at it and said to myself that it was more time to study. That extra month gave me the composure to be able to sit down and say this is just a test.

Have you encountered other mentors that have helped get you to where you are today?

One mentor I had was Mr. Timothy Wall, in eighth grade. I was getting C’s and D’s the grade before, but he took one look at me and told me that I could do more. Meanwhile, I couldn’t read because I was a product of immigrants, and learned only broken English. I know four languages. He took me under his wing and guided me. He turned me from a C and D student who started in ESL courses to an honors student who graduated as valedictorian of my eighth grade class.

I want to continue mentoring because of the effect that my mentors have had in my life. I want to continue to give back in the same way.

You were appointed to the Special Commission after your nomination by SOMA—tell us what this means to you.

My involvement with National SOMA began with my desire to contribute to my profession and ensure the student voice will be heard. As I have progressed through my years in medical school, I have witnessed many events that have affected osteopathic schools, students, and the profession as a whole. This appointment grants me the opportunity to ensure that the perspectives of the osteopathic student body are represented during discussions that will impact their future. Moving forward, this appointment will aid in providing me the experience and resources to be an osteopathic physician who confidently advocates for our profession.

What are you looking forward to the most in the next stage of your journey?

My patients. I can’t wait! Every time I think about my future, I think about my patients and the people I’m going to meet—the minds and the hearts that I’m going to touch and change. Hopefully, sharing my story will show others that there is light at the end of a very long tunnel.


See All

You may also like

Stories from the Road: The Trailblazer Who Never Gave Up - Interview with Sabri Zooper, OMS-III

February 11, 2021
Sabri Zooper is certainly someone you want to know—an osteopathic medical student at Texas College of Osteopathic...

Stories from the Road: Interview with Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, On Her Fellowship with Grey’s Anatomy

December 11, 2020
NBOME Resident Ambassador, Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, was selected to be a fellow in the Grey’s Anatomy...

Stories from the Road: A Change of Heart, But Not of Spirit - Interview with Alin Gragossian, DO

October 28, 2020
You might be familiar with Alin Gragossian, DO, from her blog, A Change of Heart, which provides insight into her...
Match 2021: Match Day success stories from the past as well as new stories from Match 2021.
Match Day success stories from the past as well as new stories from Match 2021.

MATCH 2021

Melinda Kizziah
I matched Emergency Medicine at The Ohio State University and could not be more excited to have years of hard work culminate in this achievement. I hope my fellow DO students always remember that they are amazing, smart, and capable of anything they set their mind to!
Melinda Kizziah, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
Emergency Medicine at The Ohio State University

Asia Colen
I matched at my #1 UAMS South Central! God’s plan never fails! I am beyond grateful! I get to serve my home! The very place I was born, where it all began for me, Pine Bluff, AR. I am overwhelmed and honored to serve my hometown. I promise to do my best to make everyone DO proud!
Asia Colen, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine
Family Medicine at UAMS South Central

Andriana Saric
I'm so thrilled to have matched in Emergency Medicine at Trident Medical Center in Charleston, SC! Participating in the 2020-2021 Match cycle presented many unique challenges to an already stressful process. I'm extremely thankful to have my advisors and mentors by my side from audition rotations, to navigating applications, and troubleshooting virtual interviews! Onto the next big adventure!
Andriana Saric, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
Emergency Medicine at Trident Medical Center

Evan Arbit
As a DO physician and future Physiatrist, I recognize the holistic approach plays a pivotal role in patient care, especially in the world of PM&R. Often times it’s the emotional and or psychosocial components of an individual that contributes and or worsens the physical ailments and vice versa. My osteopathic education has given me this perspective to help improve my patient’s quality of life and be at their best!
Evan Arbit, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Rush Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Alyka Glor Fernandez
Don't discount yourself from applying to programs even if they have only a few DO residents! You've worked hard and put in the work; you are equally as qualified as our MD counterparts. Show them what you've got!
Alyka Glor Fernandez, Kansas City University
Emergency Medicine at Emory University

Chi Chi Do-Nguyen
When there's a passion, there's a way. I am so incredibly honored and humbled to be the 1st PCOM student to match into cardiothoracic surgery, the only DO student to match into cardiothoracic surgery this year, and the 1st DO to match at the University of Michigan CT Surgery. I can't wait to apply my osteopathic medical training to treat patients holistically within the field of cardiothoracic surgery!
Chi Chi Do-Nguyen, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Michigan

MATCH 2020

My Osteopathic education prepared me so well for a residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. I could not be more grateful for my school and the physicians who mentored me along the way.
Nicolet Finger, UNTHSC-TCOM
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UT Health San Antonio

The road to get here was surely a rough one, but nothing worth doing in life is meant to be easy. At the end of the day I had faith that my perseverance through the hard times would pay off, and today I found out that they did! To all the future physicians out there, NEVER GIVE UP. The world needs your healing.
Brynne Hunt, WCUCOM
Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel-Newark

I matched to my number one spot! I’ll be a family medicine resident at Saint Joseph Health System in Mishawaka, Indiana. I am so blessed to be able to be a DO and serve the community that raised me! Here is a picture of my cat and me celebrating during quarantine lol. We had a dance party!
Jess Williams, KCOM
Family Medicine at Saint Joseph Health System

I am so grateful to have trained to become an osteopathic physician. I matched into my number one choice for residency in internal medicine! Thankful for all my friends I made along the way and the physicians who mentored me!
Jacob Baer, KCU-COM
Internal Medicine at University of Kansas

I am able to fulfill my dream of being an emergency medicine physician! I am thankful to my school for all the opportunities afforded to me and the people in my life for support! Looking forward to being a DO in the emergency department.
Michael Skaletsky, MU-COM
Emergency Medicine at Doctors Hospital Columbus, OH

With all the craziness that is going on right now, it was great to see how everyone rallied together to celebrate match day virtually. We have all worked so hard to get to this point and I love seeing all of our dreams become a reality.
Amber Hartman, KYCOM
Pediatrics at SIU - Springfield, IL

At Cook County Hospital there’s a plaque that says: 'One doesn’t ask of one who suffers, what is your country and what is your religion? One merely says you suffer. This is enough for me. You belong to me and I shall help you. - Louis Pasteur' This philosophy aligns perfectly with the values we learn at CCOM. Proud to be a part of #DoctorsthatDo and match at my top choice!

Palak Patel, CCOM
Internal Medicine at Cook County

My DO medical education introduced me to mentors, clinical experiences, and a revitalized passion to assist struggling rural locales like my own hometown. I am over the moon about matching into my top choice in family medicine at at NH-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency in Concord, NH, which offers a rural track that I will carry with me for the entirety of my career in rural family medicine.
Clare O'Grady, NYIT-COM
NH-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency

My osteopathic medical education provides a unique vantage point into mental health treatment. Residency program leadership also saw this as a valuable asset when assembling their incoming intern class. I am proud to be a DO and will utilize my experiences as a future research psychiatrist!
Grace Sydney Pham, UNTHSC-TCOM
Psychiatry/Research at Baylor College of Medicine

I am beyond thrilled to have matched into Internal Medicine and cannot wait to begin my career as a doctor! The knowledge gained, the experiences lived, and the relationships formed throughout medical school will stick with me as I continue to grow as a physician. To all of my 2020 peers, we made it!
Maxwell Horowitz, TouroCOM NY
Internal Medicine at Mt. Sinai Icahn SOM St. Luke's-West

I could not have picked a better medical school to grow and mature into a young doctor. I am thrilled to have matched into an OB/GYN residency at my top program, St. Luke's University Health Network. I look forward to continuing to pave the way for other DOs!
Kathleen Ackert, PCOM
OB/GYN at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem

I think the key to getting a good residency is to go and audition at that location. If you can show programs a good work ethic, coupled with your unique osteopathic education, you might be surprised at how many doors can open up for you.
Phillip Bennett, RVU-COM
Pathology AP/CP at the University of Utah

Matching into my top choice residency is a dream come true! I am incredibly grateful for my medical school peers and physician mentors for helping me build self-confidence and supporting my intellectual, personal, and professional growth throughout this journey.
Priya Shah, CCOM
Emergency Medicine at Duke University

I have loved every moment of this crazy journey through medical school, and I am eager to use the knowledge I have gained as an osteopathic medical student. A quote I once heard was "if you work hard, you'll get lucky" and I am so lucky to have found a place among the amazing physicians who work in Family Medicine. I can definitely say they are my people! I matched at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and I can't wait to begin the next 3 years of training.
Megan Miller
Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
Family Medicine at Wright State University

Beyond excited to match at Detroit Receiving for Emergency Medicine. I am extremely excited to be a DO in the Emergency Department.
Rajiv Varandani, CCOM
Emergency Medicine at Detroit Receiving

Attending an osteopathic medical school has equipped me with a unique skill set and has provided a one of a kind training experience that will be invaluable to my future role as a physician. The journey was challenging, but with faith, dedication, and support, I made it through! Always remember, your darkest and most difficult moments are never wasted; they simply prepare you for your destiny. I cannot wait to apply all that I have learned to serve and make a positive impact on my patients- the osteopathic way
Anna-Kaye Brown, RowanSOM
Anesthesiology at Temple University Hospital

Incredibly humbled to be the only DO this year to match in Cardiothoracic Surgery I6. Prior to medical school, I worked as an LPN in Cardiac Surgery for 5 years ,while taking night classes dreaming of this day. Thank you very much to the AOA, AACOM, NBOME and WVSOM for all your support and giving this nurse an opportunity to realize his dreams
Jason Gilbert, WVSOM
University of Kentucky in Cardiothoracic Surgery

MATCH 2019

MATCH 2019

Don't think of time spent studying for COMLEX-USA and COMAT exams as time lost. It's an investment in your future career and in your ability to match into your specialty of choice.
Jason Rodriguez, DO
Kettering Health Grandview Medical Center, Anesthesiology

Match can be intimidating, but being an active learner through research, conferences, volunteering, and working hard in preparing for COMLEX-USA, truly pays off. I matched into my #1 choice!
Alexandra Digenakis, DO
University of North Carolina, Emergency Medicine

Medical school and residency applications can cause you to doubt your abilities. Remember that hard work pays off.  Have faith in your abilities and push through. You are amazing and can achieve your dreams.
Parth Gandhi, DO
Delaware Christiana Care Health System, Combined Emergency Medicine/Internal Medicine

I matched into my #1 choice! Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take advantage of new opportunities. Medical school is a time for personal and professional growth, and while grades are important, programs pay attention to other things too.
Jordan Hauck, DO
Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliate Hospitals, Obstetrics and Gynecology

I was able to match into my #1 program! I'm thrilled to be joining the Georgetown team and pursuing diagnostic radiology in Washington DC!
Matthew Bourne, DO
Georgetown University, Diagnostic Radiology

Work hard to shine during your sub-internships and interviews, but most importantly, be kind, positive, and a team player.
Pauline Terbio, DO
University of Nevada Las Vegas, Emergency Medicine

When it comes to residency, the most important thing is to find the right fit for you. Something I considered important was finding a place where I would be happy training. I found some programs more welcoming than others, and I loved the one I ended up in!
Tiffany Sinclair, DO
Franciscan Health Olympia Fields, General Surgery

Put 100% into everything you DO, and it will pay off. Studying hard and surrounding yourself with friends and family that support you is key -- and got me where I am today.
Khadija Farooq, DO
Presence St. Joseph Hospital, Family Medicine

I matched into my #1 choice! I was searching for a program that allowed me to incorporate my love for public health and community health. This one had it all!
Khyrista Valentine, DO
Authority Health Residency Program, Pediatrics

As DOs, we think holistically. As residency candidates, we have to be the same. Be well-rounded on every part of your application: COMLEX-USA, extra-curriculars, volunteer experience, and who you are as a person.
Kayla Prokopakis, DO
St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center, Emergency Medicine

I wanted to be somewhere that allowed me to help the community, and would also make me the best doctor I could be. All my dreams came true and I matched at my #1 choice!
Hajiraj Ishaq, DO
Doctor's Hospital Ohio Health, Emergency Medicine

My fiance and I were both going for the same specialty in the same year. We couples-matched in pediatrics and will move from being classmates to being co-interns. All of my hard work was worth it!
Este Marks, DO
Oklahoma State University, Pediatrics

I'm very proud of my osteopathic medical training and COMLEX-USA best reflects this. It was important to me to find a program that valued my osteopathic roots as much as I do.
Victoria Starr, DO
Beaumont Hospital Obstetrics & Gynecology

Keep your mind open and trust the process. You might be surprised sometimes what you want initially changes when you stay open to possibilities and explore new things.
Joseph Schreiner, DO
Jefferson Health New Jersey Emergency Medicine


See All

You may also like

Applying to Residency: Ranking Programs – Where Am I A Good Fit? Interview with Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III

February 22, 2021
Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring...

Match Rank Order Deadline Approaches - How to Counter Your Doubts

February 19, 2021
As time approaches for the rank order deadline and the match, it is not unusual for students to experience anxiety...

Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship

February 16, 2021
Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship. Despite the year that 2020 was, we are proud...

Despite a year of many hardships, we are overjoyed to announce that this year’s NRMP Main Match was the largest on record, and 6,327 DO seniors matched to 33,353 filled first year positions across the US!

Those 6,327 DO seniors, and an additional 609 DO prior graduates, will carry their osteopathic distinction into their residency programs and specialties. The number of DO seniors who matched increased 6% from 2020, and over the last 5 years the number of DOs who matched has increased 125%!

Match rates for all groups dropped slightly in 2021, and the 1.9% decline for DOs is similar to the slight match rate decrease found in the US MD match rates, with a more significant match rate drop in the international medical graduate (IMG) match rates. But that is not the whole story- this does not take the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) (post-initial match rounds) into account, and we are excited to see the final Match data when it is released by the NRMP in May. Applicants who did not match to a residency position participated in the SOAP to obtain one of 1,892 positions available.

The three most popular specialty matches for DO seniors in 2021 are Internal Medicine, Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine with a 6.7%, 3.4% and 15.7% increase in the number of DO matches, respectively.

DO students and graduates have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in this year’s 2020-2021 residency application cycle, which was upended from the beginning by the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize DO applicants for their journey to becoming osteopathic physicians and commitment to serving patients. John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd, NBOME President and CEO, shared a special congratulations with the students and graduates entering residency positions in July 2021:

“This year’s residency match is a milestone day in the lives of many future physicians, including a record number of DO applicants. We applaud your resilience and patience as you encountered numerous curve balls and obstacles related to training in a pandemic, and wish you all the best as you begin the next exciting chapter. Enjoy your celebration and upcoming graduation, and we look forward to welcoming you to the next stage of your journey as you start your career as an osteopathic physician.”


See All

You may also like

Applying to Residency: Ranking Programs – Where Am I A Good Fit? Interview with Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III

February 22, 2021
Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring...

Match Rank Order Deadline Approaches - How to Counter Your Doubts

February 19, 2021
As time approaches for the rank order deadline and the match, it is not unusual for students to experience anxiety...

Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship

February 16, 2021
Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship. Despite the year that 2020 was, we are proud...
In this section
Over 22,000 COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 examinations have been administered at Prometric test centers since May 2020. NBOME also reports that an additional 4,000+ COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 candidates are scheduled to test at Prometric test centers through the end of 2020. Additionally, several thousand appointments have been scheduled in the first few months of 2021.

Over 22,000 COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 examinations have been administered at Prometric test centers since May 2020. NBOME also reports that an additional 4,000+ COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 candidates are scheduled to test at Prometric test centers through the end of 2020. Additionally, several thousand appointments have been scheduled in the first few months of 2021.

NBOME and our test administration partner, Prometric, continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation across the U.S. In response to increasing cases of the virus in certain local municipalities, some availability may change, however Prometric expects to continue to provide testing for COMLEX-USA candidates. We appreciate your continued patience and we will continue our dedication to providing a safe and timely testing experience.

For test scheduling and registration, candidates can use the Prometric website to schedule and register to take computer-based COMLEX-USA examinations. Please also feel free to contact our client services team via email at clientservices@nbome.org or by phone at (866) 479-6828.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020

Over 17,000 COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 examinations have been administered at Prometric test centers since May 2020. NBOME also reports that an additional 5,000+ COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 candidates are scheduled to test at Prometric test centers through the end of 2020.

Our temporary satellite test centers at University of North Texas Health Science Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM) and Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) continue to be available to candidates. These temporary satellite testing centers are scheduled to continue operation through September 30.

For more information, please refer to the Exploring Test Delivery Options for Computer-Based Testing microsite.

NBOME and our test administration partner, Prometric continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation across the U.S. Restrictions in some states or areas may change in response to the pandemic, however Prometric expects to continue to provide testing for COMLEX-USA candidates.

For test scheduling and registration, candidates can use the Prometric website to schedule and register to take computer-based COMLEX-USA examinations.


AUGUST 17, 2020

Over 13,000 COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 exams have been administered at Prometric test centers as of mid-August. Another 2,000 candidates are scheduled to test in the last two weeks of August. Over 11,000 appointments to test are scheduled through December, over 60% for the Level 3 examination.

Prometric is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation across the U.S. Restrictions in some states or areas may change in response to the pandemic but Prometric expects to be able to provide testing for COMLEX-USA candidates.

Reserved seats for candidates in Arizona, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York are still available in August for candidates looking for August test dates in those areas. In addition, seats are available to test at the satellite test centers at UNTHSC/TCOM and MSU-COM. Candidates can find available dates at these sites on the Prometric website.


JULY 31, 2020

Last week was an important milestone for NBOME and COMLEX-USA testing, with over 12,000 candidates tested at Prometric centers since May. Another 4,500 examinations are scheduled in August, with 15,000 by the end of 2020. Despite surges in COVID-19 in the South and Mid-West, Prometric test sites remain open with the majority at full occupancy. As of the end of this month, Prometric centers are at 93% of capacity.

While much of the urgent need for testing at Prometric centers has been successfully met, we are still very excited to announce the opening of the satellite testing this week on July 31, at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM) in Fort Worth TX. The center will be open through September for COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-CE and Level 3 administrations. The TCOM satellite is now open to any eligible candidate on the Prometric website. In addition, we are continuing to partner with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) in East Lansing MI for an additional satellite test center. An announcement with the opening date in August is coming soon and we will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available about new testing centers and other potential sites around the country.


JULY 13, 2020

NBOME is pleased to announce agreements in principle with (2) colleges of osteopathic medicine to develop satellite testing centers on their campuses for administration of COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-CE and Level 3 examinations.

After extensive research and discussion, NBOME and Prometric have partnered with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM; East Lansing MI), and University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM; Fort Worth TX) on this initiative.

These sites meet the necessary requirements for test security and capacity. These university based satellite testing centers are expected to be available for student testing August through September, subject to state and local restrictions.

Much of the urgent need for securing testing seats for COMLEX-USA Level 1 and 2-CE candidates who were displaced due to unexpected Prometric test center closures has been met successfully, and though we had initially engaged other COMs for collaboration, they felt their needs had since changed. However, a limited number of satellite testing centers such as these are valuable to meet specific local needs and to provide scheduling flexibility and operating experience if future conditions dictate.

We will strive to keep you updated as new information becomes available about these new testing centers as well as other potential sites around the country.


JUNE 30, 2020

With summer officially here, and COMLEX-USA Level 1 and the newly launched Level 2-CE 2020-2021 test cycles in full swing, the NBOME COM Liaison Team wanted to share some important testing updates with you.

  • More than 4,000 candidates have completed COMLEX-USA exams since testing resumed at Prometric May 1st.
  • By the end of July, more than 10,000 COMLEX-USA exams are scheduled to have been administered since May.
  • Prometric test sites are open with full occupancy at all or some locations in 34 states.
    As of this week, those states include: AL, AK, AR, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, KS, MD, MI, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, and WY.
  • Prometric site openings are updated continuously on their website, as well as site closures. Site closures occur from time to time for a variety of reasons, including weather, power outage, etc.
  • Over 500 reserved Prometric seats in June, July and August are available for COMLEX-USA candidates in AL, AZ, CA, IN, MI, NJ, NY, SC, TX and VA. Please contact your COM Liaison for more information. Candidates can contact NBOME Client Services at clientservices@nbome.org or 866-479-6828 for help rescheduling or they can contact Prometric.
  • A small percentage of COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE candidates whose exams were rescheduled for July 1-15 in test sites with social distancing requirements are being rescheduled by Prometric this week. Over 98% of these displaced candidates have already been rescheduled.
  • Thank you to those who participated in our Alternate Test Delivery Survey. At this time we are focusing satellite testing center implementation at four COMs that meet the necessary geographical, infrastructure, technology, and regulatory needs. We may reach out again to others who showed interest as our plans for alternate test delivery grow and develop further. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
  • An update on COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE was emailed to you earlier today and is available on our COVID site here.
  • Your COM Liaison will continue to provide you with updated COMLEX-USA exam scheduling reports each week. If you are unsure about exam schedules for your COM’s students/graduates or have other issues or concerns please let your COM Liaison know.


JUNE 15, 2020

Prometric has reopened an additional 40 test centers this week, several of which are in new states or markets which were previously closed. 20 more test centers are planned to open by the end of this week. It has opened thousands of additional appointments in markets around the globe and new appointment hours are opening up daily. Prometric continues to abide guidance from the CDC and WHO, and findings from test center evaluations conducted by a team of third-party infectious disease consultants, as they work to enable more locations for full occupancy testing.

Prometric is able to offer more testing opportunities specifically to NBOME candidates based on our feedback and our needs. Seats will book on a first come, first serve basis.

Candidates who are scheduled to take an examination and want to confirm whether the examination will take place, are encouraged to contact Prometric or contact NBOME at clientservices@nbome.org / 866-479-6828 Monday-Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM ET for assistance.

Additional Prometric resources:
  • COVID-19 tab. The most current information on Prometric’s operation status and safety measures.
  • Essential Client Programs List. A current list of essential test programs that are currently eligible to test. This list will be evaluated and updated on a rolling basis.
  • Site Openings List. A running list of all of current open / scheduled-to-open Prometric sites and their resumption test date. This list is updated daily to reflect any changes in status, and will be evaluated for further additions on a rolling basis.
  • Social Distancing Policies. A detailed look at standard and region-based social distancing policies candidates are expected to follow while at the Prometric test center.
  • Test-Taker FAQ. Answers to frequently asked questions candidates may have about impacts to their exam.

JUNE 5, 2020

We have some good news to share with you. More testing dates in June and reserved seating for NBOME candidates at Prometric are available now. Six additional test dates in June have been opened up for candidates taking COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE at sites across the US. In addition, 675 seats at select test sites in 7 states are now reserved for NBOME candidates. The seats which are solely for COMLEX-USA candidates are available on 24 dates from June through August.

The additions to test dates and reserved seating, with the resumption of full capacity at sites in 9 states announced earlier this week, will provide many more opportunities for testing at preferred locations and dates. In addition, we are urgently making progress on other options to expand testing and provide safe opportunities for candidates to test sooner. We will be providing an update on these alternatives next week.

While we are delighted to share this positive news, we are deeply sorry for the late-breaking disruption to testing that unfortunately impacted a small number of COMLEX-USA candidates this week. Due to the civil protests taking place across the nation in a few test sites Prometric was required to close testing sites with extremely short notice. We previously understood and subsequently informed you that rescheduling appointments due to COVID-19 were complete. This week we learned from Prometric that that is not the case. Prometric is continuing to process the cancellations which occurred in April for candidates who have not yet rescheduled and candidate appointments at sites not able to open due to COVID related activity. This week Prometric is processing appointments for June 16-30 and will continue on a 2-week rolling basis. We are aggressively working with those impacted to help arrange new test appointments and with Prometric on improving notification to candidates in the event of future closures or cancellations.

Candidates who are scheduled to take an examination and want to confirm whether the examination will take place, are encouraged to contact Prometric or NBOME. Candidates can visit the Prometric website or contact NBOME at clientservices@nbome.org or call 866-479-6828 Monday-Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM ET for assistance.


JUNE 3, 2020

SELECT SITE CLOSURES DUE TO CIVIL UNREST

As a result of protest-related activities in communities across the US, it is necessary for Prometric to suspend or restrict operations at select test centers out of concern for the safety and well-being of test takers and staff. A listing of impacted sites is available on the Prometric Site Openings page. Information will be updated daily and Prometric will seek to notify impacted candidates with as much advance notice as possible, though in many cases the evolving situation may require closure at short notice.

If you are scheduled to take your examination and want to confirm your examination will take place, please contact Prometric or NBOME.

COM AND CANDIDATE SUPPORT

NBOME is continuing to communicate regularly with all COMs through our COM Liaison Team. This group is delivering detailed, customized COMLEX-USA appointment scheduling reports each week and working with contacts at each COM to help troubleshoot candidate scheduling issues. If you have questions about COMLEX-USA scheduling for your COM, please contact your liaison or Laura Barrett at lbarrett@nbome.org.

RESCHEDULING UPDATE

Of the more than 6,000 COMLEX-USA candidates whose Prometric appointments were displaced due to COVID-19, 92% of all Level 1 and Level 2-CE appointments have been rescheduled. 95% of Level 1 and Level 2-CE appointments are rescheduled into May-Aug dates (Level 1) and Jun-Aug (Level 2-CE). 70% of Level 3 candidates with displaced appointments have been rescheduled, with 74% rescheduled into May-Sep dates.

Prometric continues to expand testing in many areas as local authorities adjust requirements for social distancing. As more and more regions are able to add test dates and seats, the NBOME continues to work with Prometric to secure seats for COMLEX-USA test takers. In May alone, over 800 candidates tested. Over 300 test sites are now open, with test sites at full capacity in 9 states. In June, over 6,300 candidates are scheduled to take Level 1, Level 2-CE and Level 3 examinations at Prometric test centers.

Please continue to monitor the Prometric site to find dates and times that may be preferable to your current testing appointment. As a reminder, NBOME’s rescheduling fees through the end of 2020 have been waived.

As always, candidates can contact NBOME Client services by phone at 866.479.6828 7AM-7PM (ET) Monday through Friday or via email ClientServices@nbome.org.


MAY 14, 2020

The score release dates for candidates taking COMLEX-USA Level 1 from May 5 to June 26, 2020 are anticipated to be slightly longer than usual to allow sufficient time to statistically validate candidate performance for the new Level 1 testing cycle, which began on May 5, 2020. The additional time allows for a reliable scoring process, and is dependent on the number of candidates who test in a given period. Therefore, these dates reflect our best prediction of anticipated numbers of examinations administered in this testing window. We will update score release dates if needed as new information is available as a result of further reductions in testing administrations caused by government-mandated site closures or social distancing policies. Please see the COMLEX-USA Level 1 pages for specific score release information.

At this time we do not anticipate any change to the score release dates for COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE. Please see the COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE pages for score release dates.


MAY 13, 2020
The NBOME is dedicated to providing candidates the most up-to-date information regarding Prometric scheduling. We recognize the disruption the pandemic has caused both personally and professionally. We have these updates to share from Prometric:
  1. Prometric currently has 281 test centers open globally and expects to reopen an additional 66 sites by May 16. Candidates can view the updated list of sites on the Prometric website.
  2. Prometric will continue to add capacity through extended hours and days of operations across open centers for the next six months and will continue to provide updates on new site openings and additional strategies to enhance capacity. This translates to more candidates being able to schedule appointments and test faster.
  3. Prometric is working to improve how they manage mass-displacement rescheduling events. Acknowledge the current challenges associated with processing displaced candidates, as well as managing ever-changing variables, their immediate focus is on developing new ways to automate rescheduling candidates into new appointments following their displacement.
  4. NBOME’s Client Services Team will continue to be available 7AM-7PM ET to assist you as well. Given the volume of requests, our response time may be longer than normal, but this is the best avenue to ensure all candidates receive the support they need.
Prometric has created the following resources to help candidates and will continue to add to these sections as questions arise.
  • COVID-19 tab. The most current information on Prometric’s operation status and safety measures.
  • Essential Client Programs List. A current list of essential test programs that are currently eligible to test. This list will be evaluated and updated on a rolling basis.
  • Site Openings List. A running list of all of current open / scheduled-to-open Prometric sites and their resumption test date. This list is updated daily to reflect any changes in status, and will be evaluated for further additions on a rolling basis.
  • Social Distancing Policies. A detailed look at standard and region-based social distancing policies candidates are expected to follow while at the Prometric test center.
  • Test-Taker FAQ. Answers to frequently asked questions candidates may have about impacts to their exam.

MAY 7, 2020

The NBOME is dedicated to providing candidates the most up-to-date information regarding Prometric scheduling. We recognize the disruption the pandemic has caused both personally and professionally. We have these updates to share from Prometric:

  1. Testing has resumed at Prometric! While this helps the few, not the many, it is a first step in the right direction.
  2. Prometric currently has 116 test centers open globally and expects to reopen an additional 200+ sites across the U.S. and internationally through the end of May where it is safe to do so in accordance with all local, state and federal regulations. Through their new site openings list, candidates can see which sites plan to be opened this month and the date a test center is scheduled to re-open. This list will be updated daily.
  3. To aid in expanding seat availability for candidates, Prometric is continuing to add extended hours and days open where possible. This translates to more candidates being able to schedule appointments and test faster.
  4. Prometric has streamlined their candidate contact channel to improve their ability to process test takers' requests. If you require direct support from Prometric, there is an online form that asks for specific information they will need to handle candidate requests. NBOME’s Client Services Team will continue to be available 7AM-7PM ET to assist you as well. Given the volume of requests, our response time may be longer than normal, but this is the best avenue to ensure all candidates receive the support they need.

Prometric has created the following resources to help candidates and will continue to add to these sections as questions arise.

  • COVID-19 tab: provides the most current information on Prometric's operation status and safety measures.
  • Essential Client Programs List: provides a current list of essential test programs that are currently eligible to test. This list will be evaluated and updated on a rolling basis.
  • Site Openings List: provides a running list of all of current open / scheduled-to-open sites and their resumption test date. This list is updated daily to reflect any changes in status, and will be evaluated for further additions on a rolling basis.
  • Social Distancing Policies: provides a detailed look at standard and region-based social distancing policies candidates are expected to follow while at the test center.
  • Test-Taker FAQ: provides answers to frequently asked questions candidates might have about impacts to their exam.


APRIL 27, 2020

Which exam is being rescheduled?  Prometric provided communication to COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE candidates previously scheduled for May and June exam dates.  We understand that some osteopathic medical students also choose to take a USMLE Step exam.  The Prometric email to candidates did not clarify which examination (COMLEX-USA or USMLE) was impacted for the candidate.  Both COMLEX-USA and USMLE exams are considered “essential services” testing and therefore both have been impacted equivalently. NBOME understands the confusion this has created and we apologize for the frustration created.  We have asked Prometric to provide greater clarity to candidates regarding which scheduled exam or exams are impacted.

In order to clarify communications provided earlier today by Prometric, they will be providing the specific exam appointment date impacted.  Candidates should be able to identify which exam is being rescheduled based on the date provided.

Rescheduling.  NBOME sent communications to impacted candidates last week informing them of the forthcoming communication from Prometric.  The teams at both NBOME and Prometric are doing all they can to ensure displaced test takers have the opportunity to reschedule into new, available slots as early as desired or when safe to do so.

Candidates will be contacted by Prometric if their examination will be impacted. If they inform a candidate that their COMLEX-USA examination is to be cancelled and rescheduled, the candidate has the following options:

  • Proactively reschedule their appointment through the Prometric website, or
  • Wait for Prometric to automatically reschedule them into the next available date. If the date selected by Prometric isn’t convenient for the candidate it can be rescheduled to another date (at no additional fee).

Prometric will be rescheduling appointments on a rolling basis, with higher priority given to earlier exam dates.  Therefore, candidates may continue to see their original date in the Prometric system until it’s been rescheduled. Candidates not impacted by a cancellation will receive a notification from Prometric outlining new test site safety procedures.

Please note the NBOME portal system does not update until Prometric provides revised appointment information to NBOME.   Scheduling changes are not immediate, and may take up to 24 hours to be live in our systems.  Currently, NBOME is waiting for updated appointment information from Prometric.  With this in mind, it may temporarily appear that a candidate’s appointment is still scheduled on the original date in the NBOME Portal.

Extended Eligibility.  To facilitate candidate rescheduling, NBOME is extending the eligibility window through December 31, 2020.  These updates will be live in the NBOME Portal by Tuesday, April 28.

Rescheduling Fees.  ALL COMLEX-USA rescheduling fees have been waived through December 31, 2020.


APRIL 23, 2020

Prometric will begin testing on May 1, 2020 for examinations related to essential services, which includes COMLEX-USA. 

COMLEX-USA examinations have been designated “essential services programs” as noted on the Prometric website and therefore a limited number of examinations may begin prior to generalized openings. They are evaluating which of their test centers in the U.S. and Canada will be re-opening based on local governmental restrictions, CDC and WHO recommendations. To help ensure the protection of test takers and Prometric employees, safety practices will be enacted throughout the testing process—including observing social distancing as required by governmental regulations.

To comply with social distancing requirements and ensure the safety of Candidates and Staff, Prometric has reduced testing capacity at all sites.  This will result in some COMLEX-USA candidates being cancelled out of previously scheduled or rescheduled appointments.

Please keep in mind the following:

  • Your health and safety is our primary concern, and we have worked closely with Prometric and support their safety guidelines for resumption of examinations.
  • Prometric has prioritized essential examinations, including COMLEX-USA.
  • NBOME has added additional dates for COMLEX-USA testing from May through December 2020.
  • Prometric will be extending hours (i.e. Noon to 9 pm) and offering Sunday examinations.
  • Additional seats may open up in the future as local governments relax social distancing regulations.

Note:  If you are sick or have been sick within the past two weeks, we strongly encourage that you not show up to the test center to help ensure the safety of Prometric employees and other test takers. You can reschedule your exam at www.prometric.com

Candidates will be contacted by Prometric if their examination has been cancelled.  They may reschedule into a seat made available by the cancellation of a non-essential examination, or by the addition of new examination dates.  Candidates may proactively reschedule their appointment through the Prometric website or wait for Prometric to automatically reschedule them into the next available date.  If the date selected by Prometric isn't convenient for the candidate it can be rescheduled to another date (at no additional fee).  Prometric will be processing appointments in priority of their date.

Candidates not impacted by a cancellation will receive a notification from Prometric outlining new test site safety procedures. Please visit the Prometric website and FAQ page for a full list of test-day requirements (including the required use of your own self-provided face mask to wear during the examination).

The teams at both NBOME and Prometric are doing all they can to ensure displaced test takers have the opportunity to reschedule into new, available slots in the coming months.  Our primary goal is maintaining the ability to safely test the candidates where and when it is possible.  Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

Please contact the NBOME directly if you have any questions or concerns. We anticipate higher than normal call volumes during this time. We have placed additional associates on our phone systems and will work to answer your questions as quickly and completely as possible. We appreciate your understanding.

P: 866.479.6828
E: ClientServices@nbome.org


This week, we closed the individual survey for Phase 1 of the Special Commission on Osteopathic Medical Licensure Assessment and COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE, after extending the deadline to March 16. Over 5,000 individuals completed the survey, providing input regarding fundamental osteopathic clinical skills and assessment thereof, and we thank you for your feedback. We also appreciate the organizations who submitted formal position statements.

This week, we closed the individual survey for Phase 1 of the Special Commission on Osteopathic Medical Licensure Assessment and COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE, after extending the deadline to March 16. Over 5,000 individuals completed the survey, providing input regarding fundamental osteopathic clinical skills and assessment thereof, and we thank you for your feedback. We also appreciate the organizations who submitted formal position statements.

Following their endorsement of the NBOME pathways for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 (below), the Special Commission has turned their focus to addressing pathways to Level 3 Eligibility for the Class of 2022, the second of their Phase 1 objectives. Considerable research, is being done including review of the Phase 1 survey results and submitted position statements to investigate all options, and the Special Commission meets again multiple times in the next several weeks. Recommendations regarding fundamental osteopathic clinical skills and pathways for the Class of 2022 will be submitted to the NBOME Board of Directors in late April, and we anticipate a public announcement by April 30, 2021.

We understand you are busy and we will continue to distribute updates as they are available and meaningful, but we do not feel the weekly updates are needed at this time. Know that the Special Commission is continuing it’s important work, and further updates on their progress will be posted on their webpage.


NBOME Temporary Eligibility Pathways for COMLEX-USA Level 3 for the Classes of 2020 and 2021

UPDATED MARCH 11, 2021

The first goal for the Special Commission on Osteopathic Medical Licensure Assessment was the review and endorsement of temporary pathways for the Class of 2021 and 2020 to be eligible for the COMLEX-USA Level 3. For these graduates, eligibility to take COMLEX-USA Level 3 will be based on an attestation of their fundamental clinical skills from Deans and Residency Program Directors as outlined below. Phrases in italics are changes from current required attestations for examination eligibility.

These temporary pathways have been endorsed by the Special Commission on Osteopathic Medical Licensure Assessment and approved by the NBOME Board of Directors.

Eligibility for the COMLEX-USA Level 3 can be earned by the following pathways:

Pathway 1: for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 who have taken and passed COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE (as for prior DO graduates):

  • Passing both COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE and Level 2-PE
  • Graduation from an accredited college of osteopathic medicine (COM) with a DO degree as attested by the COM Dean
  • Attestation by the Residency Program Director of an ACGME accredited program that you are in good academic and professional standing
  • 6 months of GME completion prior to taking COMLEX-USA Level 3 (Recommendation ONLY)

Pathway 2: for the Class of 2021, who have never taken COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE:

  • Passing COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE
  • Attestation by COM Dean that you have graduated and have demonstrated the fundamental osteopathic clinical skills necessary for graduation
  • Attestation by the Residency Program Director of an ACGME accredited program that you are in good academic and professional standing
  • 6 months of GME completion prior to taking COMLEX-USA Level 3 (Recommendation ONLY)
  • There is no requirement to travel to take COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE and there is no fee

Pathway 3: for the Classes of 2020 and 2021, who have unsuccessfully attempted (failed) COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE:

  • Passing COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE
  • Attestation by COM Dean that you have graduated and have demonstrated the fundamental osteopathic clinical skills necessary for graduation
  • Attestation by the Program Director of an ACGME accredited program that you are in good academic and professional standing
  • 6 months of GME completion prior to taking COMLEX-USA Level 3 (Required)
  • There is no requirement to travel to take COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE and there is no fee
Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there a change to the Program Director attestation?

No, the attestation from the Program Director of an ACGME accredited program is the same in all three pathways, namely, that the resident is in good professional and academic standing. The difference at the graduate level is the requirement of 6 months of GME for Pathway 3.

2. What about someone in the Classes of 2020 and 2021 who has failed the PE multiple times?

They would follow Pathway 3 above, provided they have not exceeded the maximum attempt limits for the examination.

3. I am a member of the Class of 2021 who never took the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE. What do I need to do?

You will not need to do anything just now. Your Dean will complete the attestation for you at graduation provided you qualify. When you begin your residency, you will need to enter your Program Director information into the NBOME Portal. Your Program Director will then be able complete the required Program Director attestation for your eligibility to take COMLEX-USA Level 3. This has been required in the COMLEX-USA program since 2018, so Program Directors are quite accustomed to this straightforward and user-friendly process.

4. What about the Class of 2019 and previous classes?

These pathways are temporary and for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 only. As passing COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE was a graduation requirement per accreditation standards for the Class of 2019 and earlier, these pathways do not apply (as graduation is part of these pathways). Further review of special circumstances for candidates who were formerly in the Classes of 2019 and earlier, had failed COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE, and did not graduate is underway.

5. I have a previous failure on the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE. Will this be erased from my transcript?

As COMLEX-USA is recognized by all U.S. state licensing boards for granting licenses, it is NBOME’s responsibility to provide comprehensive transcripts that include all exam history and results of COMLEX-USA examinations for state medical and osteopathic medical licensing boards. Therefore, we cannot remove examination results from official COMLEX-USA transcripts. We will annotate COMLEX-USA transcripts to note that the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE was suspended on March 7, 2020 due to the pandemic, that temporary alternate pathways were provided, and that eligible candidates who complete the COMLEX-USA series of examinations via any of these pathways will be considered to have successfully completed the NBOME COMLEX-USA licensing examination program.

6. I graduated in the Class of 2020 but am not in a residency program. How can I complete the pathway?

First, you would be classified into either Pathway 2 or 3, depending on your COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE status. Your dean would provide an attestation as noted in these pathways if you qualify. Then, if you are not in a residency program, you could seek eligibility for COMLEX-USA Level 3 though the NBOME’s Temporary Alternate Pathway for COMLEX-USA Level 3 Attestation (TAPA) program.



MARCH 4, 2021

We continue to process refunds for both scheduled COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE examinations that were cancelled and for vouchers that candidates still had in our Portal for the Level 2-PE.

On February 26, we announced the inaugural members for the Phase 1 work of the Special Commission on Osteopathic Medical Licensure Assessment on our new site for the Special Commission. The Special Commission leadership has already met and is preparing for the first meeting, scheduled to take place today! The first two public communications about the Special Commission’s progress and recommendations are scheduled for March 11 and April 30, as outlined in prior weekly updates.

On Monday March 1, we sent out a request for organizational statements to over 100 organizations, from osteopathic student groups to AOA and affiliate organizations, state medical and osteopathic boards and associations, osteopathic specialty colleges and patient safety organizations. This first request for input asks for information and opinions regarding assessment of fundamental clinical skills.

We also sent a stakeholder survey out to capture feedback from individuals with an interest in licensure assessment, also particularly as it relates to the assessment of fundamental clinical skills. We understand that how these competencies are assessed has an impact on learners, educators, regulators, members of the profession and patients, and input from these stakeholders is critically important to the work ahead.

Didn’t get yours? Take the survey here.


FEBRUARY 25, 2021
REFUNDS!

Earlier this week, an automated refund process went into effect. What this means is that the NBOME staff has begun cancelling all scheduled Level 2-PE examinations that were scheduled to begin on April 1, 2021. This will trigger an automatic refund to the payment method used to purchase the examination. If that payment method is no longer active (such as an inactive credit card), the candidate will receive a follow up email from the NBOME. We are cancelling ALL Level 2-PE examinations for all classes. For the candidates who have a Level 2-PE voucher, the refund process is the same. We expect to have all currently scheduled COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE examinations cancelled by the end of next week.

Remember that details for the temporary alternate pathway will be announced for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 by March 11, 2021. The Special Commission will release details for the Class of 2022 by April 30, 2021.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

SHARE YOUR INSIGHTS ON CLINICAL SKILLS ASSESSMENT/VERIFICATION

Phase 1 work for the Special Commission on Osteopathic Medical Licensure Assessment will begin next week. This will include your input from an initial survey that will focus on feedback regarding the verification, documentation, and assessment of fundamental clinical skills for the pathway for licensure for osteopathic medical practice.

Stakeholder Organizations: Within this next week organizations from across the UME-GME continuum, licensure and practice, including learners and public member/patient advocates, will receive a letter with a request for Stakeholder organizational feedback, and instructions for how to provide information on the Phase 1 work for the Special Commission. This first round of input will be requested by March 12, 2021.

Individuals: Check your email in the next week for an individual stakeholder survey which will provide an opportunity for individuals to answer questions to inform the Phase 1 Special Commission objectives related to clinical skills assessment/verification.

We do anticipate a more in-depth survey may be requested from the Special Commission when they move into Phase 2.

SPECIAL COMMISSION APPOINTMENTS

Finally, we appreciate the quick responses from the numerous Stakeholder Organizations asked to nominate individuals for the Special Commission for Osteopathic Medical Licensure Assessment. We are reaching out to those selected for appointment this week, and hope to announce the initial appointments for the approximately 21-member Special Commission by 2/26/21. We have received a very enthusiastic response and are so fortunate to have so much expertise, talent and passion for the importance of osteopathic medical licensure assessment, in support of our profession and the patients we have the privilege to serve. While additional members may be appointed in the coming weeks and for phase 2 of the work, this initial group is comprised of a diverse, representative, and high quality group of individuals. Phase 1 of the Special Commission work will commence next week.

Updates for the Special Commission will be found in a new location under “Resources” on our home page.


FEBRUARY 18, 2021

The NBOME continues to work diligently on the impact of the suspension of the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE. Earlier this week, we released a joint statement with the AOA and the AACOM that reflects a unified view on the importance of osteopathic assessment for licensure and the Special Commission on Osteopathic Medical Licensure. This will help to ensure that COMLEX-USA continues to evolve in a manner that reflects the changing practice of osteopathic medicine.

In the past week we have responded to over 1,300 inquiries from students who have been unable to take their scheduled Level 2-PE due to the pandemic. We have processed over 642 refunds and are working to update our Portal system so that moving forward examination fees can be automatically refunded for scheduled candidates in a manner that keeps the Portal operational for all users. Thank you for your patience.

We have begun the nomination process for the Special Commission on Osteopathic Medical Licensure, and have invited the following organizations to submit nominees:

COMMISSION REPRESENTATION*
Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Board of Deans
American Association of Osteopathic Examiners (AAOE) / licensure
American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
AOA-Bureau of Emerging Leaders (BEL) / Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) / (student or resident)
Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators (AOGME)
Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA)
Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) / (student)
Educational Council on Osteopathic Principles (ECOP)
National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) Board of Directors & National Faculty
Organization of Program Director Associations (OPDA)

*Invited

As we move forward expeditiously with this important work, remember that our first and most acute objective is to establish defensible pathway(s) for verification of clinical skills competencies in the licensure pathway for the Class of 2021 (and earlier), which will be announced no later than March 11, 2021. This will NOT require that students travel to a center to test, nor will it include any fees for these candidates. We want to ensure pathways for progression and licensure for our students and residents, while not losing the trust earned from patients, the public, licensing authorities and others that DOs have demonstrated their competencies.

Our second objective is to clarify defensible pathways for the Class of 2022, which will be announced no later than April 30, 2021. As a reminder, the phases of the Special Commission and deliverable dates can be found in last week’s update below.

We want you to be a part of the solution! We will be publishing information on how both organizations and individuals may provide input into the Special Commission’s work. Organizations will have the opportunity to provide a structured position statement regarding assessment of fundamental clinical skills in the licensure assessment pathway and individual stakeholders will receive a survey. The response period will run from February 25-March 12, 2021. The details on how input will be collected is in development and will be included in next Thursday’s update and widely distributed via email. Later in the year, we will have an additional call for position statements and public commentary, ensuring ample opportunity for everyone to be heard for each Phase of the Special Commission’s work.

Continue to look for weekly updates here and for a new website location for periodic updates related to the work of the Special Commission.


FEBRUARY 11, 2021

The NBOME Board of Directors held a special session earlier this week and has made the following decisions related to the global pandemic and COMLEX-USA:

  • 1. The COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE is postponed indefinitely and will not resume on April 1, 2021.
  • 2. We are deferring work on a temporary clinical skills testing site in California.
  • 3. For the Class of 2021 (and earlier), we are developing a temporary alternative pathway to meet the eligibility requirements for the COMLEX-USA Level 3 examination.
  • a. This new pathway will allow for the verification of the competencies assessed in Level 2-PE without the need to travel to an NBOME National Center for Clinical Skills Testing.
  • b. We are working diligently to determine exactly what this temporary alternative pathway will look like for the Class of 2021 (and earlier) including options for those who have not yet taken Level 2-PE and others. We expect to release additional details within the next 4 weeks.
  • 4. For the Class of 2022, we are convening a Special Commission that will review the future of Level 2-PE and determine potential alternative pathways. Detailed information about alternate pathways will be available by April 30, 2021.
  • 5. The Special Commission and its charge will be expanded to consider and identify new ways to evaluate fundamental competencies currently assessed in the Level 2-PE. This will include a full review of the COMLEX-USA program, to ensure it continues to provide a defensible pathway to osteopathic medical practice and licensure. The Special Commission will include members from across the UME-GME-Licensure continuum, including student representatives and public members/patient representatives. This work will occur in two phases:
  • a. Phase 1 will address points number three and four above, and will include structured feedback opportunities from all stakeholders, from students to educators to licensing authorities to professional organizations, and public members/patient representatives.
  • b. Phase 2 will focus on long-term solutions to assess competencies for osteopathic medicine in the COMLEX-USA program, with an eye on our collective duty to ensure quality care for the public and our patients.

A general timeline is as follows:

Action Time
Commission begins its phase 1 work- clinical skills assessment Week of February 22, 2021
Details on temporary alternate pathway (For classes of 2021 and earlier) Announced by March 11, 2021
Feedback period - organizations February 25, 2021 –March 12, 2021
Feedback period - individuals February 25, 2021- March 12, 2021
Details on pathway options for Class of 2022 (Phase 1) Announced by April 30, 2021
Expanded Commission-phase 2 begins- COMLEX-USA May 2021
Final Commission report release July 1, 2022

We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to answer as many of your pressing questions as possible, but there is much we still need to determine about this process. We vow to be transparent as we work with our learners and other stakeholders across our profession. Weekly NBOME Updates on Thursdays will continue. NBOME Client Services is available from 7AM-7 PM ET M-F and at clientservices@nbome.org to try and answer additional questions.

We have carefully considered all of the feedback we have received from you during this pandemic year and we are grateful for your input. While we are sorry for the widespread misinformation that circulates, we understand the extraordinary challenges we have all faced in the global emergency. Enthusiasm regarding the COMLEX-USA and the importance of osteopathically distinctive assessment is a testament to how much we all care about the osteopathic profession, its learners and physicians, and our patients.

We at the NBOME have always been, and continue to be, committed to maintaining the excellence of our profession through high quality assessment and professional self-regulation. Given the unique circumstances presented by the pandemic, we have the opportunity to continue to evolve COMLEX-USA in a manner that meets the changing practice of osteopathic medicine and its physicians.

Our focus on COMLEX-USA includes input from stakeholders across the osteopathic medical profession to ensure its continued excellence for our patients, and we don’t take these decisions lightly. Decisions made by the NBOME as part of this process and outcomes related to our testing methods continue to be made carefully and with valued input from all of our stakeholders, and are not to be meant as commentary about assessment and testing decisions made by other organizations or professions.

Please look for our next weekly update with more information on Thursday, February 18, 2021.


FEBRUARY 5, 2021

Dear Osteopathic Medical Family and Friends:

We would like to thank the osteopathic medical community and those across the entire house of medicine who have reached out to us with their thoughts, feedback, and concerns this past week—we appreciate your insights.

In particular, leaders from the governing boards of the American Osteopathic Association, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, and the American Association of Osteopathic Examiners, as well as others, have been very responsive and engaged in the process.

The pandemic has presented us all with unprecedented challenges, but also a unique opportunity to further reimagine how we ensure the continued high quality of care for our patients and the success of the DO profession through the very necessary evaluation of students, residents, and physicians who serve as stewards of osteopathic medicine and its philosophy.

Education, training, accreditation, licensure, and continuous professional development are interrelated in our goal of protecting the public and providing our patients with the highest levels of care.

We know that all members of the osteopathic medical profession, including DO students, recognize the importance of keeping the patient front and center in all that we do.

To that end, we must assure that our osteopathically distinctive licensure assessment pathways—in whatever form they take—in no way compromise:

  • patient safety and high quality patient care through assessment of fundamental competencies integral to osteopathic medicine,
  • the patient-centered approach to care, integral to what patients expect from DOs,
  • the ability of DO students to graduate, and efficiently progress into and complete residency training, and
  • the ability of DOs to earn the privilege of licensure wherever they choose to practice.

We believe we can DO all four.

Next week, the NBOME Board of Directors will continue reviewing an expedited, structured, and comprehensive process for formal stakeholder input on how we can further reimagine this course.

This will require a defined but expedited period of time on our part to consider thoroughly, comprehensively, and carefully, all of the aspects associated with changes to assessment for licensure.

The NBOME Board does not act unilaterally in major decisions that involve many others and which might yield unintended consequences. We have already held meetings with many organizational leaders including those across osteopathic medical education, osteopathic professional practice and self-regulation and accreditation and licensure communities.

We have engaged AOA and AACOM to provide timely information to all our stakeholders as we gather insights to our work in progress. In addition, we will pursue active contributions from a number of student organizations, including SOMA and COSGP, and the AOA’s Bureau of Emerging Leaders, to provide further opportunities for valuable input from students and residents.

We are asking for your patience to work through what is a complicated process, ensuring we can fairly consider all of the factors required to make the most informed decision possible—one that has great potential to benefit learners, the educational programs, our profession and most importantly, our patients.

As we move forward, we are committed to being transparent as we consider not only all options and outcomes, but also protecting the integrity of the process along the way to assure the best possible solution. Each Thursday, we plan to share weekly public updates on our website.

With next Thursday’s update, we will provide a timeline and method for all interested parties—both organizations and individuals—to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns with us. This will ensure that your valuable and professional feedback is shared directly with those of us who are committed to finding the best path forward. Please continue to check our website for updates.

Thank you for your trust as we navigate this journey together.

Sincerely,

John R. Gimpel, DO, Med, President & CEO on behalf of the Board of Directors, Staff, and National Faculty


JANUARY 28, 2021

The NBOME is committed to its mission of protecting the public via assessment, and providing osteopathic physician candidates with the means to demonstrate their fundamental competencies for licensure for all of the state medical and osteopathic medical licensing boards. COMLEX-USA, including the valid and reliable Level 2-Performance Evaluation, is designed to assess the fundamental competencies for osteopathic medical practice, helping the licensing boards to protect the public. These include distinctive skills in osteopathic assessment, OMM and OMT.

Our plans to provide access to Level 2-PE again in April 2021 are progressing along well, of course, contingent on local and national conditions with the pandemic and our ability to provide safe access. Further plans for a temporary satellite clinical skills testing site for Level 2-PE near Fresno, California to expand access are likewise on target (estimated May 2021).

As always, we will continue to incorporate input from the licensure, education, and practice communities across the profession, helping to assure that COMLEX-USA keeps up with the evolving practice of osteopathic medicine and its primary purpose related to licensure and protecting the public. We continue to ensure that each examination and the entire program continue to benefit from opportunities and advances in technologies, psychometrics, and collaboration across the continuum; attending to candidate needs in the test-taking experience; and our continuous quality improvement measures that exceed industry standards, including those for validity, reliability, and fairness.


DECEMBER 15, 2020

This update is in regards to the NBOME’s ongoing exploration of a temporary satellite testing site for COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE in the western region of the United States.

With the extension of the exam hiatus through March 31, the timeline on this project has shifted and we now anticipate being able to offer exam administrations in the satellite testing site from May through September 2021. We expect to make more than 1200 testing spots available in addition to those at NBOME’s two National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing in Chicago and Philadelphia for those eligible candidates who are ready to test.

Prioritization for these spots, as with those at the NCCSTs, will be given to candidates with 2021 (or earlier) graduation dates. We may potentially offer availability at the satellite testing site to eligible students in the Class of 2022 once those with priority have had ample opportunity to schedule. As previously described, the NBOME has frozen COMLEX-USA exam fee increases and eliminated rescheduling fees to support the continued flexibility and choice of when to test, leaving that in the hands of the candidates and their schools. We anticipate these spots opening for registration in early February 2021.

With everyone’s well-being in mind, the NBOME continues to monitor safety recommendations with respect to the pandemic. We are monitoring the vaccination efforts and are actively exploring options to incorporate rapid testing for SARS-CoV-19 in an effort to mitigate risk as we look to resume testing.

Further updates on testing capacity and potential satellite testing opportunities will be released by the end of January 2021. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to assure testing administrations meet needs for safety and reliability.


OCTOBER 23, 2020

NBOME is temporarily suspending all administrations of COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE previously scheduled to restart in November 2020.

The documented recent increases in COVID-19 disease activity at both the national and local level, as well as related travel restrictions put into effect in recent weeks, along with our focus on candidate, staff and community wellness and safety, were defining factors in this decision. NBOME plans to resume testing in April 2021 at both NBOME National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing.

Please visit COVID-19 FAQ Page for additional information on rescheduling, refunds, test center and spot availability, and further details on how and why we have made this difficult decision.

We apologize for the inconvenience and any undue anxiety this suspension may create for candidates. Please know this decision was not an easy one, but was firmly motivated by our continued commitment to the health, wellness and safety of our candidates, our staff, and our communities. Thanks to everyone across the profession who has supported NBOME’s efforts to continue to meet our mission, help to keep everyone safe, and support our learners on their paths to medical licensure.

We will continue to stand ready to safely provide opportunities for candidates to take this important licensure examination and to demonstrate fundamental osteopathic medical competencies for the unrestricted license to practice in all United States and territories. We will remain committed to supporting otherwise qualified learners to progress through graduation, into residency training and on towards medical licensure.


OCTOBER 2, 2020

This update is in follow-up to the announcement on September 2, 2020 on NBOME’s exploration of a temporary contingency satellite testing site for COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE in the western region of the United States.

We have continued to listen to the feedback from students, particularly from the Class of 2021, including the many stressors they have encountered with taking or planning to take their licensure exams. We understand these students have been faced with numerous uncertainties and challenges with their clinical learning/clinical rotations, applications for GME/residencies, etc. Providing access to safe testing that remains valid, reliable and defensible has remained our priority, for those students who feel they are ready to test and would like to have the opportunity to do so in the upcoming months. We have surveyed Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and DO students and have found an interest in availability to take Level 2-PE in 2021 in a temporary satellite testing location near Fresno, CA. In addition, our team has been working to identify a partner that would be able to work with us to assure that the additional availability for testing in this temporary satellite site would ensure the same NBOME standards for everyone’s safety, test security, and standardization for the valid, reliable, defensible assessment of fundamental osteopathic medical competencies.

At present, it is anticipated that Level 2-PE testing availability at this satellite site would begin in March of 2021 and run through July 2021, adding opportunities to the NBOME’s two National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing in Chicago and Philadelphia for those ready to test. We anticipate that once eligible candidates with graduation dates in 2021 (or earlier) have been provided priority-opportunity to test, availability would be offered to eligible students in the Class of 2022. As previously described, the NBOME has frozen COMLEX-USA exam fee increases and eliminated any rescheduling fees to support the continued flexibility and choice of when to test, leaving that in the hands of the students and their schools.

We will continue to provide updated communications regularly and are committed to providing another more comprehensive update on Level 2-PE test availability and the contingency planning for clinical skills testing delivery on or about November 2, and further details and possibly the opening of test center appointment dates at a temporary satellite testing site as early as December 15, 2020.


SEPTEMBER 2, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBOME has accelerated research, development and piloting of temporary contingency test delivery options for NBOME assessments -- including the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE examination which assesses fundamental clinical skills including physical exam skills and OMT. Since exam suspension in March of 2020, we have been working hard to implementing procedures for everyone’s safety such as rigorous and frequent cleaning protocols and health screens for both candidates and staff, and are also investigating the potential role for SARS-CoV-2 testing. External public health and infectious disease consultants have been integrally involved in our plans for test resumption, currently targeted for November 1, 2020 at both NBOME National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing (NCCSTs; Chicago and Philadelphia.)

We understand and appreciate the ongoing concerns related to travel to test. Approximately 56% of the DO students the Class of 2021 are enrolled at a college of osteopathic medicine located within an 8 hour drive of one of our current testing locations, and 25% of the anticipated graduating DO Class of 2021 have already passed the exam. While considerable capacity remains in our two NCCSTs to test the remaining graduating seniors, our team is actively exploring options for a temporary satellite testing center located in the western portion of the country, potentially for a testing window in 2021.

Our objective is to provide candidates the opportunity to complete their COMLEX-USA examination and demonstrate their competency for licensure, when they are ready to do so, as promptly and as safely as possible. As COMLEX-USA is a licensing examination, it is imperative that we maintain the integrity of the examination program, and that the administration of the exam remains valid for this purpose, and preserves the reliability, defensibility and fairness of the examination. COMLEX-USA is entrusted in every state for medical licensure for DOs, therefore the integrity of the examination is of paramount concern. We have appreciated the overwhelming support of the colleges of osteopathic medicine and other stakeholders in sharing constructive feedback and ideas for administration solutions, in particular appreciating the concerns and input from DO students and student organizations. We have reached out to residency program associations including the Organization of Program Director Associations (OPDA) and the Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators (AOGME) and received formal statements from both that they understand that many residency program applicants in the Class of 2021 will not have results of COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE (DO applicants) or USMLE Step 2-CS (MD applicants) when they apply, and that applicants should not be held accountable for results of exams they have been unable to take due to exam suspensions and the pandemic. We have advocated for other organizations across the house of medicine to acknowledge this reality in 2020-2021.

NBOME has continued to work tirelessly to assist exam candidates, colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs), and other stakeholders since the pandemic emerged in March, when we implemented COMAT-Self-Proctored test form options for COMs, and launched COMSAE Phase 2 (self-assessments) on our CATALYST longitudinal assessment platform. In late July the first satellite testing center for administration of COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-CE, and Level 3 opened on the campus of the University of North Texas Health Science Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Fort Worth, TX and in mid-August a similar center opened at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, East Lansing, MI. These strategies and Prometric test center-delivered exams have put COMLEX-USA testing totals over the 16,000 mark since testing resumed in May.

In conjunction with identifying a potential contingency site for clinical skills testing, we continue to listen and collaborate with organizations and individuals in the medical education and medical regulatory communities to address this disruption and its effects, both professionally and personally, on candidates. We empathize with the unique circumstances of osteopathic medical students and residents, and indeed all of us in healthcare, medical education, and our world. Your support and input remains critical to our ability to meet our mission, relied upon by the state medical and osteopathic medical licensing boards and the patients in the communities we serve.

We will continue to provide updated communications regularly, and are committed to a formal update on the contingency planning for clinical skills testing delivery by October 1.


JULY 23 2020

As we monitor evolving challenges related to the pandemic, we are concerned with the surge in disease activity across the county and the impact this has on safe candidate travel. While we believe we can ensure a safe testing experience once students are onsite, we are not able to ensure their safety during travel. The health and safety of our candidates and staff continues to be of the utmost importance. As such, exams up through October, 2020 have been cancelled and we anticipate resuming testing on November 1, 2020. Candidates directly impacted by this cancellation decision will be notified directly and we will assist them with any rescheduling needs.

We realize the stress this decision creates and know that everyone is facing significant challenges at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience but ask for your understanding during this time of uncertainty. Once we return to normal operations, we will add additional exam sessions in an effort to provide as much opportunity to access the exam.

We continue to monitor the situation daily and will make informed decisions about resuming testing and impact on the exam based on how the pandemic evolves. Thank you for your patience as we all look for signs of hope in the public health crisis improving.

Our portal is open to reschedule exams at this time. The NBOME is very committed to assisting students as much as possible with testing opportunities while looking to monitor safety.

Score release dates for all November and December examinations will now be included in the February 1-9, 2021 window. All score release dates for 2021 are unchanged at this time.

For information on travel advisories or making changes to your current travel itinerary, please contact your airline or rail service directly. If any alteration in your travel plans results in a change fee, please reach out via our client services system for assistance.

We will continue to update this site as the situation evolves. Please contact the NBOME directly if you have any additional questions or concerns.

P: 866.479.6828
E: ClientServices@nbome.org


JULY 16 2020

On July 11, infectious disease epidemiologists from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health were onsite to review NBOME’s enhanced safety policies and procedures for the administration of the COMLEX-USA Level 2-Performance Evaluation. This was the second infectious disease expert NBOME has engaged related to our plans to resume testing.

This latest group of experts reviewed both candidate and staff processes from the standpoint of the examination day and provided notes regarding the safety policies and procedures to be used once we resume clinical skills testing. They expressed confidence that our interventions are grounded in sound medical knowledge and provide risk mitigation for the exam. We anticipate receiving their full report within the next few weeks.

We are also looking forward to sharing our new safety video with you early next week. This video provides a visual overview of the myriad modifications and enhancements NBOME has made to protect candidates, staff and standardized patients. Stay tuned!


JUNE 25, 2020

As osteopathic medical schools begin to resume educational activities, including clinical rotations, the Clinical Skills Testing Department at the NBOME is also preparing for the resumption of the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE, currently slated for September 1.

With a keen sensitivity to the pressures and challenges of testing during these uncertain times, we are taking every precaution to ensure a safe and comfortable testing experience for candidates, as well as for our staff and standardized patients.

We have taken a methodical approach to analyzing the exam administration process, looking critically at each onsite step of the exam experience, from the moment a candidate enters the building until they depart. Our commitment to the health and wellness of our candidates guides us as we identify opportunities for improvement, and as we adjust our processes and procedures to address any safety gaps that may exist - all while maintaining the validity and reliability of the clinical skills exam.

We will be sharing our comprehensive safety measures more fully in the next few weeks, as well as guidelines for candidates regarding the exam encounters with standardized patients. In the meantime the following items serve as a starting point:

  • Candidate and Staff health screening. Exam staff will assess candidates during the check-in process and conduct thermal screenings of all candidates.
  • Social distancing. These protocols will be rigorously enforced throughout the NCCST. However, patient encounters will still require direct contact / interaction.
  • Staggered exam start times. On days with more than 1 exam scheduled we will stagger times to start about an hour apart. Start times will be communicated via email received in the weeks leading up to their exam.
  • Larger capacity rooms. Large rooms have been reserved for registration and breaks to further support social distancing protocols.
  • Hand sanitizer. This will be available in all common areas throughout the NCCST, in all examination rooms, and at all SOAP note terminals.
  • Clear face masks issued to all candidates and standardized patients. These masks provide protection from spreading respiratory droplets while allowing viewing of the full face. Please note, these are not face shields, but actual face masks that fully cover the nose and mouth of the wearer.
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures. Hospital-grade disinfectant will be used to periodically wipe down high-touch surfaces both in exam rooms and at SOAP note terminals, plus daily deep-cleaning before each testing session.

Risk Management. Scenario Planning. Pilot Testing. Independent Review. Incredible thanks go out to the students, residents and attending physicians who joined us on Saturday June 13 as part of our first Level 2-PE pilot exam with COVID-19 protocols in place. The intent of the pilot was to pressure-test the various physical distancing and safety modifications put in place and to gain further insight on what else needs to be done to prepare for a safe and successful exam re-start.

We were also joined on-site by a local board-certified infectious disease specialist with training in hospital epidemiology and investigating outbreaks. She monitored the pilot exam from candidate and staff wellness screening, to physical distancing implementation, to enhanced cleaning protocols. She provided valuable feedback on our processes and expressed confidence in the steps we have taken to make the exam a safe experience. The pilot provided us clearer insight on the integrity of our enhanced health and safety policies and procedures and reassured us that we are on the right track as we prepare to relaunch the exam.

As a follow-up to the pilot, NBOME will be hosting a team of public health officials from Johns Hopkins University on July 11. This group will provide further review of the exam and our approach to enhanced safety.

While the input and recommendations received from subject matter experts in the public health sector will directly guide our path forward, we also feel it is important to engage the student community to ensure they feel safe in this environment. As such, we have invited a fourth-year DO student leader who has already completed the clinical skills exam to visit our NCCST, review the safety enhancements we are putting in place, and provide their thoughts as it relates to the comfort level of incoming candidates.

Once this 360-degree analysis is complete, we will incorporate our learnings into a safety report and video that will be available on our website in mid-July.

Our re-start plan will continue to evolve as we monitor the rapidly growing medical knowledge surrounding the virus and the implications of public health and safety guidelines in the Chicago and Philadelphia regions where our NCCSTs are located, as well as other key regions. While we are optimistic about our plans to safely resume testing on September 1, and are looking forward to again engaging with candidates, please be assured that we do not plan to resume testing until we have made the testing environment as safe as possible, given the unique circumstances. We also encourage students to continually evaluate their own personal circumstances regarding location and personal situations. We currently have exam openings through June 2021 for those who would feel more comfortable coming at a later time.

We remain dedicated to the importance of assessing the fundamental clinical skills of DO candidates and support the safe return of clinical learning opportunities as we all move forward during these uncertain times, together.


JUNE 5, 2020

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) have been working together on numerous challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis. Read our joint statement in support of COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE and COCA’s temporary modification of graduation.


JUNE 3, 2020

We appreciate all of the students who have very professionally provided their feedback and made us aware of their concerns. We heard your views about availability and access to testing as well as the safety of testing and travel to testing centers since the challenges with COVID-19 emerged. We have continued our considerable efforts to listen to the opinions of DO students, but particularly over the past several months in the COVID-19 era. And we continue to hear you, and share in your frustrations and anxieties caused by this pandemic. In addition to countless information sessions with other stakeholder groups, we have held multiple videoconference meetings with the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP), their Executive Board, and two open Webinars for DO students in the past 2 months. We have also held a similar number of updates and Question and Answer sessions for COM Deans, who often reflect the concerns expressed by their students.

Specifically related to COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE and clinical skills testing in our two National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing, we initially suspended all testing back in March, and have not given a test since March 6, 2020. We did so out of concern for the health and safety of students, staff and our communities, and in compliance with local, state and federal expert and governmental authorities. We continue our outreach for further input from the licensure and medical regulatory community, the leadership of the AOA and the AACOM, and others across the patient advocacy community. They all reiterate the importance of the examination as a part of the licensure examination series and of our mission to protect the public- the patients we have the privilege to serve.

We had announced a suspension of Level 2-PE test sessions until July 1 and we were on track with examination modifications that could have made this possible. However, out of an abundance of caution we have elected to further suspend resumption of testing until September 1, 2020. We have engaged external public health/infectious disease experts on the significant modifications to test administration that would enhance safety. We will continue to monitor local and state opening guidelines, travel restrictions, and guidelines for return to campuses and clinical rotations. We will continue to use these indicators to help guide the safe resumption of testing, and will be sharing further detailed materials and a video tour of the modified testing center environment and test administration features. We have reached out to student leaders who will be visiting our National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing to walk through a center and see the examination and physical center modifications.

We know there will be different circumstances for each candidate. Some will more easily be able to come to take the examination at first- those who can travel more easily to the locations, for example. We continue to suggest that anyone who would like to postpone testing for any reason, be it personal safety, that of loved ones, travel concerns, etc., that they do so. Candidates who have been impacted with this further suspension have been personally notified, and we apologize for the inconvenience and frustrations exam cancellations cause. For any additional cancellations, we will supplement our normal systems and processes with telephone access to client services support who can help to troubleshoot rescheduling challenges. As always, candidates who are impacted with additional financial hardship due to travel cancellation fees are also encouraged to contact NBOME Client Services at Clientservices@nbome.org or 866.479.6828.

These decisions are not made by the NBOME in a silo, but with the input of many stakeholders, including medical regulatory and educational organizations in the osteopathic medical community. Our collective decision to further suspend the examination and not provide testing opportunities until September 1 may not be a popular one, but we continue to do everything we can to provide safe testing opportunities for students and residents to meet licensure requirements and demonstrate their competencies. At the same time, we will honor our commitment to the patients and communities who entrust us with the responsibility of professional self-regulation that ultimately helps to keep them safe.


MAY 18, 2020

In an effort to assist candidates impacted by cancellations of the COMLEX Level 2-PE examination due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are releasing additional testing sessions for later this year and early 2021.  New sessions have been made available on the NBOME portal and more will be released once we resume normal operations.

NBOME continues to evaluate recommendations related to how long social distancing will be in effect to determine when additional opportunities for more sessions might best be added. Currently almost 3200 candidates have been impacted by exam cancellations and we appreciate your understanding as we look to offer rescheduling options. Our portal is open and remains the fastest means to reschedule exams.

We often hear student and school concerns about residency program applications and the desire to have Level 2-PE results before applying in ERAS. Please know residency program directors are well aware that many applicants in the Class of 2021 will not have a chance to receive a test score by the new October 2020 ERAS opening. We appreciate your understanding during this stressful time and please be assured we are very cognizant of the importance of providing ample opportunities for this exam.

Once the National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing resume exams, we will be able to determine the best avenues for the additional sessions.  We hope you are staying safe during these challenging times.


MAY 14, 2020

The health and safety of our staff and candidates is of the utmost importance to the NBOME. Governors in both states (PA and IL) have mandates in place that have made it impossible to deliver the June exams. Therefore, NBOME has extended our COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE hiatus through June 30 and hope to resume testing on Wednesday, July 1. We apologize for the inconvenience this creates but ask for your understanding during this time of national emergency and uncertainty. Candidates scheduled in June will be notified individually and we will work with them to assist with rescheduling their exam. Once we return to normal operations, we will add a considerable number of additional exam sessions in an effort to provide as much opportunity to test and receive results in a timely manner.

We continue to monitor the situation daily and will make informed decisions about testing and impact on the exam based on how the pandemic unfolds. We will resume testing when it is as safe as possible to do so. Prior to resuming, we will provide information regarding any impact COVID-19 has on how the exam unfolds, including modifications to exam administration for social distancing and accounting for this novel disease in the context of exam cases. The NBOME remains committed to a valid, reliable, defensible and fair assessment of the fundamental clinical skills required for licensure as an osteopathic physician and by residency program directors. Thank you for your understanding during this stressful time.

Our portal is open to reschedule exams and at this time, score release dates are unchanged for exams taken from July 1 onward. The NBOME is very aware of the need to have Level 2-PE results in a timely manner for rotation, residency application, and graduation requirements. As circumstances, guidelines and governmental mandates continue to vary across the nation, we recommend that those uncomfortable with travel for a July, August or September test session (or any time) reschedule their session. There will be sessions added to accommodate candidate demands through the winter and spring months of 2020-2021.

We often hear student and school worries about residency program applications and the desire to have Level 2-PE results before applying in ERAS. Please know that residency program directors are well aware that many or most applicants in the Class of 2021 will not have had a chance to receive a test score by the new October 2020 ERAS opening. We appreciate your understanding during this stressful time and please be assured we are very cognizant of the importance of providing ample opportunities for this exam.

We will continue to update schools, accreditors, and residency program director groups, reminding them that many 2021 graduates will not have Level 2-PE results by the new ERAS opening date in October 2020 or even by rank order list submission deadlines in February 2021, helping to advocate for students so they are not held accountable for test results of examinations they were unable to complete due to the pandemic.

We will continue to update this site as the situation evolves. Please contact the NBOME directly if you have any additional questions or concerns.

P: 866.479.6828
E: ClientServices@nbome.org


APRIL 8, 2020

The health and safety of our staff and candidates is of utmost importance to the NBOME. With this in mind and in order to carry out our mission of protecting the public, NBOME has extended our exam hiatus through May 31 and hope to resume testing on Monday, June 1. We apologize for the inconvenience this creates but ask for your understanding during this time of national emergency and uncertainty.

Our portal is open to reschedule exams and the score release dates are unchanged for exams taken from June 1 onward. The NBOME is very aware of the need to have Level 2-PE results in a timely manner for rotation, residency application, and graduation requirements.  We are committed to assisting students as much as possible during this challenging time.

Once we return to normal operations, we will add exam sessions in an effort to provide as much opportunity to access the exam.  We continue to monitor the situation daily and are looking to make informed decisions based on how the pandemic unfolds.  Thank you for your understanding during this stressful time.

For information on travel advisories or making changes to your current travel itinerary, please contact your airline or rail service directly. We will continue to update this site as the situation evolves.  Please contact the NBOME directly if you have any additional questions or concerns.

P: 866.479.6828
E: ClientServices@nbome.org


Over 22,000 COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 examinations have been administered at Prometric test centers since May 2020. NBOME also reports that an additional 4,000+ COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 candidates are scheduled to test at Prometric test centers through the end of 2020. Additionally, several thousand appointments have been scheduled in the first few months of 2021.

Over 22,000 COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 examinations have been administered at Prometric test centers since May 2020. NBOME also reports that an additional 4,000+ COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 candidates are scheduled to test at Prometric test centers through the end of 2020. Additionally, several thousand appointments have been scheduled in the first few months of 2021.

NBOME and our test administration partner, Prometric, continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation across the U.S. In response to increasing cases of the virus in certain local municipalities, some availability may change, however Prometric expects to continue to provide testing for COMLEX-USA candidates. We appreciate your continued patience and we will continue our dedication to providing a safe and timely testing experience.

For test scheduling and registration, candidates can use the Prometric website to schedule and register to take computer-based COMLEX-USA examinations. Please also feel free to contact our client services team via email at clientservices@nbome.org or by phone at (866) 479-6828.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2020

Over 17,000 COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 examinations have been administered at Prometric test centers since May 2020. NBOME also reports that an additional 5,000+ COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 candidates are scheduled to test at Prometric test centers through the end of 2020.

Our temporary satellite test centers at University of North Texas Health Science Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM) and Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) continue to be available to candidates. These temporary satellite testing centers are scheduled to continue operation through September 30.

For more information, please refer to the Exploring Test Delivery Options for Computer-Based Testing microsite.

NBOME and our test administration partner, Prometric continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation across the U.S. Restrictions in some states or areas may change in response to the pandemic, however Prometric expects to continue to provide testing for COMLEX-USA candidates.

For test scheduling and registration, candidates can use the Prometric website to schedule and register to take computer-based COMLEX-USA examinations.


AUGUST 17, 2020

Over 13,000 COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and 3 exams have been administered at Prometric test centers as of mid-August. Another 2,000 candidates are scheduled to test in the last two weeks of August. Over 11,000 appointments to test are scheduled through December, over 60% for the Level 3 examination.

Prometric is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation across the U.S. Restrictions in some states or areas may change in response to the pandemic but Prometric expects to be able to provide testing for COMLEX-USA candidates.

Reserved seats for candidates in Arizona, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York are still available in August for candidates looking for August test dates in those areas. In addition, seats are available to test at the satellite test centers at UNTHSC/TCOM and MSU-COM. Candidates can find available dates at these sites on the Prometric website.


JULY 31, 2020

Last week was an important milestone for NBOME and COMLEX-USA testing, with over 12,000 candidates tested at Prometric centers since May. Another 4,500 examinations are scheduled in August, with 15,000 by the end of 2020. Despite surges in COVID-19 in the South and Mid-West, Prometric test sites remain open with the majority at full occupancy. As of the end of this month, Prometric centers are at 93% of capacity.

While much of the urgent need for testing at Prometric centers has been successfully met, we are still very excited to announce the opening of the satellite testing this week on July 31, at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM) in Fort Worth TX. The center will be open through September for COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-CE and Level 3 administrations. The TCOM satellite is now open to any eligible candidate on the Prometric website. In addition, we are continuing to partner with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) in East Lansing MI for an additional satellite test center. An announcement with the opening date in August is coming soon and we will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available about new testing centers and other potential sites around the country.


JULY 13, 2020

NBOME is pleased to announce agreements in principle with (2) colleges of osteopathic medicine to develop satellite testing centers on their campuses for administration of COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-CE and Level 3 examinations.

After extensive research and discussion, NBOME and Prometric have partnered with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM; East Lansing MI), and University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM; Fort Worth TX) on this initiative.

These sites meet the necessary requirements for test security and capacity. These university based satellite testing centers are expected to be available for student testing August through September, subject to state and local restrictions.

Much of the urgent need for securing testing seats for COMLEX-USA Level 1 and 2-CE candidates who were displaced due to unexpected Prometric test center closures has been met successfully, and though we had initially engaged other COMs for collaboration, they felt their needs had since changed. However, a limited number of satellite testing centers such as these are valuable to meet specific local needs and to provide scheduling flexibility and operating experience if future conditions dictate.

We will strive to keep you updated as new information becomes available about these new testing centers as well as other potential sites around the country.


JUNE 30, 2020

With summer officially here, and COMLEX-USA Level 1 and the newly launched Level 2-CE 2020-2021 test cycles in full swing, the NBOME COM Liaison Team wanted to share some important testing updates with you.

  • More than 4,000 candidates have completed COMLEX-USA exams since testing resumed at Prometric May 1st.
  • By the end of July, more than 10,000 COMLEX-USA exams are scheduled to have been administered since May.
  • Prometric test sites are open with full occupancy at all or some locations in 34 states.
    As of this week, those states include: AL, AK, AR, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, KS, MD, MI, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, and WY.
  • Prometric site openings are updated continuously on their website, as well as site closures. Site closures occur from time to time for a variety of reasons, including weather, power outage, etc.
  • Over 500 reserved Prometric seats in June, July and August are available for COMLEX-USA candidates in AL, AZ, CA, IN, MI, NJ, NY, SC, TX and VA. Please contact your COM Liaison for more information. Candidates can contact NBOME Client Services at clientservices@nbome.org or 866-479-6828 for help rescheduling or they can contact Prometric.
  • A small percentage of COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE candidates whose exams were rescheduled for July 1-15 in test sites with social distancing requirements are being rescheduled by Prometric this week. Over 98% of these displaced candidates have already been rescheduled.
  • Thank you to those who participated in our Alternate Test Delivery Survey. At this time we are focusing satellite testing center implementation at four COMs that meet the necessary geographical, infrastructure, technology, and regulatory needs. We may reach out again to others who showed interest as our plans for alternate test delivery grow and develop further. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
  • An update on COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE was emailed to you earlier today and is available on our COVID site here.
  • Your COM Liaison will continue to provide you with updated COMLEX-USA exam scheduling reports each week. If you are unsure about exam schedules for your COM’s students/graduates or have other issues or concerns please let your COM Liaison know.


JUNE 15, 2020

Prometric has reopened an additional 40 test centers this week, several of which are in new states or markets which were previously closed. 20 more test centers are planned to open by the end of this week. It has opened thousands of additional appointments in markets around the globe and new appointment hours are opening up daily. Prometric continues to abide guidance from the CDC and WHO, and findings from test center evaluations conducted by a team of third-party infectious disease consultants, as they work to enable more locations for full occupancy testing.

Prometric is able to offer more testing opportunities specifically to NBOME candidates based on our feedback and our needs. Seats will book on a first come, first serve basis.

Candidates who are scheduled to take an examination and want to confirm whether the examination will take place, are encouraged to contact Prometric or contact NBOME at clientservices@nbome.org / 866-479-6828 Monday-Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM ET for assistance.

Additional Prometric resources:
  • COVID-19 tab. The most current information on Prometric’s operation status and safety measures.
  • Essential Client Programs List. A current list of essential test programs that are currently eligible to test. This list will be evaluated and updated on a rolling basis.
  • Site Openings List. A running list of all of current open / scheduled-to-open Prometric sites and their resumption test date. This list is updated daily to reflect any changes in status, and will be evaluated for further additions on a rolling basis.
  • Social Distancing Policies. A detailed look at standard and region-based social distancing policies candidates are expected to follow while at the Prometric test center.
  • Test-Taker FAQ. Answers to frequently asked questions candidates may have about impacts to their exam.

JUNE 5, 2020

We have some good news to share with you. More testing dates in June and reserved seating for NBOME candidates at Prometric are available now. Six additional test dates in June have been opened up for candidates taking COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE at sites across the US. In addition, 675 seats at select test sites in 7 states are now reserved for NBOME candidates. The seats which are solely for COMLEX-USA candidates are available on 24 dates from June through August.

The additions to test dates and reserved seating, with the resumption of full capacity at sites in 9 states announced earlier this week, will provide many more opportunities for testing at preferred locations and dates. In addition, we are urgently making progress on other options to expand testing and provide safe opportunities for candidates to test sooner. We will be providing an update on these alternatives next week.

While we are delighted to share this positive news, we are deeply sorry for the late-breaking disruption to testing that unfortunately impacted a small number of COMLEX-USA candidates this week. Due to the civil protests taking place across the nation in a few test sites Prometric was required to close testing sites with extremely short notice. We previously understood and subsequently informed you that rescheduling appointments due to COVID-19 were complete. This week we learned from Prometric that that is not the case. Prometric is continuing to process the cancellations which occurred in April for candidates who have not yet rescheduled and candidate appointments at sites not able to open due to COVID related activity. This week Prometric is processing appointments for June 16-30 and will continue on a 2-week rolling basis. We are aggressively working with those impacted to help arrange new test appointments and with Prometric on improving notification to candidates in the event of future closures or cancellations.

Candidates who are scheduled to take an examination and want to confirm whether the examination will take place, are encouraged to contact Prometric or NBOME. Candidates can visit the Prometric website or contact NBOME at clientservices@nbome.org or call 866-479-6828 Monday-Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM ET for assistance.


JUNE 3, 2020

SELECT SITE CLOSURES DUE TO CIVIL UNREST

As a result of protest-related activities in communities across the US, it is necessary for Prometric to suspend or restrict operations at select test centers out of concern for the safety and well-being of test takers and staff. A listing of impacted sites is available on the Prometric Site Openings page. Information will be updated daily and Prometric will seek to notify impacted candidates with as much advance notice as possible, though in many cases the evolving situation may require closure at short notice.

If you are scheduled to take your examination and want to confirm your examination will take place, please contact Prometric or NBOME.

COM AND CANDIDATE SUPPORT

NBOME is continuing to communicate regularly with all COMs through our COM Liaison Team. This group is delivering detailed, customized COMLEX-USA appointment scheduling reports each week and working with contacts at each COM to help troubleshoot candidate scheduling issues. If you have questions about COMLEX-USA scheduling for your COM, please contact your liaison or Laura Barrett at lbarrett@nbome.org.

RESCHEDULING UPDATE

Of the more than 6,000 COMLEX-USA candidates whose Prometric appointments were displaced due to COVID-19, 92% of all Level 1 and Level 2-CE appointments have been rescheduled. 95% of Level 1 and Level 2-CE appointments are rescheduled into May-Aug dates (Level 1) and Jun-Aug (Level 2-CE). 70% of Level 3 candidates with displaced appointments have been rescheduled, with 74% rescheduled into May-Sep dates.

Prometric continues to expand testing in many areas as local authorities adjust requirements for social distancing. As more and more regions are able to add test dates and seats, the NBOME continues to work with Prometric to secure seats for COMLEX-USA test takers. In May alone, over 800 candidates tested. Over 300 test sites are now open, with test sites at full capacity in 9 states. In June, over 6,300 candidates are scheduled to take Level 1, Level 2-CE and Level 3 examinations at Prometric test centers.

Please continue to monitor the Prometric site to find dates and times that may be preferable to your current testing appointment. As a reminder, NBOME’s rescheduling fees through the end of 2020 have been waived.

As always, candidates can contact NBOME Client services by phone at 866.479.6828 7AM-7PM (ET) Monday through Friday or via email ClientServices@nbome.org.


MAY 13, 2020

The NBOME is dedicated to providing candidates the most up-to-date information regarding Prometric scheduling. We recognize the disruption the pandemic has caused both personally and professionally. We have these updates to share from Prometric:

  1. Prometric currently has 281 test centers open globally and expects to reopen an additional 66 sites by May 16. Candidates can view the updated list of sites on the Prometric website.
  2. Prometric will continue to add capacity through extended hours and days of operations across open centers for the next six months and will continue to provide updates on new site openings and additional strategies to enhance capacity. This translates to more candidates being able to schedule appointments and test faster.
  3. Prometric is working to improve how they manage mass-displacement rescheduling events. Acknowledge the current challenges associated with processing displaced candidates, as well as managing ever-changing variables, their immediate focus is on developing new ways to automate rescheduling candidates into new appointments following their displacement.
  4. NBOME’s Client Services Team will continue to be available 7AM-7PM ET to assist you as well. Given the volume of requests, our response time may be longer than normal, but this is the best avenue to ensure all candidates receive the support they need.

Prometric has created the following resources to help candidates and will continue to add to these sections as questions arise.

  • COVID-19 tab. The most current information on Prometric’s operation status and safety measures.
  • Essential Client Programs List. A current list of essential test programs that are currently eligible to test. This list will be evaluated and updated on a rolling basis.
  • Site Openings List. A running list of all of current open / scheduled-to-open Prometric sites and their resumption test date. This list is updated daily to reflect any changes in status, and will be evaluated for further additions on a rolling basis.
  • Social Distancing Policies. A detailed look at standard and region-based social distancing policies candidates are expected to follow while at the Prometric test center.
  • Test-Taker FAQ. Answers to frequently asked questions candidates may have about impacts to their exam.


MAY 7, 2020

The NBOME is dedicated to providing candidates the most up-to-date information regarding Prometric scheduling. We recognize the disruption the pandemic has caused both personally and professionally. We have these updates to share from Prometric:

  1. Testing has resumed at Prometric! While this helps the few, not the many, it is a first step in the right direction.
  2. Prometric currently has 116 test centers open globally and expects to reopen an additional 200+ sites across the U.S. and internationally through the end of May where it is safe to do so in accordance with all local, state and federal regulations. Through their new site openings list, candidates can see which sites plan to be opened this month and the date a test center is scheduled to re-open. This list will be updated daily.
  3. To aid in expanding seat availability for candidates, Prometric is continuing to add extended hours and days open where possible. This translates to more candidates being able to schedule appointments and test faster.
  4. Prometric has streamlined their candidate contact channel to improve their ability to process test takers' requests. If you require direct support from Prometric, there is an online form that asks for specific information they will need to handle candidate requests. NBOME’s Client Services Team will continue to be available 7AM-7PM ET to assist you as well. Given the volume of requests, our response time may be longer than normal, but this is the best avenue to ensure all candidates receive the support they need.

Prometric has created the following resources to help candidates and will continue to add to these sections as questions arise.

  • COVID-19 tab: provides the most current information on Prometric's operation status and safety measures.
  • Essential Client Programs List: provides a current list of essential test programs that are currently eligible to test. This list will be evaluated and updated on a rolling basis.
  • Site Openings List: provides a running list of all of current open / scheduled-to-open sites and their resumption test date. This list is updated daily to reflect any changes in status, and will be evaluated for further additions on a rolling basis.
  • Social Distancing Policies: provides a detailed look at standard and region-based social distancing policies candidates are expected to follow while at the test center.
  • Test-Taker FAQ: provides answers to frequently asked questions candidates might have about impacts to their exam.


APRIL 30, 2020

On April 30, 2020, Prometric will be sending email communications to all COMLEX-USA Level 3 candidates scheduled to test in May 2020.

  • Candidates not impacted by a cancellation will receive a notification from Prometric outlining new test site safety procedures, including the required use of your own self-provided face mask to wear during the examination.
  • Another segment of candidates will be notified that their upcoming two-day examination with Prometric has been CANCELLED. The email will list ONLY the first date of the two-day examination, but impacted candidates should be advised that BOTH dates are being cancelled.

When visiting the Prometric website or the NBOME portal, it may appear a candidate’s examination has NOT been cancelled, or there may appear to be misalignment between the information provided on the two sites. These issues are temporary and directly related to the on-going rescheduling process. While communication to candidates is automated, rescheduling individual candidates is a manual process by Prometric. Schedule updates are uploaded to the NBOME portal overnight from Prometric, and are not available in the NBOME portal until the following day.

Candidates receiving the cancellation email may reschedule through the Prometric site and select a new test date from those available. Prometric strongly encourages candidates to visit the site closure page for up-to-date information on closures in their area. Dates for test center closures vary by geography and may change based on updated information.

If a candidate has been automatically rescheduled by Prometric and needs to make further changes, they can do so through the Prometric site.  Cancellations may be executed through the NBOME portal. However, all rescheduling MUST take place through the Prometric site.

Additional notes:

  • COMLEX-USA is considered essential testing and examinations are permitted with social distancing guidelines.
  • Prometric has preserved as many scheduled Level 3 examinations as possible, given the two-day nature of the examination and its importance as the capstone for osteopathic physician licensure.
  • NBOME is working with Prometric to add additional testing dates to provide as many scheduling options as possible, given local restrictions and preservation of candidate safety.

We understand how stressful this situation is for all involved, and the teams at both NBOME and Prometric are doing all they can to ensure displaced test-takers have the opportunity to reschedule into new, available seats in the coming months. Our primary goal is maintaining the ability to safely test candidates.

Please contact the NBOME directly if you have any questions or concerns and have your NBOME ID number ready when you call, or include it in your email communication.

We anticipate higher than normal call volumes during this time and have placed additional associates on our phone systems to help answer your questions as quickly and completely as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.

P: 866.479.6828
E: ClientServices@nbome.org


APRIL 23, 2020

Prometric will begin testing on May 1, 2020 for examinations related to essential services, which includes COMLEX-USA. 

COMLEX-USA examinations have been designated “essential services programs” as noted on the Prometric website and therefore a limited number of examinations may begin prior to generalized openings. They are evaluating which of their test centers in the U.S. and Canada will be re-opening based on local governmental restrictions, CDC and WHO recommendations. To help ensure the protection of test takers and Prometric employees, safety practices will be enacted throughout the testing process—including observing social distancing as required by governmental regulations.

To comply with social distancing requirements and ensure the safety of Candidates and Staff, Prometric has reduced testing capacity at all sites.  This will result in some COMLEX-USA candidates being cancelled out of previously scheduled or rescheduled appointments.

Please keep in mind the following:

  • Your health and safety is our primary concern, and we have worked closely with Prometric and support their safety guidelines for resumption of examinations.
  • Prometric has prioritized essential examinations, including COMLEX-USA.
  • NBOME has added additional dates for COMLEX-USA testing from May through December 2020.
  • Prometric will be extending hours (i.e. Noon to 9 pm) and offering Sunday examinations.
  • Additional seats may open up in the future as local governments relax social distancing regulations.

Note:  If you are sick or have been sick within the past two weeks, we strongly encourage that you not show up to the test center to help ensure the safety of Prometric employees and other test takers. You can reschedule your exam at www.prometric.com.

Candidates will be contacted by Prometric if their examination has been cancelled.  They may reschedule into a seat made available by the cancellation of a non-essential examination, or by the addition of new examination dates.  Candidates may proactively reschedule their appointment through the Prometric website or wait for Prometric to automatically reschedule them into the next available date.  If the date selected by Prometric isn’t convenient for the candidate it can be rescheduled to another date (at no additional fee).  Prometric will be processing appointments in priority of their date.

Candidates not impacted by a cancellation will receive a notification from Prometric outlining new test site safety procedures. Please visit the Prometric website and FAQ page for a full list of test-day requirements (including the required use of your own self-provided face mask to wear during the examination).

The teams at both NBOME and Prometric are doing all they can to ensure displaced test takers have the opportunity to reschedule into new, available slots in the coming months.  Our primary goal is maintaining the ability to safely test the candidates where and when it is possible.  Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

Please contact the NBOME directly if you have any questions or concerns. We anticipate higher than normal call volumes during this time. We have placed additional associates on our phone systems and will work to answer your questions as quickly and completely as possible. We appreciate your understanding.

P: 866.479.6828
E: ClientServices@nbome.org


We appreciate the many questions and comments we’ve received, as they heighten our awareness and understanding of the very real impact the pandemic has had on candidates and other stakeholders.

We appreciate the many questions and comments we’ve received, as they heighten our awareness and understanding of the very real impact the pandemic has had on candidates and other stakeholders.

COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE and Special Commission Announcement

COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE, and 3

Applying to Residency

To enable COMs to plan for COMAT use in the 2021-2022 academic year, NBOME is pleased to offer three COMAT administration options beginning July 2021. These options provide flexibility in location and proctoring use to help address your assessment challenges.

To enable COMs to plan for COMAT use in the 2021-2022 academic year, NBOME is pleased to offer three COMAT administration options beginning July 2021. These options provide flexibility in location and proctoring use to help address your assessment challenges.

Option Features Price
In-person proctored Highest exam security with proctors on campus or at rotation sites Lowest
Remote proctored Provides exam security by COM proctors monitoring remote administrations In between
Self-proctored Most flexible for location and timing but least secure Highest

COMAT administrations at Prometric Testing Centers will no longer be offered in light of the new administration options.

Our contracts and pricing for the 2021-2022 academic year will be distributed in April. As in the past, COMAT pricing for each COM will vary based on contracted usage. Note: the self-proctored option will be priced $4.00 higher than the in-person proctored option based on dean feedback about the importance of enhancing security and test integrity with the self-proctored administrations.

We will host a webinar prior to the end of the academic year to discuss administration options, demonstrate remote proctoring features, and answer your questions.

Thank you for your use of the COMAT series and your dedication to NBOME’s mission to protect the public. If you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact our Client Services team or call 866-479-6828 Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Central Time for assistance.

NOVEMBER 3, 2020

To enable COM faculty and staff to effectively plan for COMAT administrations for the remainder of the current academic year, NBOME is pleased to confirm that remotely administered COMAT-SP (self-proctored) examinations will continue to be available through the current COMAT Clinical Subject examination cycle, which ends on June 26, 2020. We will determine the availability of this option for the 2021-2022 academic year as we monitor the limitation of on-campus activities resulting from the pandemic.

COMAT FBS examinations will also continue to be available for remote self-proctored administration as well as on-campus proctored administration through this academic year.

COMAT administrations at Prometric testing centers will continue to be unavailable this academic year. We expect to offer a remote proctoring feature for COMAT in the next academic year as an alternative for in-person proctored examinations.

Thank you, as always, for your support of the COMAT series and NBOME’s mission to protect the public. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Client Services team or call 866-479-6828 Monday-Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM ET for assistance.


JUNE 5, 2020

To enable COM faculty and staff to effectively plan for COMAT administrations in the next academic year, NBOME is pleased to share that COMAT-SP (self-proctored) will continue to be available at the start of the next COMAT Clinical subject examination cycle, on July 15, 2020. We will remain flexible with long-term availability of this option as we monitor the recovery of COMs from social distancing requirements. If we observe later in the academic year that all students are back on campus, we may revert to proctored on-campus administrations, as required previously.

COMAT administration at Prometric testing centers will continue to be unavailable. However, we are working with Prometric to develop a remote proctoring option for COMAT Clinical subject examinations as an alternative to the in-center Prometric administration.

COMAT FBS examinations -- both Comprehensive and Targeted -- will be available for selfproctored administration as well as on-campus proctored administration. Please note that the FBS Comprehensive exam will be shortened to 4 hours/200 questions beginning September 1, 2020.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support of the COMAT series and our mission to protect the public. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact our Client Services team or call 866-479-6828 Monday-Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM ET for assistance.


APRIL 20, 2020

To enable College of Osteopathic Medicine faculty and students to continue their important work during this challenging time, the NBOME developed an alternative assessment delivery method for the COMAT examination series, launching these as COMAT Self-Proctored (COMAT-SP) exam forms.

NBOME has enabled COMs to deliver COMAT Subject Exams and FBS Exams to students in remote locations, including student residences. Note: Effective April 20, 2020 and until further notice, the Prometric Testing Center Option is unavailable.

At this time, the examination launch and administration do not involve high-security remote proctoring tools. Remote proctoring will be further studied but will not be available in this time frame. The integrity of these administrations rely on the honor system and codes of conduct of each educational institution, and schools will determine, as they do with other COMAT exam forms, how to interpret the scores and factor that into overall student evaluation. Further information about implications for scoring will be provided in the future.

NBOME is committed to supporting COMs and COM students using COMAT through this process. Please feel free to contact us with questions at clientservices@nbome.org.

For more information on other COMAT exams, please click here.


First and foremost, I want to wish you well and continued good health and success as you pursue your goal becoming a licensed DO and I welcome you as a colleague in our very distinctive profession. The trust implicit in a patient referring to YOU as “my doctor” is hard to win, and can be easily lost.

First and foremost, I want to wish you well and continued good health and success as you pursue your goal becoming a licensed DO and I welcome you as a colleague in our very distinctive profession.  The trust implicit in a patient referring to YOU as “my doctor” is hard to win, and can be easily lost.

All of us at the NBOME have been working hard to tackle the many challenges brought on by the pandemic, and mitigating disruptions as you progress along your pathway to becoming fully qualified, licensed osteopathic physicians.  We do hear you.  We know that you are concerned about your health and the safety of your communities, with interferences in your education and training, and with your application process to residency programs. In addition, we know you share in the many other concerns, insecurities, and responsibilities commensurate with becoming a qualified physician.

We certainly understand that DO medical students, particularly those in the Class of 2021, are under an inordinate and unfair amount of stress with the uncertainty we all have faced this year. We are proud of the work that has been done in collaboration with Prometric Testing Centers to help accommodate almost 19K DO students and residents safely since May.  This required significant resource investment, including satellite university centers and other agile solutions to expand test capacity, and we are proud of our staff and our partners.  Listening to you, safe access to your licensure testing has remained a top priority.

Likewise with the COMLEX-USA Level 2-Performance Evaluation (Level 2-PE/clinical skills examination), disruptions were caused by the pandemic and necessitated the suspension of access to testing since March 2020. We recognized the need for DO students in the Class of 2021 and their Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) to have choice and control as to when to test, once availability to safely do so was resumed. NBOME enthusiastically endorsed the June 4, 2020 decision by the AOA-Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, the accrediting authority for the COMs, to temporarily modify the graduation standard that required passing Level 2-PE for the Class of 2021. This provides students and COMs the flexibility to delay individual testing for Level 2-PE, should access not be available to them, or should they feel unready to do so for any reason. Students this year can opt to delay taking this test for months, a year, even more, and still have no delay in progressing through graduation, into residency. When ready, they can then complete the Level 2-PE prior to taking COMLEX-USA Level 3 to demonstrate their important competencies for practice and full qualification for unrestricted medical licensure in any state.

Our goal all spring and summer was to continue to work with public health experts and other testing and medical and related healthcare regulatory authorities both in the United States and around the world, to eventually provide availability to safely take Level 2-PE, for those who are eligible and ready. At present, we continue to aim for the availability of Level 2-PE testing in November, 2020, as we monitor local and national circumstances and changing mandates due to the pandemic. The safety modifications (further detailed on our website) at our test centers follow local governmental mandates and the standards and recommendations of several teams of public health and infectious disease specialists, including those from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. Consultations with the medical and other health professions in the United States and internationally have been very helpful. Similar national clinical skills exams have resumed in Canada (Medical Council of Canada), the UK (General Medical Council), and in the U.S. with the podiatric medicine, optometry, and chiropractic professions, all with similar safety protocols.

With 25% of the graduating Class of 2021 already having passed Level 2-PE, this leaves us with a fairly manageable number of candidates in this class to test at our two National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing (suburban Philadelphia and Chicago areas.) An estimated 56% of these students attend COMs that are within 8 hours or less driving distance from one of these two testing centers, and 22% are 4 hours or less by car. To further increase availability and provide easier access for DO students in the western regions of the US, the NBOME is continuing to invest considerable resources in the exploration and development of a temporary satellite clinical skills testing location in California. This could potentially be available for testing for a defined time period as soon as March, 2021. We have frozen exam fee increases for the current test cycle and eliminated any exam rescheduling fees to further enhance flexibility for DO candidates.

NBOME stays in close contact with student leadership groups, including COSGP, SOMA, and the AOA-Bureau of Emerging Leaders.  We continue to solicit their input on key issues.  We very much appreciate these individuals and groups sharing student concerns and helping to communicate the facts during a period of growing misinformation and misconception across the profession. We regret that misinformation has been disseminated about our activities and motivations by third parties. We know that misinformation can jeopardize trust and contribute to feelings of disillusionment and further feelings of lack of control.

These student leader groups are aware of NBOME’s leadership role in advocacy for DO students in the Class of 2021 as they apply for residency programs, helping program directors to understand that residency applicants in the Class of 2021 should not be held accountable for results of licensing exam scores (e.g., COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE for DO medical students, USMLE Step 2-CS for MD medical students) that they have been unable to take due to the pandemic. The Organization of Program Director Associations (OPDA) and the Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators (AOGME) both endorsed statements to that effect, at the request of the NBOME, which were both shared with the Coalition for Physician Accountability. NBOME and AACOM worked together with the Advisory Committee of the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) to ensure that all residency program directors are aware that both USMLE Step 2-CS and COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE have both been suspended since March 2020. This information is displayed prominently on all applications in the Program Directors Work Station in the ERAS system, on all COMLEX-USA and USMLE transcripts displayed in ERAS, and is part of separate communications from ERAS sent to all program directors in 2020-2021.

We remain committed to doing our best, despite the obstacles, to communicate, to listen to input, and to continue to do what we can to mitigate disruptions in the educational and training pathway to DO medical licensure, all consistent with our mission to protect the public, to protect our patients, through assessment. More than ever, it’s important we work together through the multi-dimensional stages of this pandemic and the complexities of the pandemic recovery. We need to continue to build trust within the osteopathic medical family so we can continue to earn that same trust with our patients, who look to DOs for a high quality, empathetic and distinctive approach to medical care.

Please continue to stay tuned for the latest NBOME and COMLEX-USA updates and information on our website, or feel free to contact NBOME Client Services for any individual needs or queries at Clientservices@nbome.org or toll-free at 866-479-6828, Monday through Friday 7 AM-7 PM ET.

Sincerely yours,

John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd
President & CEO
National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners

MAY 15, 2020

As we come to the half-way point in the month of May and have resumed testing at many Prometric testing centers, we have some updates to share related to the COMLEX-USA Level 1, 2-CE and Level 3 examinations. NBOME continues to be committed to providing support to candidates, colleges of osteopathic medicine, and other stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OUR COM LIAISON TEAM IS WORKING TO ENSURE "NO CANDIDATE IS LEFT BEHIND"

The NBOME COM Liaison team is continuously monitoring the situation and keeping COMs and their students informed. Appointment availability does fluctuate as candidates make changes to their appointments, and Prometric updates test site availability, which remains subject to ongoing modifications to governmental regulations.

NBOME's COM Liaison team reached out to all 51 COM campuses to provide information on eligible COMLEX-USA candidates on May 6, 2020. We have been actively working with the 38 COMs who responded to our offer for assistance and are working to troubleshoot individual candidate scheduling issues. This week, the team sent initial comprehensive reports to 5 COMs, and by next week, all COMs will receive a scheduling report and follow-up.

OUR CANDIDATES

  • 5,975 NBOME candidates' COMLEX-USA Levels 1, 2-CE and 3 appointments in May-June were displaced by government-mandated center closures.
  • 5,587 of these displaced candidates were Level 1 and Level 2-CE candidates.
  • 85% (4,735) of displaced Level 1 and Level 2-CE candidates have been rescheduled. Some have elected to not reschedule yet.
  • 95% of all Level 1 and Level 2-CE rescheduled appointments are between May-August.
  • 190 COMLEX-USA testing appointments have already been completed since the centers reopened in May.
  • 52% of Level 3 candidates have been rescheduled through May, with June reschedules being processed on a rolling basis.

PROMETRIC CENTERS

Only essential test takers, which includes COMLEX-USA candidates, are currently testing in Prometric testing centers.

  • 118 Prometric sites opened in 34 states + DC on May 1.
  • 263 Prometric sites in the US reopened or will be open by the end of this week.
  • 306 sites (over 80%) of sites are scheduled and expected to reopen (with social distancing mandates in place) by June 1, subject to further changes in governmental restrictions.
  • Expanded hours including Sunday testing is adding to capacity and will be extended through 2020.

COMLEX-USA ALTERNATE TEST DELIVERY FOR COMPUTER-BASED TESTING

In response to COVID-19's impact on the safety and feasibility involved in taking examinations at Prometric test centers, the NBOME is actively exploring options for alternate test delivery. Delivering high-stakes examinations outside of test centers involves careful planning to mitigate risks to security, administration, and psychometrics of the examinations. The NBOME is dedicated to rapidly addressing these concerns while continuing to administer exams that are secure, fair, valid, reliable and defensible.

To ensure success, the NBOME is pursuing multiple options simultaneously, including the delivery of examinations through remote proctoring available anywhere, and administering examinations at COMs. We have connected with Prometric, other testing vendors, peer organizations such as NBME and our international colleagues, to assure that every potential solution is investigated on an unprecedented timeline. We have already started testing the feasibility of remote-proctored examination solutions. We aim to partner with COMs within the next month to evaluate options for examination administration at COMs. This multi-pronged approach will allow us to gather information that enables us to determine the best solution for our key stakeholders, including candidates, COMs, state licensing authorities, and the public.

As an organization, we are working around the clock to evaluate and potentially implement alternate test delivery options, as necessary, for both short-term and long-term needs.

We plan to publish another update by May 30 with a decision on the feasibility of alternative options potentially as early as June 30, 2020.

SCORE RELEASE DATES

The score release dates for candidates taking COMLEX-USA Level 1 from May 5 to June 26,2020 are anticipated to be slightly longer than usual (by 1-2 weeks) to allow sufficient time to statistically validate candidate performance for the new Level 1 testing cycle. The additional time allows for a reliable scoring process, and is dependent on the number of candidates who test in a given period. Therefore, these dates reflect our best prediction of anticipated numbers of examinations administered in this testing window.

We will update score release dates if needed as new information is available as a result of further reductions in testing administrations caused by government-mandated site closures or social distancing policies. Please see the COMLEX-USA Level 1 pages for updated specific score release information. At this time we do not anticipate any change to the score release dates for COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE. Please see the COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE pages for score release dates.

Sincerely,

John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd
President and CEO
National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners


MAY 8, 2020

We want to provide a brief update on several very active initiatives we know are of acute interest to our community.

The first update concerns COMLEX-USA testing at Prometric test centers. Over 90% of previously displaced candidates have been successfully rescheduled - many into dates within 1-2 months, and almost all by August 31, 2020. Our COM Liaison team is actively engaging our contacts at each and every COM to answer questions and assist any candidates without a rescheduled appointment.

While these early indicators provide a positive outlook, there is still a lot of flux in the appointment system and we remain dependent on governmental requirements. We continue to be optimistic that all those who desire to test will be able to do so within a reasonable time frame. We appreciate your patience and want to thank all of the Deans and Candidates who have reached out, either personally or publically, to acknowledge our efforts. The Prometric scheduling system will remain dynamic, and may be further impacted in the coming months by factors related to COVID-19. Please know our expanded Client Services Team is available 7 AM-7PM ET Monday through Friday to assist you at 866.479.6828 or ClientServices@nbome.org.

Simultaneously, the NBOME is aggressively exploring alternate test delivery options for computer-based assessments. Our most recent update can be found here. The NBOME is in active pilot testing with several options in the event further complications of COVID-19 impact testing. We continue to work tirelessly with our international partners on this initiative, and remain committed to providing regular updates to our community (and a formal update no later than May 30, 2020.)

Further information about modifications to COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE testing at our two National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing, scheduled to resume in June, is expected to be communicated to you by May 18.

Finally, we would like to extend our best wishes to a few very special groups of people this week. We salute the DO graduating Class of 2020, as well as those at the COMs supporting them. Many virtual graduation ceremonies are being held this week despite challenges brought on by the pandemic. "DO good", and always remember "it's about the patient!" We also honor all Mothers...who include some of our graduates as well as many of our Deans, NBOME Board members, National Faculty and Staff members.  Your endless love and tireless balancing of your professional work with your commitment to families and others at home is an inspiration for us all. Happy Mother's Day 2020!

Sincerely,

John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd
President and CEO
National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners


MAY 1, 2020

The NBOME is doing everything we can to keep individuals and our communities safe, while also trying to meet everyone’s needs and expectations during very trying times. We applaud all of the work done by AACOM, the Deans and COMs to ensure that effective teaching, learning, and assessment continues, albeit under predominantly virtual circumstances, as required to meet governmental mandates and best scientific guidelines in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now on to the good news…May 1 is the planned partial reopening date at select Prometric Test Centers around the country, as allowed by local regulations.  Information can be found on our microsite for COMLEX-USA Level 1 and 2-CE and COMLEX-USA Level 3 candidates. Regrettably, the candidate experience has been confusing regarding Prometric’s reopening. We are here to help. As always, candidates can contact NBOME Client services by phone (866.479.6828) 7AM-7PM Monday through Friday or via email ClientServices@nbome.org. We have been actively exploring potential alternate delivery options for computer-based testing, including remote proctoring options at sites outside of Prometric.

For the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE, we remain hopeful that we will restart testing June 1. We plan to make modifications to test protocols to enhance safety of candidates and staff, and further communications will be released in the coming weeks.

We appreciate all of your feedback and engagement and hope that your lives become less complicated over time with successful reopening of businesses, campuses, clinical learning environments, and, of course, COMLEX-USA testing.  We wish you the best as well as you celebrate many “virtual graduation ceremonies” around the country, and our very proud of you and the highly successful national graduating DO Class of 2020. Thanks for all you DO!

Sincerely,

John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd
President and CEO
National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners


MARCH 20, 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is putting extraordinary stress on our personal and professional lives. We at NBOME understand and appreciate what everyone is doing across the osteopathic medical community and within our other partner organizations. We want to thank you for all you are doing on behalf of your educational and clinical communities during this challenging time.  As we shift to alternate ways to communicate, share, educate, and assess, the NBOME is dedicated to supporting our stakeholders through this unprecedented time.

We have made some significant changes and enhancements to our assessment programs as of this date:

  • Worked with candidates regarding the closing of Prometric testing centers through April 16, 2020 (COMLEX-USA Levels 1, 2-CE, 3, COMVEX, COMAT at Prometric)
  • Cancelled COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE examinations through April 6, 2020
  • Waived all rescheduling fees for COMLEX-USA examinations
  • Rescheduling priority has focused on students preparing for 2020 graduation.
  • Continued NBOME operations (both remotely and on site) – includes Client Services 7 AM- 7 PM EDT (M-F)- clientservices@nbome.org or  866.479.6828
  • NBOME Learning Center which includes multiple educational activities (many free or low cost for osteopathic medical students: nbome.org
  • Developed a microsite to communicate updates as they are available.

And coming soon, the NBOME will continue to support you all with:

  • Launch of COMSAE on CATALYST by March 26, 2020 – a self-paced version of COMSAE Phase 2 offering short-question content at flexible, pre-determined intervals, providing immediate feedback, answer rationales, and related reference material
  • Introduction of self-proctored delivery options for COMAT examinations (COMAT-SP) to allow off-campus administrations of select COMAT test forms coordinated by COMs. Anticipate availability March 30, 2020
  • Development of new teaching and formative assessment resources to add to the NBOME Learning Center: ilearn.nbome.org
  • New testing date availability for all levels of COMLEX-USA to assist with candidate rescheduling once testing centers reopened

AT Still, MD, DO, the founder of osteopathic medicine, spoke regularly about the body’s innate capacity to heal itself and that DOs needed to partner with patients and their bodies, minds and spirits to find and maintain health. As we temporarily shift our lives to elevate efforts for social distancing, we are reminded to take care of each other and ourselves. The NBOME will assist in any way we can to partner with you all for your assessment needs.  We are continuing our work to support you and our mission during the social distancing period, and when we can resume regular testing, the NBOME will be ready.

Sincerely,

John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd
President and CEO
National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners


Joint statement from AACOM, AOA, NBOME – Support of Suspension of COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE and Continued Osteopathic Assessment
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) American Osteopathic Association (AOA) National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME)

Joint statement from AACOM, AOA, NBOME – Support of Suspension of COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE and Continued Osteopathic Assessment

PHILADELPHIA, PA. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), American Osteopathic Association (AOA) with support from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) have been working together on numerous challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis. One such challenge is balancing the importance of appropriate testing and assessment of students with the safety of testing and travel to testing centers, including the COMLEX-USA examination series that is administered by the NBOME.

Today, our organizations stand together in support of NBOME’s decision to suspend COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE administrations indefinitely given the COVID-19 pandemic. We also stand united in the need for assessment of the unique aspects of osteopathic medical practice within the undergraduate medical education curriculum leading to the DO degree, as an important part of the eventual pathway leading to licensure.

The decision to suspend the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE will help to address some of the undue burdens and multiple stressors placed upon our osteopathic medical students during the pandemic. We support the use of temporary alternative pathways to ensure that DO students and residents are not uniquely impacted on their progression to residency, or their ability to eventually seek licensure.

In addition, we support and look forward to participation in the Special Commission on Osteopathic Medical Licensure, as it will engage multiple and varied voices throughout the osteopathic medical community to assure that COMLEX-USA evolves in a manner that reflects the changing practice of osteopathic medicine and its physicians.

Together, our organizations remain committed to developing innovative ways to assess clinical skills and other fundamental competencies for the public good and to prepare osteopathic physicians of the future.


About AACOM

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) was founded in 1898 to lend support and assistance to the nation’s osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. The organization represents the administration, faculty, and students of all osteopathic medical colleges in the United States and is actively involved in all areas of osteopathic medical education, including graduate medical education. Visit AACOM.org for more information or ChooseDO.org for information about applying to osteopathic medical school.

About AOA

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 151,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students, promotes public health, encourages scientific research, and serves as the primary certifying body (specialty board certification) for DOs. To learn more about DOs and the osteopathic philosophy of medicine, visit Osteopathic.org.

About COCA

The AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the accreditor of colleges of osteopathic medicine. COCA accreditation signifies that a college has met or exceeded the Commission’s standards for educational quality. COCA is a division of the AOA, but operates independently to serve its role of accrediting colleges of osteopathic medicine.

About NBOME

The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) is an independent, nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to protect the public by providing the means to assess competencies for osteopathic medicine and related health care professions. The NBOME develops and administers a number of osteopathically distinct examinations, most notably the COMLEX-USA (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States), which is accepted for medical licensure in all 50 of the United States and other licensing jurisdictions. Visit NBOME.org for more information.

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Jeanne M. Sandella, DO
Associate Vice President for Research and Communications
jsandella@nbome.org

JUNE 5, 2020
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) American Osteopathic Association (AOA) National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME)

Joint Statement from AACOM, AOA, COCA and NBOME:
Support of COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE and COCA’s Temporary Modification of Graduation
Standards for the DO Class of 2021

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) have been working together on numerous challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis. One such challenge is balancing the importance of appropriate testing and assessment for evaluation of students with the safety of testing and travel to testing centers, including the COMLEX-USA examination series that is administered by NBOME.

Today our organizations stand together in support of COCA’s decision to provide deans of accredited COMs the discretion to allow students who would otherwise be scheduled to be in the 2021 graduating class the option to graduate and receive the DO degree without having passed the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE clinical skills examination, provided they have met all other graduation requirements and have been endorsed by the faculty.

COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE will still need to be completed for full licensure and is considered a necessary and ongoing requirement for the licensure of osteopathic physicians in all 50 states. This announcement does not affect COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE, although the availability of testing opportunities for this exam is being monitored very closely.

This decision helps to address some of the undue burdens placed upon our osteopathic medical students and ensures a pathway to graduation. It allows additional flexibility for students as to testing when it best meets their needs and personal circumstances given the pandemic.

AACOM, AOA, COCA, and NBOME remain committed to the valid, standardized measurement of clinical skills for licensure as part of our profession’s commitment to our patients’ safety and protection and the quality of healthcare overall, while acknowledging and preserving the interests and needs of our osteopathic medical students.


AACOM, AOA, COCA and NBOME are committed to serving our profession, collaboratively, but also individually through the distinct and specific services each of our organizations provides. To better understand how we work together, each organization’s unique contributions and roles are defined below.

About AACOM

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) was founded in 1898 to lend support and assistance to the nation's osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. The organization represents the administration, faculty and students of all osteopathic medical colleges in the United States and is actively involved in all areas of osteopathic medical education, including graduate medical education. Visit AACOM.org for more information, or ChooseDO.org for information about applying to osteopathic medical school.

About AOA

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents nearly 151,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body (specialty board certification) for DOs. To learn more about DOs and the osteopathic philosophy of medicine, visit DoctorsThatDO.org.

About COCA

The AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the accreditor of colleges of osteopathic medicine. COCA accreditation signifies that a college has met or exceeded the Commission's standards for educational quality. COCA is a division of the AOA, but operates independently to serve its role of accrediting colleges of osteopathic medicine.

About NBOME

The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) is an independent, nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to protect the public by providing the means to assess competencies for osteopathic medicine and related health care professions. The NBOME develops and administers a number of osteopathically distinct examinations, most notably the COMLEX-USA (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States), which is accepted for medical licensure in all 50 of the United States and other licensing jurisdictions. Visit NBOME.org for more information.


As part of our continued outreach and engagement with the osteopathic community related to COVID-19 and its impact on candidate testing, NBOME hosted webinars with COM Faculty and Candidates. Sessions included an update from John Gimpel DO MEd, President and CEO of NBOME followed by Q&A with attendees.
As part of our continued outreach and engagement with the osteopathic community related to COVID-19 and its impact on candidate testing, NBOME recently hosted webinars with COM Faculty and Candidates. These sessions included an update from John Gimpel DO MEd, President and CEO of NBOME followed by Q&A with attendees.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. 
We appreciate the many questions and comments we’ve received, as they heighten our awareness and understanding of the very real impact the pandemic has had on candidates and other stakeholders. A list of FAQs from these sessions is available here.


Challenges in the Face of COVID-19 | May 29, 2020

COM Deans & Faculty Session | May 20, 2020

Student & Resident Session | May 21, 2020

The NBOME is proud to be a member of the Coalition for Physician Accountability, a collaborative group of national medical education organizations. The members of the Coalition recently updated recommendations on away rotations for Medical Education Institutions of LCME-Accredited, U.S. Osteopathic, and Non-U.S. Medical School Applicants.

The NBOME is proud to be a member of the Coalition for Physician Accountability, a collaborative group of national medical education organizations. The members of the Coalition recently updated recommendations on away rotations for Medical Education Institutions of LCME-Accredited, U.S. Osteopathic, and Non-U.S. Medical School Applicants.

This updated guidance was created in response to requests for a consistent approach to medical student away rotations for the 2021-22 academic year and is appended to the final recommendations created by this group and released in May 2020. The organizations supporting this update include the major national medical education organizations, whose representatives worked together to balance the complex needs of the medical education community. These recommendations reflect our collective sense of how to proceed, and we urge each medical school, sponsoring institution, and residency program to carefully consider them and commit to working together to create an equitable, transparent, and successful residency selection process for the 2021-22 cycle.

Read more here.

OCTOBER 28, 2020

The NBOME is proud to be a member of the Coalition for Physician Accountability, a collaborative group of national medical education organizations. The members of the Coalition recently unanimously supported a resolution recommending exemption of physicians from the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed rule change to eliminate “duration of status” as an authorized period of stay for J-1 Physicians.

We are proud to stand in support of all J-1 physicians in training – they are our classmates, educators, colleagues and friends. Most importantly, they are an essential part of the patient care workforce.

Read more here.


MAY 11, 2020
The NBOME is proud to join others as part of the Coalition for Physician Accountability, a cross-organizational group of national medical education organizations.  This group has recently developed a shared approach to several urgent COVID-19 related educational and training issues impacting the medical education and regulatory communities, with specific focus on applicants and education programs preparing for the 2020-2021 academic year during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coalition’s recommendations focus on three major areas:
  • VSLO/Away Rotations
  • In-person interviews for residency, and
  • ERAS deadline changes
The Coalition convened a series of work groups whose participants featured diversity of thought and represented the full spectrum of stakeholders across medical education and the public. These recommendations are intended to add to, but not supersede, the independent judgment of a medical school, Sponsoring Institution, or residency/fellowship program regarding the immediate needs of its patients and preparation of its learners. Read more here:

APRIL 9, 2020

Collective Statement from the Coalition for Physician Accountability

The NBOME worked with organizations across the House of Medicine and endorses this collective statement to strengthen efforts that must be in place to safeguard the public, and protect our health care workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to read the full statement.


The NBOME mobilized efforts to create a new module, The Osteopathic Approach to Patients with Respiratory Infections. It is now available to osteopathic medical students, residents and other DOs and members of the healthcare community in a time of national and global public health crisis on our Learning Center.

The NBOME mobilized efforts to create a new module, The Osteopathic Approach to Patients with Respiratory Infections. It is now available to osteopathic medical students, residents and other DOs and members of the healthcare community in a time of national and global public health crisis on our Learning Center. We have extended the introductory free offer of this module through October 31, 2020.

Much of the content provided, particularly regarding influenza pandemics, was prepared in relation to prior influenza pandemics (e.g., H1N1) and to assist learners and others in the osteopathic medical community with understanding potential opportunities to assist patients infected with respiratory pathogens.

This is a self-guided educational assessment program where participants can complete some or all of the module as desired. The first section, OMT for Patients with Respiratory Infections: Hands-on Treatment, can be completed on its own as a quick review of the step-by-step procedures.

The additional two sections are for those interested in the origin and history of the use of OMT in patients with respiratory infections and the research into how OMT has been studied to assist the patient as an adjunct to other evidence-based treatments, including antibiotics, anti-viral medications, other medical management, oxygen supplementation, etc. References are listed for your information. Finally, there is a 10-question self-assessment for those interested in a knowledge check.

Since the module was introduced, 1179 learners acquired the course, and 1054 of them completed it. Of these, 411 said they were somewhat likely to take another course on The Learning Center and 373 said they were very likely. Following the module, 820 learners also completed the program evaluation survey, 749 were students and 50 were DOs.

The module has relevant information for all—with both students and practicing physicians finishing the course. Users felt the course was an easy-to-use online format, educational, concise, well-constructed, and many enjoyed the OMT history it provided.

Other available programs for free or low cost include:

  • Inter-professional Geriatric Education and Training in Texas: Fall Risk Education & Assessment; Elder Mistreatment; Medication Management; Advance Care Planning
  • Identifying Medical Errors: Knowing Is Half the Battle
  • Item Writing 101: Multiple Choice Items with Realistic Clinical Scenarios
NBOME Test Accommodations is still fully operational during this difficult period. Applications will be reviewed within approximately 60 days from the submission of a completed application that includes the necessary documentation.
NBOME Test Accommodations is still fully operational during this difficult period. Applications will be reviewed within approximately 60 days from the submission of a completed application that includes the necessary documentation. Please see our guidelines for submitting an application here.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, at this time we are asking all candidates that are considering submitting an application for test accommodations for a COMLEX-USA examination to please email their application and supporting materials to testacc@nbome.org. Please do not mail a physical packet until further notice. Due to restrictions in the state of Pennsylvania regarding COVID-19, NBOME employees have limited ability to check physical mail sent to our NBOME location in Conshohocken.

If you are a candidate that has been granted accommodations and has had their scheduled test date cancelled due to Prometric test center closures, or if you have cancelled your test date for any other reason, please contact NBOME Test Accommodations at testacc@nbome.org to ensure that your accommodations are in place prior to rescheduling a new test date with Prometric.

Current info on the status of NBOME meetings planned for the coming weeks. Many upcoming NBOME meetings have transitioned from in-person / on-site meetings to virtual events.
Many upcoming NBOME meetings have transitioned from in-person / on-site meetings to virtual events.  If an in-person event you were scheduled to attend has changed, you will be contacted directly by a member of our Staff who will provide details related to the virtual meeting or cancellation.

If you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

For questions related to specific meetings you have been invited to, please contact the NBOME Staff member that is coordinating that meeting.

For other questions, please contact Client Services at Clientservices@nbome.org or 866.479.6828.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this challenging time.

Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring out how to create the perfect Match rank order list. This is a critical part of the process, as you’re trying to determine where you’ll be spending the next 3+ years of your life, and it’s been made even more difficult in 2021 by not being able to visit those programs in person.

Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring out how to create the perfect Match rank order list. This is a critical part of the process, as you’re trying to determine where you’ll be spending the next 3+ years of your life, and it’s been made even more difficult in 2021 by not being able to visit those programs in person.

To help out OMS IVs struggling with this step, Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III, wanted to share some insights she learned when creating her own rank order list.

Dr. Yeiser is currently a PGY-3 family medicine resident at Main Line Health in Bryn Mawr, PA. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association Committee on Professional Guidance (East Region) and serves on her resident wellness and diversity committees. She currently serves as a NBOME Resident Ambassador, and works to advocate for DO students and their credentials. Her professional involvements include reviewing articles for the Osteopathic Family Physician Journal. After residency, she will be relocating to northern New Jersey to practice outpatient family medicine.


How did you know that the programs you ranked were right for you?

I ranked the programs that I knew I would be happy matching into—that’s the best you can do in a process that’s ultimately out of your control. My situation was unique since I rotated at my top ranked program as a third and fourth year student, and I knew it would be a good fit since I had a great experience there. Ultimately there is no one formula for how to rank programs. Personally, I used the same criteria for all my program, location and the people or the overall “fit” of the program. Residents change every year but program structure and faculty are less likely to turnover as frequently. If you don’t think you’ll be happy there based on your non-negotiables, intuition or general impression then don’t rank it. It’s also important to consider whether or not your interests will be supported. For instance, are there faculty or recent graduates who’ve done fellowships, additional training or research in their areas of interest? Is there support in pursuing new or away electives, scholarly activities, or responses to major life events (births, deaths, illness, etc.)? What are their wellness initiatives, and do the residents seem to have good work-life balance? Have residents felt supported during the pandemic (rotation changes and response, PPE)? These are all important factors to consider when finding the programs that are right for you.

What factors from your interview were the most meaningful in affecting how you created your rank list?

The main factor I considered was whether or not I could imagine myself at the program. I considered how the residents interacted with each other, and if it seemed genuine or forced. The availability of the attending who would become my next mentors and the culture of the program were important to me as well. I would also recommend considering the type of resources and support the program provides to ensure their residents succeed.

Did you receive feedback from any programs after the interview? If so, did this make a difference?

Yes, from some, and it’s helpful but I definitely wouldn’t rank a program lower because you don’t hear back. It’s also worth reaching out if you’re interested afterwards; every program is different and just because you didn’t hear back, doesn’t mean they don’t regard you highly. It’s also important to remember that programs are unable to contact applicants between the Rank Order List Deadline and the start of the Match Week, so don’t worry if you didn’t hear anything beforehand!

How did you go about creating your rank list? Did you rank according to your preference or did you try to anticipate which programs would rank you highly?

I was given the advice to rank where you would want to be and not based on the program you think will rank you highest. If I hadn’t taken that advice, I may have missed out. Ultimately, you can only match into one spot, and I wouldn’t want to risk losing a spot somewhere I’d love to be because of trying to predict where I’d actually end up. For example, it’s unlikely that the top six candidates for a program all want to be there equally when most people apply to numerous programs to increase their odds. But if you’re honest with yourself, you have a greater chance of matching at your ideal program. Rank in order of where you truly want to be, and it will all work out the way it’s supposed to in the end. If you are still feeling a little unsure about how to create your list, the NRMP has created a video detailing the Guidelines for Applicants for Creating a Rank Order List, as well as a helpful video that explains exactly how the matching algorithm works.


The rank order list submission is open until March 3, but we recommend trying not to stress and end up waiting until the last minute to submit your list on the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) website. Remember, when you know, you know! If you’re still looking for additional help on creating your list, there is some helpful advice available from the American Osteopathic Association as well as published resources from the NRMP.


Applying to Residency | Match Resources

You may also like

Match Rank Order Deadline Approaches - How to Counter Your Doubts

February 19, 2021
As time approaches for the rank order deadline and the match, it is not unusual for students to experience anxiety...

Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship

February 16, 2021
Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship. Despite the year that 2020 was, we are proud...

Applying to Residency - Carisa Champion, DO, MPH, JD

October 16, 2020
At this point, you’ve researched residency programs until you can’t see straight and are figuring out where to...
In this section
As time approaches for the rank order deadline and the match, it is not unusual for students to experience anxiety and begin to doubt their plan. Counter this by setting a goal for yourself to submit and certify your list several days before it is due. This avoids any last minute mistakes, poorly thought-out changes, or delays due to unexpected internet issues.

As time approaches for the rank order deadline and the match, it is not unusual for students to experience anxiety and begin to doubt their plan. Counter this by setting a goal for yourself to submit and certify your list several days before it is due. This avoids any last minute mistakes, poorly thought-out changes, or delays due to unexpected internet issues.

Once your list is entered and you are awaiting the results, try to focus your thoughts on the known success that osteopathic applicants have had in the match, as reported by the NRMP.

In addition to the above statistics showing DO success in the match, the 2020 NRMP Program Director’s Report reminds us that the vast majority of programs (95%) cite interpersonal skills as a factor in ranking an applicant, and this factor carries the highest importance overall. As an osteopathic student, you have been well-trained to think holistically and communicate effectively. Trust in the process and in yourself; however, if you do find stress and anxiety to be overwhelming, be sure and reach out to your mentors, advisors, and/or a counselor for help. You can also refer to the Candidate Wellness portion of our Road to DO Licensure page for editorial that could be of benefit to you.


Tracy Middleton, DO, FACOFP, Chair & Clinical Professor, Department of Osteopathic Family & Community Medicine, Midwestern University, AZCOM

Applying to Residency | Match Resources

You may also like

Applying to Residency: Ranking Programs – Where Am I A Good Fit? Interview with Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III

February 22, 2021
Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring...

Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship

February 16, 2021
Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship. Despite the year that 2020 was, we are proud...

Applying to Residency - Carisa Champion, DO, MPH, JD

October 16, 2020
At this point, you’ve researched residency programs until you can’t see straight and are figuring out where to...
Sabri Zooper is certainly someone you want to know—an osteopathic medical student at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) who is paving the way for fellow minorities on their Road to DO Licensure.

Sabri Zooper is certainly someone you want to know—an osteopathic medical student at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) who is paving the way for fellow minorities on their Road to DO Licensure. Her passion and eloquence is a door-opener for other medical students of color following in her footsteps. She has her hands in many jars, acting as a Representative on the Advisory Council of the National Center for Pre-Faculty Development SNMA- BNGAP, National Osteopathic Affairs Chair of the Student National Medical Association, President of the Black Graduate Student Association - UNTHSC at Fort Worth, and as a Chapter Liaison for the Academic Medicine Career Development TCOM – BNGAP. We were honored to have the opportunity to hear her story with advice for other osteopathic medical students.


What inspired you to become a DO, specifically? Tell us your story.

My grandmother was unfortunately sick most of my life with type 1 diabetes and hypertension, and I found out from my mom when I was older that many of her doctors were osteopathic physicians. I’m from Michigan, and Michigan is a mecca for DOs.

I spent so much time in the hospital growing up. I have to give my respect to the nurses and doctors—one even sat down with me after my mother had donated a kidney to my grandmother to draw me a diagram and explain what was happening. At eight years old, it eased my soul when I was so scared in the middle of the hospital. I remember feeling alone, and I’m so grateful he took the time to go over it with me. It was a huge moment to be able to connect with someone beyond the world of medicine just as a person.

I’m a first generation medical school student—a trailblazer trying to figure it all out myself. So that moment when I was a little girl helped me do that. The decision to become a DO is rooted in my background, and is why I wanted to take this path. It’s not just something I found online that I thought was cool; it’s integrated into my history.

The DO approach I feel is what a physician should be. I always talk about this one time I had hurt my neck, and I went to see a doctor who happened to be an MD. He didn’t even touch me! He just looked at me, asked a question, and gave me some painkillers. And they were heavy painkillers—even during this opioid crisis we’re having. That wasn’t what I needed. He could have just touched it to try and see what was going on, but he didn’t even want to engage with me.

One of the best things about starting off at a DO school is how physical you are immediately. I was taught how to be comfortable with touching—how to palpate—how to engage in a permissible way. We’re taught to ask the patient, “Is this comfortable for you? If it’s okay, I’m going to palpate real quick and see some of the tense areas.” There’s even a double board certified doctor at my school in Neuromusculoskeletal medicine and also in OB/GYN, and she uses both to treat her patients! Who wouldn’t want to be a DO?

We often hear the phrase ‘osteopathic distinctiveness’ used across the profession. What does that phrase mean to you personally?

I can talk about that all day! I’ve rounded with some MD students and we are equally capable. However, I do think there are some benefits that DOs have that MDs may not. We know more about lymphatics and nervous systems; we know more about how things are connected—how the body’s systems work together as a unit. I feel as though DOs are distinctive in that we have a deeper background in the body: how it moves, how it works, how it doesn’t work, what we can do to help it flow better, how we can assist it in its own healing process, and how we can help it, period.

I feel MDs focus more on problem solving. They are the first ones to say: “Here’s the problem and here’s the solution.” I love that, but that’s not always the right approach to patient care. Sometimes, you need to be able to connect with the patient and understand why they have these issues—look at their stress levels, look at their support system, and look at what they’re eating. What other histories do they have that contribute to their issues? Being a DO has taught me how to look at the person as a whole picture instead of a problem. I feel that’s what osteopathic distinctiveness is. I don’t want to go into a patient room having read and judged their chart and that be my whole understanding of the patient. How do I gain their trust? How do I understand where they’re coming from? You can tell them all day what to do until you’re blue in the face, but if they don’t trust you, they’re not going to do it.

I just finished my OB/GYN rotation, and I was working with high risk pregnancies when a lady who was having twins came in. The MD had done a urinary drug screen on her and it came back positive for cocaine. I asked the doctor before we went in if we were going to talk about it, since she was already high-risk. The doctor said we weren’t. I was very disappointed that we did not address her screening; we needed to understand why she was positive and what was going on. Why is she doing cocaine? Is someone trying to put cocaine in her system? There are so many questions whose answers could potentially help her. This was the opportunity for us to partner with her. That’s another big thing about osteopathic distinctiveness—we partner with our patients. Just as much as I’m trying to help you in here, you have to help me out there.

I’m grateful for the training I’ve had about empathy. A lot of physicians don’t have it at all. It’s just a job sometimes, and it’s become almost robotic. I could never look at my patients like that. I could never see a positive cocaine drug screen and not talk about it. As a person, I can’t do that, and as an osteopathic physician, I definitely can’t do that.

In your speech to COCA, you mentioned how high your stress levels were when preparing for COMLEX-USA during both a pandemic and civil unrest. Tell us about the major challenges you’ve faced and how you overcame them.

In my second year, I really struggled with some aspects of medical school academically. I hit roadblocks with some classes, and I struggled to believe that I could make it. I didn’t open up about it. I was depressed. I didn’t know I was depressed. Thankfully, I got the help I needed to get through that, but then 2020 happened! And it just changed everything. My COMLEX-USA kept getting pushed back, and then my study schedule was off. Then, in the middle of that, civil unrest. We were struggling as a group of URMs (underrepresented minorities). Alongside studying for my exam, trying to figure out when I was going to take it, people were dying. There was protesting everywhere—the election; it was a mess. There were moments I didn’t even feel safe going outside of my house. I didn’t know if I was going to be a target. I know a lot of my friends truly struggled. We were afraid, and that fear was heavy.

A few students, including myself, were working with our school to increase our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. We reached out to our school to get support so we could feel safer. We wrote a petition of asks, similar to what the SNMA sent to COCA. We had over 400 signatures on it. I think that changed a lot of things not just at my college, but at our whole campus. How can we make TCOM better? It’s a great school, and we are working to make everybody feel like they have a space here.

All throughout that, my test kept getting pushed back, pushed back, pushed back. I finally was able to take my exam in October after I was originally supposed to take it in August. With everything going on, I still had to dig down and figure out what I needed to know to pass COMLEX-USA. What I ended up doing was hiring a board prep program. My tutor helped me so much, and I needed somebody to be with me through this because I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

Did you also take USMLE, and if not, why didn’t you?

All throughout my time in medical school, I was told over and over again that if I wanted to be an OB/GYN, I needed to take USMLE. But I’m not going to school for Step! I’m going to school for COMLEX-USA—for osteopathic medicine, and I’m very proud of that. I don’t feel the need to prove myself to another branch of physicians in order to be able to serve.

I don’t think it’s fair to ask students who work just as hard, if not harder than MDs (because we have an extra 300 hours of training) to take two separate exams in addition to medical school. I’m not taking another exam. I am a DO through and through, and that’s how I want to be received in a program. For me, there’s a reason I came to this school—there’s a reason I’m going to be a DO. I personally feel that I’m confident in my score, I’m confident in my application, and I’m going to be confident in my letters of recommendation.

What advice would you give to other COM students preparing for COMLEX-USA?

Reach out for help when you need it, and figure out what works for you. Even the best of the best students need a resource to help them. But because a lot of people come from backgrounds like me: single parent home, first person to do this, nobody around me knows what to do—they may not have the resources or the know-how to get those resources because they’re the first person trying to figure it out.

For me, I am a talkative person and I needed to interact with someone. I need someone to look at me through the screen and ask me: “What do you think about this?” and “Let’s do some practice questions together!” And then I’d teach the material back to them so I’d know I knew it.

What are you looking forward to the most in the next stage of your journey?

The thing I’m looking forward to the most is having ‘Dr. Zooper’ on a piece of paper. The last thing my grandmother told me when I was a sophomore in college—she was dying and didn’t have a lot of strength left, but she wanted to make sure her only grandbaby finished. She told me to finish. I knew exactly what that meant. She didn’t have to say anymore—just, “Sabri, I want you to finish.” So, I’m finishing! I’m going to finish and I’m going to go through this.

Being a doctor is an opportunity for me to be able to be the inspiration that so many others were for me. I couldn’t have gotten through undergrad had I not seen other black women graduate in biology and go forward. I wouldn’t have been able to even think about medicine had it not been for my mom. They opened all these doors. I want to be that for others too and pass the torch—to keep that going. I don’t want to stop at being a doctor. I want to keep going and give back in medical education.

As an African American, one of the biggest reasons for our success and our progression has been our ability to educate ourselves—being able to read, go to school, have professions, and build lives for ourselves. It’s very important to continue that legacy—of going on to be an educator at the highest level. I want to be a dean. It’s important for all students to see different colors in leadership—different types of people and different perspectives. I want to be a part of the next generation of physician educators. That’s what I look forward to, and I’m excited!

I think the biggest power that I have is understanding that my life just isn’t about me. Yes, I’m the leading lady in my life, but, at the end of the day, it just isn’t about me. I think when you take the focus off yourself, there is so much more joy and wholesomeness in that. It’s about the impact you leave.

I heard a quote earlier this week: “When you’re born, you look like your parents, but when you die, you look like your choices.” What kind of choices am I going to make? I want to make the right ones! The most influential people are those who made you feel something—that made you believe something—that made you believe in yourself. I’ve been through so many things in my life where I didn’t feel good enough, strong enough, and I didn’t feel like I would ever be enough. I know what that feels like, and I know what it’s like to feel unseen, unheard, and unimportant. I want to make sure the people I come in contact with—no matter if they are doctors or not—that those people know I see them. You’re a human; I’m a human. Let’s be humans together! And let’s help each other because that’s what it’s about.


See All

You may also like

Stories from the Road: From ESL student to DO - Interview with Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III

March 31, 2021
Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III, was recently appointed to the Special Commission for Osteopathic Medical Licensure...

Stories from the Road: Interview with Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, On Her Fellowship with Grey’s Anatomy

December 11, 2020
NBOME Resident Ambassador, Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, was selected to be a fellow in the Grey’s Anatomy...

Stories from the Road: A Change of Heart, But Not of Spirit - Interview with Alin Gragossian, DO

October 28, 2020
You might be familiar with Alin Gragossian, DO, from her blog, A Change of Heart, which provides insight into her...
Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship. Despite the year that 2020 was, we are proud to say that this year’s Medicine Specialty Matching Program (MSMP) was the largest in history. Over 5,200 DO, MD, and IMG applicants matched to Medicine subspecialty fellowships.

Despite the year that 2020 was, we are proud to say that this year’s Medicine Specialty Matching Program (MSMP) was the largest in history. Over 5,200 DO, MD, and IMG applicants matched to Medicine subspecialty fellowships.

One subspecialty where DO matches really increased was Hematology-Oncology (64 DO matches!). We were lucky to be able to sit down and chat with our Resident Ambassador, Ronak Mistry, DO, who matched in Hematology and Oncology at Vanderbilt University.


What made you decide you wanted to do a fellowship?

I must say that I did wrestle with this question a bit during residency. I love Internal Medicine. I love the patient population, the variety in cases, the opportunity to build differential diagnoses, and testing these. However, I realized that any fellowship after an Internal Medicine residency would ensure that I could not only continue to do all of these things, but also be very skilled in one particular area. My genuine interest in hematology and oncology ultimately convinced me that a fellowship was the right way to go.

How did your osteopathic curriculum influence your interest in pursuing a fellowship and help you prepare for success?

My osteopathic curriculum at RowanSOM taught me to be an excellent clinician with great bedside manner and clinical reasoning skills. We were taught to always take the time to listen to our patients and ensure that they were part of the decision making for their treatment plan every step of the way. Being a DO helped me to be a great internist, which is the root of all sub-specialties within Internal Medicine.

As a DO, what advice would you give to those coming after you who are also thinking about applying for a fellowship?

The best advice I have is to keep an open mind when you start residency and to learn your field. Anchoring on a specialty too early will deter you from learning. The other thing to consider is that fellowship means more years of training, which means that there are financial implications and life implications. So it's important to ask yourself if this really is the best thing for you. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to pursue fellowship at all! But if you decide that you want to go ahead and focus on a sub-specialty, it is important to start to find a mentor or mentors in the field who can give you guidance, suggest research opportunities, and connect you with others.

Regarding research, please note that it is not a one-size-fits-all. Some fields value research more than others, and quantity is not always more important than quality. The types of projects and publications you need to be competitive in each field is different and that is where a strong mentor will be most helpful.

Lastly, when it comes time to apply, spend some time and consider what your priorities are. There are many factors that may be important to you, and can really affect the types of programs you will need to apply to help you be successful in your future career.

What made you choose hematology-oncology?

From a basic science perspective, I have been interested in hematology/oncology for quite some time. I majored in biochemistry and cell and molecular biology in college and so we frequently looked to cancers as a real-life illustration of what happens when the cell's intrinsic system of checks and balances goes awry. Through shadowing experiences and rotations throughout medical school and residency, respectively, I saw myself doing this every day. I witnessed the deep appreciation and trust patients have for their hematologists and oncologists. I wanted to the person to have the privilege of gaining that trust and ensuring that I was there for them on their best days and their worst days.

What aspects of being an osteopathic physician do you think will be a benefit to your Hematology-Oncology patients?

Central to Osteopathic Medicine is the tenet that each person is a unit of mind, body, and spirit. Dean Cavalieri at RowanSOM, where I went to osteopathic medical school, reminded us of this quite frequently. I have worked hard throughout my training as a student and a resident to be the best clinician, researcher, teacher, leader, and educator that I can be and I am very proud of that. I believe that these traits, my determination, and my holistic approach to medicine really came through when I interviewed—places that include some of the most elite and prestigious programs in the country. As a future hematologist/oncologist, I will continue to ensure that I find ways to connect with all of my patients on multiple levels using my osteopathic training to ensure that they feel heard, informed, and respected.

How excited are you about your match to Vanderbilt?

I am absolutely elated to have matched for my Hematology/Oncology fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Despite it being an atypical year for interview season—seeing that all of my interviews were virtual—I felt a sense of community amongst all of the faculty and the fellows just from observing their interactions and the way they spoke of each other. Furthermore, I was searching for a program with a strong commitment to teaching its fellows, a faculty who have varieties of research interests, and opportunities to grow as an educator. I saw all of this and more in the program and cannot wait to begin my fellowship.

That being said, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the support of my parents, my siblings, my fiancée, my incredible family, and friends who have supported me each and every day. Along the way, I have been incredibly fortunate to have had the most phenomenal teachers and mentors throughout my time in elementary school, high school, at Drew University, at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and at Pennsylvania Hospital, who have always inspired me and motivated me to keep pushing the bar higher and making me the best clinician that I can be. I am also thankful to NBOME for giving me the chance to be a Resident (and future Fellow) Ambassador. I look forward to taking you all on my fellowship journey with me!


Applying to Residency | Match Resources

You may also like

Applying to Residency: Ranking Programs – Where Am I A Good Fit? Interview with Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III

February 22, 2021
Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring...

Match Rank Order Deadline Approaches - How to Counter Your Doubts

February 19, 2021
As time approaches for the rank order deadline and the match, it is not unusual for students to experience anxiety...

Applying to Residency - Carisa Champion, DO, MPH, JD

October 16, 2020
At this point, you’ve researched residency programs until you can’t see straight and are figuring out where to...
COMAT Clinical Subjects
In this section
When it comes to learning new information, we all have different learning styles. For most of us, it’s all about how the content is presented to us. There is also something to be said about the environment in which we learn in.

When it comes to learning new information, we all have different learning styles. For most of us, it’s all about how the content is presented to us. There is also something to be said about the environment in which we learn in. Some of us prefer to be indoors, seated at a computer and laser-focused with a cup of herbal tea, while others need sound or stimulation with fresh air and a can of Red Bull. Whatever your style, we’ve got you covered. Our newest product, WelCOM, creates an all-new way to test your osteopathic knowledge to see if you’re ready for COMLEX-USA Level 1 or 2-CE.

We’re pretty sure you’re familiar with COMSAE—you may have even used it. WelCOM is an entirely different self-assessment tool, designed for busy schedules much like yours. It’s a convenient formative assessment platform for durable and complex learning—essentially, we’ll help you learn and retain what is uniquely challenging to you through Q&A.

Now, you can not only fit more study-time into your busy schedule, but also receive immediate feedback and reference related materials right on the spot, (a big part of the learning and retention concept). Want to know more? Keep scrolling to explore all the reasons why you should check out WelCOM.

Convenient

Sometimes, you just want to pick up studying and go. Preparing for COMLEX-USA shouldn’t mean you have to press the pause button on your life and glue yourself to your computer. With WelCOM, you can access questions anywhere, anytime, using any smart device. When you’re on the go, or really just want to lay in bed and crank out a few questions, we’re here for you. WelCOM’s mobile smartphone app makes it almost too easy to access self-assessment questions.

Flexible

WelCOM not only lets you decide where you answer the questions, but also when. Don’t want to sit down for two hours and binge questions? You don’t have to. While the self-assessments we normally offer are taken at a single point in time, WelCOM allows you to customize the pacing of your questions to fit your own unique study schedule. You’ll even get reminders if you aren’t keeping up with your questions.

Responsive

That gut-wrenching ‘how did I do?’ anticipation has no place here. WelCOM provides instant feedback on each question as you complete it. No more waiting until the end of your self-assessment to find out how you did, wondering which questions you got correct, which you got incorrect, or why. WelCOM’s instant feedback is what helps guide your learning and increases your understanding as you go.

Enhanced Learning

What’s better than instant gratification? Rationales with associated references. A rationale tells you why the right answer is correct, and why the incorrect answers are not. This allows you to reinforce the material in the question so that you can learn from your performance on that question before you move on to a new concept. While answer rationales explain the ‘why,’ related references allow you to read further to reinforce your learning and help you to better understand the material, if needed for a particular concept

WelCOM also maps directly to COMLEX-USA blueprint, so you can see areas of the blueprint you need to focus on more in your future studies.

Modern Approach

We’ll help you tackle COMLEX-USA preparation from all angles. You don’t have to pick one or the other—WelCOM can be used in addition to COMSAE. It will work on your content and question format mastery, while COMSAE is perfect for getting game-day ready, since it mimics how COMLEX-USA will look when you go to take it. It is written by the same subject matter experts as COMLEX-USA, and to the COMLEX-USA blueprint, so you know you are getting the best preparation for COMLEX!

To learn more, visit the WelCOM page on our website or check out our latest video. Are you ready for launch?

 

See All

You may also like

Candidate Wellness: Live True to Your Body, Mind & Spirit - Interview with Merwan Faraj, ENS, MC, USNR, OMS-II

April 26, 2021
Merwan Faraj, ENS, MC, USNR, is a second year med student at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Carolinas...

Stories from the Road: From ESL student to DO - Interview with Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III

March 31, 2021
Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III, was recently appointed to the Special Commission for Osteopathic Medical Licensure...

Applying to Residency: Ranking Programs – Where Am I A Good Fit? Interview with Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III

February 22, 2021
Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring...
Match 2021 is off to a great start! This year’s NRMP Medicine Specialty Matching Program (MSMP) was the largest in history with over 5,200 DO, MD and IMG applicants matching to Medicine subspecialty fellowships – that’s a 6.1% increase! The MSMP includes nearly all 14 Internal Medicine subspecialties for fellowship positions that will begin in July 2021, and includes over 600 DOs who matched.

Match 2021 is off to a great start! This year’s NRMP Medicine Specialty Matching Program (MSMP) was the largest in history with over 5,200 DO, MD and IMG applicants matching to Medicine subspecialty fellowships – that’s a 6.1% increase! The MSMP includes nearly all 14 Internal Medicine subspecialties for fellowship positions that will begin in July 2021, and includes over 600 DOs who matched.

The number of DOs who choose to complete a fellowship in a subspecialty after completing their residency continues to rise. And this year’s MSMP was no exception—with DOs matching in 18 subspecialties and making up 12% of Internal Medicine subspecialty matches. This year, the number of DO graduates participating in the MSMP rose by 9.6% from appointment year 2020, and 101.6% from appointment year 2017, far more than any other applicant group.

Greater than 10% of the matches in the following subspecialties were made up of osteopathic applicants.

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Hematology and Oncology
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • Infectious Disease
  • Interventional Pulmonology
  • Nephrology
  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary
  • Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care
  • Rheumatology

If you’re considering a fellowship after finishing your residency, here are some resources from the American Osteopathic Association and the American Medical Association about what you should take into consideration before making your decision.

Congratulations to all the residents who matched to fellowships so far this year!


Match Resources | News

You may also like

Match Stories

March 24, 2021
Match 2021: Match Day success stories from the past as well as new stories from Match 2021....

Match 2021: Record Numbers for DO Seniors

March 19, 2021
Despite a year of many hardships, we are overjoyed to announce that this year’s NRMP Main Match was the largest on...

Applying to Residency: Ranking Programs – Where Am I A Good Fit? Interview with Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III

February 22, 2021
Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring...
The NBOME is pleased to recognize the 2020 Item Writer and Case Author of the Year award winners from its distinguished National Faculty. Throughout the year, this group of individuals graciously volunteered their time and expertise to contribute to the COMLEX-USA and COMAT exam programs. These volunteers wear a variety of hats for the NBOME – writing and reviewing test items, serving as physician examiners for COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE, and supporting our mission to protect the public through competency assessment.

PHILADELPHIA, PA. The NBOME is pleased to recognize the 2020 Item Writer and Case Author of the Year award winners from its distinguished National Faculty. Throughout the year, this group of individuals graciously volunteered their time and expertise to contribute to the COMLEX-USA and COMAT exam programs. These volunteers wear a variety of hats for the NBOME – writing and reviewing test items, serving as physician examiners for COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE, and supporting our mission to protect the public through competency assessment.

Each year, the NBOME selects the best-in-class item writers and case authors from a large group of contributors. Congratulations to these esteemed awardees for their exemplary commitment to producing valid and high quality exam content.

2020 COMLEX-USA Level 1 Item Writer of the Year: Hannah Coulson, DO

Dr. Coulson is an assistant professor of pathology at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Carolinas Campus. She has been a significant contributor to all levels of COMLEX-USA since she joined the National Faculty in 2017.

2020 COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE Item Writer of the Year: Robert Gioia, DO, DDS

Dr. Gioia is an attending physician of family medicine at Spectrum Health in Michigan and has been a member of our national faculty since 2018.

2020 COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE Case Author of the Year: Kym Carpentieri, DO

Dr. Carpentieri is an assistant professor of family medicine at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of New York Institute of Technology-Old Westbury. She has been a member of the Case Development Committee since 2013.

2020 COMLEX-USA Level 3 Item Writer of the Year: Suzanne Rogers, DO

Dr. Rogers is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine. She has been a member of our National Faculty since 2018, and provided significant contributions to the COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE and Level 3 examinations as well as the COMAT Clinical Pediatrics examination.

2020 Clinical Decision-Making (CDM) Case Writer of the Year: Alesia Wagner, DO

Dr. Wagner is the Vice Chair for Primary Care and an Assistant Professor at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine – California, and has been a long-standing member of our National Faculty, as well as the CDM committee. She has provided significant contributions across all of the COMLEX-USA examinations.

2020 COMLEX-USA Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) Item Writer of the Year: Edward Shadiack, III, DO

Dr. Shadiack is a Clinical Fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He has been a member of our National Faculty since 2016, and has been heavily involved with all levels of the COMLEX-USA examinations and COMAT.

2020 COMLEX-USA Preventative Medicine/Health Promotion (PMHP) Item Writer of the Year: Theresa McCann, PhD, MPH, CHSE

Dr. McCann is a Professor and Discipline Chair for Epidemiology, Community & Public Health, and Preventive Medicine at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Virginia Campus. She is a new member to our National Faculty in 2020, and has been heavily involved in all levels of COMLEX-USA examinations.

2020 COMAT Clinical Item Writer of the Year: Bernadette Riley, DO

Dr. Riley is an associate professor of Family Medicine at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of New York Institute of Technology-Old Westbury and a long standing member of our National Faculty. She has been a significant contributor to both COMAT and COMLEX-USA examinations.

2020 COMAT Foundational Biomedical Sciences (FBS) Item Writer of the Year: Rebecca Pratt, PhD

Dr. Pratt is a professor of anatomy at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. She has been a member of our National Faculty since 2014, and contributes to both COMAT Foundational Biomedical Sciences and COMLEX-USA Level 1 examinations. Dr. Riley was also awarded Item Writer of the Year for COMAT Foundational Biomedical Sciences in 2018.

The NBOME is honored to have such talented and committed contributors in our National Faculty. Learn more about how to join our National Faculty here.


See All

You may also like

NRMP Medicine Specialty Matching Program Largest in History

January 20, 2021
Match 2021 is off to a great start! This year’s NRMP Medicine Specialty Matching Program (MSMP) was the largest in...

National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners Announces National Faculty Leadership Transition

January 7, 2021
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Board Chair Geraldine T. O’Shea, DO, and the staff of the National Board of...

COMLEX-USA Level 1 to Eliminate Numeric Scores

December 17, 2020
The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the NBOME will change from reporting three-digit numeric scores...
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Board Chair Geraldine T. O’Shea, DO, and the staff of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), we extend special appreciation to the National Faculty Chairs whose terms ended on December 31, 2020 for their longstanding service. We appreciate their time and dedication, as well as those who encouraged, nominated or made it possible for these chairs to participate with the NBOME.

PHILADELPHIA, PA. On behalf of the Board of Directors, Board Chair Geraldine T. O’Shea, DO, and the staff of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), we extend special appreciation to the National Faculty Chairs whose terms ended on December 31, 2020 for their longstanding service. We appreciate their time and dedication, as well as those who encouraged, nominated or made it possible for these chairs to participate with the NBOME.

Clinical Sciences Department Chair, Osteopathic Principles & Practice / Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine

Mark Sandhouse, DO – Nova Southeastern University Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dr. Sandhouse has served the NBOME in collective National Faculty leadership roles for over 15 years, as COMLEX-USA Composite Examination Committee Member: 2016-2020, COMLEX-USA Level 1 Advisory Committee Member: 2016-2020, CTAC Member: 2013, 2015 and National Faculty Department Chair of Osteopathic Principles and Practice / Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine: 2015-2020.

Clinical Sciences Department Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Eric Carlson, DO, MPH – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

COMAT Chair, Osteopathic Principles & Practice / Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine

Danielle L. Cooley, DO – Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Clinical Sciences Division Chair, Medical Ethics, Jurisprudence and Professionalism

Sarah Hall, DO – Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine

COMAT Chair, Family Medicine, served as Charter COMAT FM Chair

Tracy Middleton, DO – Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University

Dr. Middleton has been elected to NBOME Board of Directors starting January 2021

Additionally, we would like to congratulate and welcome the following National Faculty members who have been appointed to 2021 National Faculty Chair positions:

Clinical Sciences Department Chair – Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Dermatology

Wayne R. Carlsen, DO – Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine – Athens

Dr. Carlsen began his appointment in July 2020.

Clinical Sciences Department Chair – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Stephanie L. Zeszutek, DO, RPh – Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine – Middletown

Clinical Sciences Department Chair – Osteopathic Principles & Practice / Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine

Danielle L. Cooley, DO – Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Preventive Medicine & Health Promotion Division Chair – Medical Ethics, Jurisprudence & Professionalism

William R. Blazey, DO – New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of New York Institute of Technology – Old Westbury

COMAT Examination Chair – Family Medicine

Sarah M. Hall, DO – Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine

COMAT Examination Chair – Osteopathic Principles and Practice / Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine

Rebecca E. Giusti, DO – Western University of Health Sciences/College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

The NBOME is honored to have such talented and committed thought leaders that represent all aspects of clinical and foundational biomedical science disciplines in our National Faculty. Learn about our other National Faculty leaders and how to join our National Faculty here.


See All

You may also like

NRMP Medicine Specialty Matching Program Largest in History

January 20, 2021
Match 2021 is off to a great start! This year’s NRMP Medicine Specialty Matching Program (MSMP) was the largest in...

National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners Announces 2020 Item Writer and Case Author Award Winners

January 8, 2021
The NBOME is pleased to recognize the 2020 Item Writer and Case Author of the Year award winners from its...

COMLEX-USA Level 1 to Eliminate Numeric Scores

December 17, 2020
The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the NBOME will change from reporting three-digit numeric scores...
The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the NBOME will change from reporting three-digit numeric scores to reporting only “Pass” or “Fail” for COMLEX-USA Level 1 examinations administered after May 1, 2022.

PHILADELPHIA, PA. The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the NBOME will change from reporting three-digit numeric scores to reporting only “Pass” or “Fail” for COMLEX-USA Level 1 examinations administered effective May 1, 2022, aligning with the start of the 2022-2023 testing cycle. This decision was made after several years of analysis and considering input from across the education, training, and licensure continuum.

The NBOME recognizes that this score reporting modification for COMLEX-USA Level 1 (pass/fail only) will create new questions for osteopathic medical students, faculty and deans, state licensing board members, the GME community, and other stakeholders. More information and further specifics will be made available by July 2021 on the particulars and logistics of the new score reporting construct for candidates, and that for schools and other secondary users. Input was considered from stakeholder groups across the continuum, including the licensure community, osteopathic medical students and residents, those involved in undergraduate and graduate medical education, accreditation authorities, and numerous other professional organizations across the profession. Ultimately, the NBOME Board took this action in support of wellness across the continuum and in the interest of its mission to protect the public.

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs serve as a complement to the December 2020 announcement of the transition of score reporting for COMLEX-USA Level 1 examinations from reporting numeric scores to only reporting Pass/Fail results starting May 1, 2022. Note that additional information will be provided by July 2021 on the particulars and logistics of the new score reporting construct for candidates, schools and other secondary users.

How long have you been thinking about this decision? What went into making this decision? Did you just do this because USMLE announced the same in 2020?

While there had been considerable discussion and consideration of reporting only pass or fail rather than numeric scores for COMLEX-USA examinations with NBOME’s testing committees and Board of Directors since the first COMLEX-USA redesign in 1995, the concept of the elimination of numeric scores from COMLEX-USA Level 1 garnered considerable attention and analysis by NBOME’s Blue Ribbon Panel for Enhancing COMLEX-USA, which was commissioned in 2009 and published an initial report in March 2012.

At the time, with the secondary use of licensing examination scores by Program Directors and the beginning of discussions regarding a potential transition to a Single Accreditation System for Graduate Medical Education, the decision was to continue to report numeric scores. NBOME continued to engage the medical licensure, regulatory, assessment and education communities on this topic, including inviting input from osteopathic medical students and residents. NBOME has presented on this topic at national meetings including those within the licensure community, but many expressed concerns about change. Students, residents and their advisors in particular cautioned against the unintended consequences of discontinuing reporting of COMLEX-USA Level 1 numeric scores, primarily related to concerns about application for residency programs. While other concerns were cited, the principle apprehension was that DO candidates with a COMLEX-USA score that reported as pass/fail only would not be able to be compared to applicants from MD-granting schools and international medical graduates who applied producing numeric scores. Upon USMLE’s announcement earlier in 2020 that they would discontinue reporting “Step 1” numeric scores beginning in 2022, this concern was mitigated, and stakeholder input changed.

This December 2020 decision was ultimately made after several years of analysis and considering input from across the education, training, and licensure continuum, and in the interest of wellness across the continuum and supporting NBOME’s mission of protecting the public through assessment. The comprehensive analysis included research, surveys of individuals, and solicitation of stakeholder position statements, including those from organizations representing the medical licensure community, undergraduate and graduate medical education, accreditation authorities, and students and residents.

Why May 2022 and not January 2022? Why doesn’t NBOME make this transition sooner?

Our COMLEX-USA test cycles align with the cohorts of students who take the examination and their anticipated graduation year and are established with input from colleges of osteopathic medicine and other stakeholders. This change to the score reporting for COMLEX-USA Level 1 examinations needs to align with the test cycle change, therefore we will make this change in May 2022 (a time when the Class of 2024 begins to take this examination). To make this change earlier would compromise both the psychometric integrity of the examination results of the 2021-2022 test cycle, and would potentially result in half of a graduating cohort having numeric scores, and half having only Pass/Fail results. In addition, this provides stakeholders appropriate notice to prepare for the transition. USMLE has reported that their “Step 1” exam, which is often compared to COMLEX-USA Level 1, will make the change to Pass/Fail reporting as early as January 2022, which is the start of their test cycle. Historically, students at some MD-granting schools and international graduates take Step 1 of USMLE earlier in the calendar year than DO students begin taking COMLEX-USA Level 1, who do not start taking Level 1 until May.

Will candidates or COMs get additional information on candidate performance as part of the COMLEX-USA Level 1 score reports after May 1, 2022?

It is anticipated that comprehensive score reports provided to candidates and available to schools for COMLEX-USA Level 1 examinations taken on or after May 1, 2022 will still include individual candidate performance profiles as they currently do. These demonstrate individual areas of strength and weakness within the examination blueprint for the benefit of continuous professional development, and, when relevant, to use as part of remediation and to enhance potential for success. These reports will likely continue to be generated for candidates and available to COM deans in their secure NBOME Portal accounts. However, it is anticipated that this information will NOT be reported in examination transcripts provided for residency program applications in ERAS or to state medical and osteopathic medical licensing boards. Particulars and logistics of the new score reporting construct for candidates as well and schools and other secondary users will be made available by July 2021.

Will score reports for COMLEX-USA Level 1 examinations administered prior to this transition look any different?

No. If you take/took your COMLEX-USA Level 1 examination on or prior to April 30, 2022, NBOME will continue to report numeric scores AND pass/fail result. Your numeric score will remain on your COMLEX-USA transcript and will be reported in ERAS and to state licensing boards as such. It will not change or update with this transition. Reports for Level 1 examinations starting May 1, 2022 will no longer report numeric scores.



See All

You may also like

NRMP Medicine Specialty Matching Program Largest in History

January 20, 2021
Match 2021 is off to a great start! This year’s NRMP Medicine Specialty Matching Program (MSMP) was the largest in...

National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners Announces 2020 Item Writer and Case Author Award Winners

January 8, 2021
The NBOME is pleased to recognize the 2020 Item Writer and Case Author of the Year award winners from its...

National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners Announces National Faculty Leadership Transition

January 7, 2021
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Board Chair Geraldine T. O’Shea, DO, and the staff of the National Board of...
Examination Calendar

The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides competency assessments for osteopathic medical licensure and related health care professions, is proud to announce the installation of its newest members of the NBOME Board of Directors. Brian A. Kessler, DO; Brookshield Laurent, DO; Tracy O. Middleton, DO; and Michael F. Oliverio, DO, were elected at the annual NBOME Board Meeting (virtual) held in December, 2020.

PHILADELPHIA, PA. The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides competency assessments for osteopathic medical licensure and related health care professions, is proud to announce the installation of its newest members of the NBOME Board of Directors. Brian A. Kessler, DO; Brookshield Laurent, DO; Tracy O. Middleton, DO; and Michael F. Oliverio, DO, were elected at the annual NBOME Board Meeting (virtual) held in December, 2020.

NBOME board members are carefully chosen based on expertise and experience in clinical disciplines, medical education and assessment, and medical or regulatory administrative experience reflective of the needs of the public.

“During the COVID-era, we are thrilled to be able to welcome four new members to our board to help lead the way to a better future in osteopathic medicine,” John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd, President & CEO shared, “As it is our mission to protect the public, we cannot do so without the guidance and perseverance of our dedicated board of directors.”

“It is with great honor that I welcome our newest board members—and such a warming sight to see more women standing with us,” said Geraldine T. O’Shea, DO, Board Chair, “It is important now more than ever to join hands in our fight against COVID-19 in protecting the public.”

Brian A. Kessler DO, FACOFP, Harrogate, Tennessee

Dr. Brian Kessler serves as the Vice President, Dean, and Chief Academic Officer of Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) in Harrogate and Knoxville, Tennessee. LMU-DCOM has a mission to serve rural and underserved communities. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide health care in the often-underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. Dr. Kessler was nominated to the NBOME Board of Directors by the AACOM.

Dr. Kessler is a graduate of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pennsylvania. After completing a traditional rotating internship in Pennsylvania and an Osteopathic Family Medicine Residency at Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital, he practiced with both the Cleveland Clinic and the University Hospitals of Cleveland. It was then that he joined Campbell University to pursue a career in academic medicine.

He served previously as the inaugural Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs at Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine in Buies Creek, North Carolina. He is the former Chief Academic Officer and Director of Medical Education at Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Kessler is an AOA Health Policy Fellow, an Academic Leadership Fellow, and a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. He currently serves as a commissioner on the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. He is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, the Tennessee Osteopathic Medical Association, and member and governor of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. He serves as a state delegate to both the AOA House of Delegates and the ACOFP Congress of Delegates.

Brookshield Laurent DO, Jonesboro, Arkansas

Dr. Brookshield Laurent is the chairwoman and associate professor for the department of Clinical Medicine at NYIT-College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. She is also the Executive Director for the Delta Population Health Institute, the community engagement arm for NYITCOM at Arkansas State University.

Dr. Laurent earned her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Rowan-School of Osteopathic Medicine and completed specialty training in Family Medicine at Christiana Care in Newark, Delaware. Dr. Laurent is a fellow of the AACOM Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship. Dr. Laurent is also a fellow of the Physician Leadership Institute through the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

During Dr. Laurent’s tenure at NYITCOM, she has served as course director for foundational medical and clinical skills courses. Dr. Laurent was appointed as an associate faculty for the NYIT- Center for Global Health, teaching and providing students opportunities to engage in global health research, policy, and practice. Dr. Laurent’s work in global health led to her appointment as chair for the Peredo Hospital Health Advisory Board for a rural health care organization in Haiti.

Dr. Laurent was appointed as director for the NYITCOM Population Health Certificate Program, which was established to prepare rising physicians to become leaders in community health. She has further developed the program to equip student physicians to address social determinants of health and gain competencies in U.S. and global health policy, health advocacy, and rural health.

Tracy O. Middleton DO, FACOFP, Glendale, Arizona

Dr. Tracy Middleton is an educator, mentor and leader in osteopathic family medicine. She is board certified in Family Medicine and osteopathic manipulative medicine, with experience in private practice, as a residency attending physician, and as an academic physician. As Chair and Clinical Professor of Osteopathic Community and Family Medicine at Midwestern University, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, she is devoted to the enhancement of osteopathic medical education, curricular reform and developing new learning experiences, and enjoys mentoring students and faculty.

Dr. Middleton is a 1988 graduate of Oklahoma State University-College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her family medicine residency at Flint Osteopathic Hospital in Flint, Michigan. She is a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP), was recipient of the ACOFP Fellows Most Outstanding Scientific Paper Award, and is a regular chapter author for the 5-Minute Clinical Consult. As a NBOME National Faculty member, she has been an item writer since 1999, participated on several committees, served as the Chair of the NBOME COMAT Family Medicine Examination Committee and as Chair of the COMAT Advisory Committee. Dr. Middleton is on the board of directors for the Arizona chapters of both the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians. She is a prior recipient of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association (AOMA) Outstanding Mentor Award, the AOMA Physician of the Year Award, the ACOFP Educator of the Year Award, the AzACOFP President’s Award, and has been named to the American Osteopathic Mentor Hall of Fame.

Michael F. Oliverio DO, North Bellmore, New York

Dr. Michael F. Oliverio is a solo practice Osteopathic Physician delivering Osteopathic Manipulation and primary care service to his patients on Long Island, New York since 2003.

Dr. Oliverio earned his D.O. degree from NYITCOM in 1997 after completing a 1 year undergraduate fellowship in OMM. He served his rotating internship and family practice residency at Long Beach Medical Center, earning both Intern of the Year and the Directors’ Award for Osteopathic Excellence.

A former Assistant Professor in OMM at NYITCOM, Dr. Oliverio has lectured on the state and national level on various topics relating to OMT in primary care. At the state level, he has worked as Executive Director for the New York State Chapter of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) from 2015-2020. Nationally, he has served the American Osteopathic Board of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine from 2014 to 2019 including 2 years as Vice Chair.

His service to NBOME began in 2001 as an exam reviewer / item writer and he has served as National Faculty Chair for COMLEX-USA Level 3 since 2013.


See All

You may also like

NRMP Medicine Specialty Matching Program Largest in History

January 20, 2021
Match 2021 is off to a great start! This year’s NRMP Medicine Specialty Matching Program (MSMP) was the largest in...

National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners Announces 2020 Item Writer and Case Author Award Winners

January 8, 2021
The NBOME is pleased to recognize the 2020 Item Writer and Case Author of the Year award winners from its...

National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners Announces National Faculty Leadership Transition

January 7, 2021
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Board Chair Geraldine T. O’Shea, DO, and the staff of the National Board of...
NBOME Resident Ambassador, Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, was selected to be a fellow in the Grey’s Anatomy Surgical Communications Fellowship that took place over the summer. We had the chance to sit down with her to briefly discuss her accomplishments and talk more about her own unique Road to DO licensure.

NBOME Resident Ambassador, Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, was selected to be a fellow in the Grey’s Anatomy Surgical Communications Fellowship that took place over the summer. We had the chance to sit down with her to briefly discuss her accomplishments and talk more about her own unique Road to DO licensure.


What inspired you to become a physician? And what drew you to become a DO, specifically?

Growing up, I participated in medical mission trips with my family, and because of that, I was drawn to the field of healthcare—particularly nutrition and other adjunctive healthcare practices. While at Florida State, I learned about the field of public health, and realized that was ultimately what I wanted to be involved in. I also learned about osteopathic medicine and its focus on preventative healthcare during the same timeframe.

Since preventative healthcare was something I wanted to pursue, I specifically applied to DO schools around the country as well as to schools that were close to a law school or also had a public health program because I knew that I wanted to be in public health and use my physician background in that role.

The tenets of osteopathic medicine align well with public health because population health and good public health have a lot to do with preventative health. So, the idea that osteopathic medicine had always been focused on that and is a big part of COM culture and their curricula was attractive to me. I wanted to be able to explore nutrition, lifestyle, and all of those things that contribute to a person’s overall health—not just someone who’s sick, but the person’s whole self. I believe that everything from culture to community is part of osteopathic medicine.

There is so much about being a DO that is special and unique. We often hear the phrase ‘osteopathic distinctiveness’ used across the profession. What does that phrase mean to you, personally?

A lot of answers to our health problems lie in the tenets of osteopathic medicine. We’re dealing with so many health issues—from the opiate crisis to burnout and mental illness. Osteopathic medicine is more than a reaction to those needs of the day. It speaks to all of those areas and it always has because it looks at the whole person.

Thinking back to COMLEX-USA, would you have done anything differently, taken a different approach to studying, or focused less on certain things, more on others? What advice do you have for the COM students coming after you?

For me, I took my COMLEX-USA Level 1 exam during my first semester of law school, and that was one of the hardest times of my entire life—trying to balance my first semester of law school and studying for my first level of COMLEX-USA. I would have certainly changed the timing of that. I think it’s important to make time to study for these exams, and I would have started studying for them a lot earlier. I think there were people in my class that had Board study books in the first semester of medical school that they were referring to with every class they took. If we were studying different diseases or pathologies, they were already referring to their Board study books, where I was just focusing on the class materials. Osteopathic medical schools are meant to prepare you to be a good physician and not someone who is just good at taking tests, but I think that’s something that is a good idea to incorporate into your studying so that you’re aware of both.

What made you choose to specialize in general surgery?

I was drawn to surgery for the same reasons I was drawn to medicine as a career. I grew up doing medical missions and saw the disparities surrounding underserved populations. Surgeons are not only able to impact a community with medical care, but with surgical care as well. I’ve felt that this has prepared me to best serve broadly underserved populations.

We know there is a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety tied to this journey. How did you manage the stress? What worked best for you?

I think that mental health is something that is easy to lose sight of, especially when you’re going a million miles an hour. I learned that you have to take time to reconnect with who you are, and I’d actually schedule time to do so before I felt burnt out and it became an issue. I learned through different experiences that when you’re doing things that energize you and that you’re passionate about, you get more energy and that mental space to devote yourself to other things. I was involved in a lot of things that I was passionate about, and that gave me the motivation to do well in school because to be involved in clubs at my particular university, you had to have a certain GPA. Because of that, I wanted to keep all of my grades up so I could continue to be involved because I loved it.

I also think it is ideal for people to see a counselor and incorporate healthy practices for mental health proactively. Eventually I realized how large an issue this is, and saw compelling research that the COSGP did a couple years ago which showed staggering numbers of medical students that were actually planning to commit suicide—not just had thought about it, but were actually planning on doing it. With that in mind, I think it’s a really big deal to proactively take care of mental health.

What motivated you to apply for the Grey’s Anatomy fellowship?

Passion—this opportunity enabled me to connect my masters of public health and my interest in media together. I’ve enjoyed conducting research on many topics over the years, and the studies I’m involved in have the potential to be read by other doctors. Also, the general public also gets much of their health information from the media. Grey’s Anatomy prides itself on increasingly aiming to be medically accurate, and I’m excited to be a part of that!

What experiences led you to stand out and be offered the Grey’s Anatomy Fellowship?

Passion—this opportunity enabled me to connect my masters of public health and my interest in media together. I’ve enjoyed conducting research on many topics over the years, and the studies I’m involved in have the potential to be read by other doctors. Also, the general public also gets much of their health information from the media. Grey’s Anatomy prides itself on increasingly aiming to be medically accurate, and I’m excited to be a part of that!

How did your Grey’s Anatomy Fellowship go?

It went really well! I learned a lot, and I got to work with talented people who were very welcoming. I learned how much goes into this—things no one would typically know unless they’re there. And it was amazing to see the commitment they have on set in making sure that everything is medically accurate and tells stories that are important. All the medical issues depicted on the show have actually happened; it won’t be added to the show unless there is a case report. There are a lot of medical consultants for the show and I was able to talk to them about their experiences. Of course, the show has the weirdest, craziest, and the rarest things that are exciting and interesting to know about, but they’re still real.


See All

You may also like

Stories from the Road: From ESL student to DO - Interview with Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III

March 31, 2021
Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III, was recently appointed to the Special Commission for Osteopathic Medical Licensure...

Stories from the Road: The Trailblazer Who Never Gave Up - Interview with Sabri Zooper, OMS-III

February 11, 2021
Sabri Zooper is certainly someone you want to know—an osteopathic medical student at Texas College of Osteopathic...

Stories from the Road: A Change of Heart, But Not of Spirit - Interview with Alin Gragossian, DO

October 28, 2020
You might be familiar with Alin Gragossian, DO, from her blog, A Change of Heart, which provides insight into her...
Twelve lucky winners will receive a FREE COMSAE! Please read the official rules for terms and conditions. Submission Period: December 1, 2020 – December 12, 2020 at 12:00am EST.

Twelve lucky winners will receive a FREE COMSAE!

How to Enter:

  1. Access our post here: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK
  2. Comment on the post and share some of your best tips and tricks to managing your wellness while preparing for COMLEX-USA.

Official Rules and Fine Print

  1. Submission Period: December 1, 2020 – December 12, 2020 at 12:00am EST.
  2. Submitted photos or text must be original. You hereby warrant and represent that (a) you own all rights to all Entry Materials submitted by you; and (b) all such Entry Materials are original works of authorship on your part and have not been copied, in whole or in part, from any other work and do not violate, misappropriate or infringe any copyright, trademark or other proprietary right of any other person or entity. You hereby verify that you will provide full written permission of any recognizable person, and their guardian if they are a minor, who are depicted in your Entry Materials.
  3. 12 winners will be randomly selected on December 14th and PM’d by NBOME for additional information through messenger. Please note you will need to accept the message request if you have not messaged with us before.
  4. Winners must respond within 24 hours to remain eligible, otherwise a replacement winner will be selected.
  5. Quotes from the comments may be utilized for future RTDOL social media posts by the NBOME. By responding to the giveaway, you also give us permission to use your suggestions in our campaign.
  6. The awarded COMSAE is non-transferable.
Forms

Name Change Form

Third Party Transcript Request Form

Rescheduling Fee Waiver

Instructions to Request Test Accommodations

Request Accommodation

Scoring & Reporting

After completing an exam, candidates will receive a Score Report and Performance Profile which provides a numerical standard score for the total test and a graphic presentation for performance on three groups of content areas.

Score Report

The COMSAE report consists of a three-digit numerical score for the total test and a graphic representation of performance by content area. COMSAE does not involve a numerical minimum passing score. Instead, based on standard scores, it provides the following three suggested performance levels:

Standard ScorePerformance Level
lower than 400Lower Performance
400 - 649Average Performance
higher than 649Higher Performance

When using the performance profile to assess strengths and weaknesses, examinees should be aware that information provided in content areas consisting of relatively few questions may be less reliable than information provided in content areas with a larger number of questions. Therefore, it is possible that some subtest score patterns are not precisely aligned with a candidate’s numerical score for the total test. COMSAE should not be used to predict performance on the COMLEX-USA cognitive examinations.

You might be familiar with Alin Gragossian, DO, from her blog, A Change of Heart, which provides insight into her experience as an ICU-fellow-on-call turned ICU-survivor.

Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Dr. Gragossian is a 2016 graduate of Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. From there, she accepted a residency in Emergency Medicine at Drexel Hahnemann in Philadelphia, which was interrupted when she was hospitalized and received an emergency heart transplant in the middle of her third year of residency.

NBOME sat down with Alin to talk about her extraordinary Road to DO Licensure and how she persevered to reach her goals.

 

Let’s start at the very beginning. What first inspired you to become a physician and why did you choose to become a DO specifically?

I can’t tell you of a specific event that inspired me, and I don’t have anyone in my family who is a doctor.  When I was five, a neighbor got hurt on our street and there were a bunch of ambulances. My parents said I was very interested in what was happening. Maybe, subconsciously, my drive to become a doctor came from that experience.

I started volunteering in the ER in high school and I found myself wanting to go there all the time.  I continued volunteering there throughout college, going on to become an EMT and shadowing the same physician. I was driven to do everything in that field.

As to why I chose to become a DO—osteopathic medicine stood out to me because of the way DOs approach the patient. They don’t just look at one part or one system, they look at the patient as a whole. I was intrigued by that as a basic principle.

 

Do you think the osteopathic approach helps a lot in the ER?

When it comes to the more chronic things like back pain, foot pain, or knee pain that have been going on for a while, or patients with chronic conditions, you definitely look at it from a more osteopathic approach. Having that background knowledge absolutely helps

 

There is so much about being a DO that is special and unique. We often hear the phrase ‘osteopathic distinctiveness’ used across the profession. What does that phrase mean to you, personally?

I’m not an MD—it’s not that MDs are no good—it’s just that I went to school to become a DO and that’s my distinction. I’m part of a minority of physicians that went through a special kind of training to learn more about the osteopathic approach to medicine. I’m very proud of being a DO and if the credentials on my badge are mistakenly printed with MD after my name, I will specifically call to get it changed because I really like showing that I’m a DO.

 

Thinking back to your COMLEX-USA Level 1 and 2 prep, what was your approach to studying? 

I took COMLEX-USA Level 1 after my first two years of medical school. We actually had a one month break to take the exam. I would wake up and literally study from 8am until 8pm—I even made a calendar for myself. I would do one topic in the morning, followed by questions in the afternoon.

For COMLEX-USA Level 2-CE and 2-PE, I took them after my third year during rotations and we didn’t have a break to study. Yet, at the same time, that test was more on clinical application, which we did a lot of during practice. It was a lot easier to remember that than the basic science. I would go to my rotation in the morning and in the afternoon, I would dedicate time to studying certain topics and then do questions at night. I definitely had a set way of studying and always allocated a time of day to do it.

 

What advice do you have for students preparing to take COMLEX-USA now?

Just answering questions—do as many question banks as you can possibly get your hands on. It’s not so much about getting the question right—it’s more about learning from what you got wrong by reading the answer and retaining what it was.

 

How would you advise DO students considering residency programs that might not be as familiar with COMLEX-USA?

Talk to somebody in the program, like the program coordinator, about the process.  And if you’re unsure whether or not they are familiar with COMLEX-USA—ask!  And if they don’t accept COMLEX-USA, find out why. Maybe it’s because they’ve never had a DO student before. Maybe it’s because they aren’t sure how it works. For the most part, most programs do accept DO students. There are probably some that historically haven’t, but in the future, everything should be more balanced.

For most of the emergency medicine programs I applied to, I already knew somebody in the program through an emergency medicine interest group at my COM. The program I ended up going to—which was Drexel—even had a resident who was an alumni from LMU-DCOM. Check out the various specialty interest groups at your school, see if there is anyone in a program you are interested in, and ask them for advice.

 

In your 3rd year of residency, you received a heart transplant, how did you pick up where you left off?

I was in the middle of my third year of residency and had just matched into my ICU fellowship. A few weeks later, I got very, very sick. It was so sudden when I went into cardiac arrest and needed a heart transplant. So, instead of starting an ICU fellowship, I became an ICU patient. I went back with 6 months left of residency only to find out that Drexel was shutting down the whole hospital. So not only did I have to work through my health condition, but I also had to find a new program.

During the five months I was recovering, I continued to do board review questions so I wouldn’t forget emergency medicine. Then I found a new program at UPMC Pinnacle in Harrisburg, PA.  Initially, I couldn’t see patients face-to-face because I was still immunosuppressed. I did mini shifts and then finally started seeing patients in October of 2019. The first couple of days were awkward, but muscle memory kicked in and I remembered everything pretty quickly.

I obviously didn’t know I was ever going to need a heart transplant—I’m 30 years old and completely healthy. But I was lucky to be in a residency program that was truly supportive. Faculty, attendings and co-residents were always there for me in case I didn’t feel comfortable or if I needed help.

 

As an ICU-survivor, but also as an ICU-fellow-on-call, you must have experienced some unexpected challenges. Tell me a little about what you’ve overcome to get to where you are on your Road to DO Licensure.

As acute care physicians, there’s always a lot of craziness around us—there could be a code, a trauma, and a stroke all at the same time and you have to know how to stay calm. You can’t just sit there and panic. I don’t know if I was always like this or if emergency medicine shaped me into who I am, but having the ability to stay calm is essential. That’s also what helped me get through my heart transplant. As scary as it was—as annoying, as angry, and as sad as I was—I had to just take it, deal with it, and show people that you can go back to living like you normally would.

 

We know there is already a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety tied to this journey—how did you manage all of it? What worked for you?

You have to have balance. Recently I found out I had been put on the schedule for multiple days in a row without realizing I had two 24s that week and no day off. Speaking up about that is important. I could have been fine that whole week without the day off, but I said something about it and told them, ‘this has been a crazy week for me.’ It ended up just being a mistake. Speaking up when you feel overwhelmed, making time for yourself, and having an outlet is very important.

I personally like to write. That’s just my way of dealing with things. Different people like to do different things—some of my colleagues write music, some of them like to draw, and one of my co-residents even makes videos and has channeled it into doing things related to COVID-19.  Find the thing that makes you happy, know when you feel overwhelmed, and be able to speak up.

 

You just moved to New York City to start the latest chapter of your life. Tell me a little about the Critical Care fellowship you’re currently doing.

I’m doing a critical care fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. It’s a medicine and surgical-focused two-year multidisciplinary fellowship. We rotate through all of the ICUs throughout the Mount Sinai Hospital system—neuro ICU, transplant ICU, surgical ICU, and medical ICU. At the end, we take the critical care boards. It’s similar to doing a home critical care fellowship, just without the pulmonary part. Most of my peers are all medicine trained—there are a few of us who are emergency medicine trained too so it’s interesting to have a good mix of people around me.

 

What’s next after this? What are you looking forward to the most?

After my fellowship, it would be awesome to stay on the east coast (because it stole my heart, quite literally). I would love to have a job where I do both ER and ICU because I’ll be boarded in both. I want to stay in academics and work with residents, teaching medical students what I know, learned, and experienced.

 

Based on your hands-on experiences, what advice do you have for those who are coming after you?

Don’t let anything stop you. There is going to be a lot that challenges your way of thinking and challenges you personally. There are going to be things that happen to you that you wouldn’t ever think would happen to you. There will be people who tell you that you’re not going to make it, and things that happen that will make you question whether or not you should be doing this. But, at the end of the day, if you really want to do it, don’t let anything stop you.

Feeling inspired by Dr. Gragossian’s story? Become an organ donor and advocate for others to become donors too. There are many myths around organ donation, and it’s important to realize how unfortunate circumstances can breathe new life into someone else who is in need.


See All

You may also like

Stories from the Road: From ESL student to DO - Interview with Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III

March 31, 2021
Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III, was recently appointed to the Special Commission for Osteopathic Medical Licensure...

Stories from the Road: The Trailblazer Who Never Gave Up - Interview with Sabri Zooper, OMS-III

February 11, 2021
Sabri Zooper is certainly someone you want to know—an osteopathic medical student at Texas College of Osteopathic...

Stories from the Road: Interview with Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, On Her Fellowship with Grey’s Anatomy

December 11, 2020
NBOME Resident Ambassador, Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, was selected to be a fellow in the Grey’s Anatomy...
At this point, you’ve researched residency programs until you can’t see straight and are figuring out where to apply, which is never easy. To share some helpful advice we sat down with Carisa Champion, DO, MPH, JD, who opened up about the strategies and game plan she used while applying to residency. Read about what worked for Dr. Champion to see if it will work for you before hitting ‘Submit’ on your residency applications.

At this point, you’ve researched residency programs until you can’t see straight and are figuring out where to apply, which is never easy. To share some helpful advice we sat down with Carisa Champion, DO, MPH, JD, who opened up about the strategies and game plan she used while applying to residency. Read about what worked for Dr. Champion to see if it will work for you before hitting ‘Submit’ on your residency applications.

Dr. Champion is currently in the midst of completing her Grey’s Anatomy Surgical Communications Fellowship, and is completing her 4th year as a general surgery resident at the University Of Florida College Of Medicine at Jacksonville, Florida. Before beginning her residency in Florida, she did her first two years in General Surgery in Pennsylvania prior to the program’s closure. Dr. Champion is a graduate of the Nova Southeastern University Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, earning her DO, MPH and JD degrees in 2016. As a former member of the American Osteopathic Association’s Bureau of Emerging Leaders (BEL), Dr. Champion currently serves as a BEL Committee Chair. She is also an active member of the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association (FOMA), working to attract residents to serve on FOMA committees.

The Road to DO Licensure has so many twists and turns and unexpected challenges. Talk to me a little about some of the more major challenges you’ve experienced and have been forced to tackle.

When my original residency program closed, I went from a program that was entirely osteopathic to a completely different world in a large academic Level 1 trauma center. My program has DOs, but there are still programs out there that won’t accept the COMLEX-USA exam, and that can prevent many DO students from applying to them. That’s something that I’ve been working against since I was a student. Any time I learned about a residency program that did not accept COMLEX-USA for DO applicants, I would contact the AOA or the NBOME and ask them to reach out to the program. Personally, I refused to take the USMLE examination. For me, it was important that I had chosen osteopathic medicine from the start, and I only wanted to go to programs that were going to accept my osteopathic credentials and not because of what exam I took. Ultimately, you need to decide what your priorities are and what is most important to you.

How would you advise DO students considering residency programs that might not be as familiar or accept COMLEX-USA scores?

I think that it depends on what you’re applying for because there are still some specialties that are difficult about accepting COMLEX-USA. When I come across those programs, I try and broker the relationship to show them that COMLEX-USA exists because we are a distinct profession and need to be evaluated as such. And I think that’s something that’s special that we bring to our programs—we DOs bring a special culture and background with us, and it benefits the programs to take DOs. I think that our heritage is something that is beneficial to patients and I think it’s something that DO students should be proud of and not something that they should try to hide.

What are some tips you would give DO students who are preparing to apply to residency?

I always tell students to figure out what their priorities are because it’s different for everyone. If your priorities are specialty, location, strong community, emphasis on research, or a community that values mental health, those are all things that you need to look at and apply to programs with those priorities in mind. Honor your priorities because it’s a big decision, and you’re going to spend a lot of your life in that place. It’s really beneficial when you choose the places you want to interview at so you can make sure they’re places that will have your priorities in mind. Make sure it’s a good fit for the program and a good fit for you. I think it’s so important that you rank places in the order of where you think you fit in well. I didn’t even rank places if I felt I’d be miserable there. Why would I want to spend five to six years of my life miserable when I could be somewhere I feel like I’m a good fit?

There is a perception that applying to residency has gotten so much more competitive—many students are applying to more and more programs every year. How many programs did you apply to and interview at? And how did you land where you are today?

My priority was to only apply to osteopathic residencies, and at the time, I think there were only about 20-30 surgical residencies that were osteopathic. It goes back to what I said about considering your priorities. A lot of it comes down to doing the best you can in your COMLEX-USA exams, getting good letters of recommendation, and volunteering for causes that you really care about.

Be authentic in the things that you’re passionate about—in the things you choose to pursue. I was really involved in medical school, and it wasn’t because I wanted titles or recognition. I was really passionate about a lot of things, and because I was passionate about them, I was able to be more effective. An unintended consequence was that I had a much better application because I went really far with the things I was passionate about. I had the energy to do that—it wasn’t just an obligation—I was excited about the opportunities it brought me. Do things that you’re passionate about, let your application reflect who you truly are. I think everything works out the way it needs to in that way, if you’re genuinely honoring who you are.

What skills did you bring to the table during your interview that made you stand out as an applicant?

In osteopathic medicine, we have a culture of attracting people to our profession who have grit, have had unique life experiences, and have an intentionality about them. There’s just a culture in our profession that is different—one that I recognized as healthy and part of why I chose osteopathic medicine. When I interviewed for residency, there was something about my interest in being involved, my interest in preventative benefits, and my genuine passion for healthcare that my program recognized and felt would be a good fit. I’ve been part of the profession now for 14 years, and our profession is still working to find the right words we can all agree on to define osteopathic distinctiveness. While it’s hard to define, it’s definitely there.


Applying to Residency | Match Resources

You may also like

Applying to Residency: Ranking Programs – Where Am I A Good Fit? Interview with Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III

February 22, 2021
Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring...

Match Rank Order Deadline Approaches - How to Counter Your Doubts

February 19, 2021
As time approaches for the rank order deadline and the match, it is not unusual for students to experience anxiety...

Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship

February 16, 2021
Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship. Despite the year that 2020 was, we are proud...
The 2021 NRMP Main Match is open. But now what? There are thousands of programs with spots available in this upcoming match cycle, but that doesn’t mean you need to apply to all of them. We spoke with Breanne Jaqua, DO, MPH, Eleanora Yeiser, DO, and Ronak Mistry, DO, about what advice they have for students taking their next big step on their Road to DO Licensure – finding the residency program that feels right for them. Find out what worked for them, what didn’t, and what they wish they did differently.

The 2021 NRMP Main Match is open. But now what? There are thousands of programs with spots available in this upcoming match cycle, but that doesn’t mean you need to apply to all of them. We spoke with Breanne Jaqua, DO, MPH, Eleanora Yeiser, DO, and Ronak Mistry, DO, about what advice they have for students taking their next big step on their Road to DO Licensure – finding the residency program that feels right for them. Find out what worked for them, what didn’t, and what they wish they did differently.

Breanne Jaqua, DO, MPH

Dr. Jaqua recently completed a residency in Emergency Medicine at the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, OH and is now an Assistant Professor at the A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. She currently serves as the 2019-2021 Resident Representative to the ACGME’s Emergency Medicine Review Committee and the 2020-2021 Vice Chair to the ACGME’s Council of Review Committee Residents. She is also on the Board of the Emergency Medicine Residents Association (EMRA).

Eleanora Yeiser, DO

Dr. Yeiser is currently a PGY-3 family medicine resident at Main Line Health in Bryn Mawr, PA. She currently serves as a NBOME Resident Ambassador, and works to advocate for DO students and their credentials. Her professional involvements include reviewing articles for the Osteopathic Family Physician Journal. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association Committee on Professional Guidance (East Region) and serves on her resident wellness and diversity committees. After residency, she will be relocating to northern New Jersey to practice outpatient family medicine.

Ronak Mistry, DO

Dr. Mistry is currently Chief Resident at Pennsylvania Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Health System/Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. He started there as an internal medicine resident in 2017, and is currently applying for fellowships in hematology-oncology for the 2021 Match cycle.

Researching Programs

Making the decision about what residency programs to apply to is probably one of the biggest decisions you make in your career. How did you approach researching programs?

EY: I started with the non-negotiables, which, for me, was location. With residency comes a new set of stressors and demands. For the sake of my well-being, it was essential to be as close as possible to my spouse, my family and my friends. Consider settings that will allow you to gain experience with a patient population that will help you meet future goals; decide what’s best for you in the long-term, but also consider the short-term.

BJ: If I were researching programs today, I would definitely use EMRA Match to learn about emergency medicine programs. This tool is amazing and serves as an alternative to residency program listings or ranking websites and allows applicants to easily filter information. For EM applicants, EMRA Match is a treasure-trove of information. I got engaged during my residency application cycle and it would have been extremely difficult for my fiancé to relocate, so I put significant emphasis on the geographic location of the program. Participating in a “second look” visit at a few of my top choice programs after the formal interview day was also very helpful. This 3-4 hour shadow experience let me observe the flow of the emergency department and experience real-time interactions among residents, faculty, nurses, and staff outside of the formal interview setting.

RM: The first decision to make is what kind of setting you see yourself training in: a large academic institution, an academic-affiliated community institution or a community hospital. Each different setting provides different opportunities, so it’s important to determine where you see yourself. The second decision is going to be location. Although I didn’t think this was as important at first, as I went through my interviews I realized that location was more important than I had initially thought. Was I okay with being somewhere rural? Was I okay with being hours away from my family and friends? Was I okay with the options to enjoy life outside of the hospital, including outdoor activities, locations for shopping and restaurants? Once I answered these questions, I used websites like FREIDA, though the American Medical Association, to help narrow my choices.

What were the most important factors to you when you were considering different programs?

EY: Size, curriculum, and fit were important considerations for me. I wanted to train at a medium sized program. I also wanted to be in a program large enough that there was enough diversity and resources, but not so large that I became lost in the crowd. At the same time, I wanted to be in a program small enough that I could get enough individual attention, personalization and mentorship in my training. It’s important to consider the type of environment you will thrive in. I wanted to train at a place that felt like a good fit for me, which is not always something you can research — it’s more about intuition.

RM: The location and the type of program were very important to me up-front. Next, I looked at the types of rotations residents did and resident outcomes — not every program is the same. Some programs put an emphasis on getting residents into fellowships, while others are geared at molding future primary care doctors. It’s important to pick a program with a track record consistent with what you see yourself doing in the future, but also with enough flexibility and guidance in the institution to help you if you change your mind. When I was at the interviews, I was most interested in culture — what was the interaction like amongst the residents, attending physicians, and fellows? This is so important because you will spend countless hours at the hospital and it’s important that you work in an environment that is supportive and collegial, where you are not afraid to ask questions and have the opportunity to grow as a physician.

I will say, it is important to acknowledge that this year is somewhat unique since interviews are virtual. Being about halfway through my own interview season, do not let this dismay you. A lot of the information that we all want to know about is objective – schedules, vacations, educational opportunities. These are the same things that we would have read about on program websites, in emails, when talking to residents in the program and in program presentations. But culture is hard to gauge virtually. The best way to assess this is attend any and all opportunities you get to interact with current house staff and askthem about culture. I think a good metric to use is to see if you are getting consistent answers about what makes that place special to train in.

Applying and Interviewing

When you created your rank order list, how did you know that the programs would be right for you?

EY: I started by knowing which programs were not the right fit—you have to trust your instincts. No program is perfect, and you can’t truly learn everything or anticipate everything that may arise; the only way to get a true sense of it is once you are actually immersed. The same way you are putting your best foot forward, programs are doing the same. I would avoid putting too much emphasis on any one program feature. This year has shown us that things can change suddenly. Additionally, your interests, desires and needs can change as well. Programs change too — they grow and evolve just as you do throughout this process. Keeping that in mind, I recommend ranking programs based on where you think you would be genuinely the happiest.

RM: At the end of the day, I realized that many of my programs were similar and that I was lucky that I saw myself being happy being at any of the places I interviewed. The culture of the program and the feeling I got when I spoke to the residents was what ultimately helped me decide the order. I am happy to say that I was totally right about that “gut instinct”, having just completed residency at my top choice program this past June, and now being a Chief Resident and Hospitalist at this program!

We know residency programs come in all shapes and sizes and in towns big and small. As you looked for the program that was right for you, what major differences did you notice between rural and urban programs? And do you think this has an impact on training in certain specialties (fewer cases, etc.)?

RM: The biggest difference in rural vs. urban programs is the diversity of patients and access to different medical interventions. I found that in rural programs, oftentimes their patients tended to be more homogenous and the medical problems could, therefore, be limited. Furthermore, access to the latest innovations in healthcare may be limited. In an urban setting, particularly in a large city, I found more diversity in patient populations and medical conditions. That being said, many rural programs, especially very large academic hospitals, have huge catchment areas, so do not be fooled by what shows up.

What advice do you have for current applicants who are interviewing? What should they keep an eye out for?

EY: Be yourself. Every place where you interview will not be the best fit for you, but you can use each interview experience to help with the next. Don’t be afraid to ask questions — you can even ask a few of the same questions at different interviews to help compare programs and build your list. Talk to the residents and staff to get a sense of the program and its culture. Ask about the program’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in different settings. How did they adapt to current and evolving circumstances? Did the residents feel safe and adequately supported?

How do you recommend applicants position their osteopathic education as a distinguishing characteristic to residency programs?

BJ: Approximately one quarter of medical students in the country are osteopathic medical students, and the interview is a great time to describe what your osteopathic medical education means to you. You can highlight school-specific initiatives you started or participated in, or emphasize unique aspects of the educational program at your school. One of many ways to emphasize your osteopathic credentials is to highlight in your personal statement or interview how your osteopathic education has shaped your journey in medicine. You may want to seek out programs that are accredited by the ACGME with Osteopathic Recognition, which signifies to prospective applicants that the program is dedicated to continuing osteopathic education in residency and/or fellowship training.


Applying to Residency | Match Resources

You may also like

Applying to Residency: Ranking Programs – Where Am I A Good Fit? Interview with Eleanora Yeiser, DO, PGY III

February 22, 2021
Match Day is approaching, and with it looming ever closer comes the next important step of the journey – figuring...

Match Rank Order Deadline Approaches - How to Counter Your Doubts

February 19, 2021
As time approaches for the rank order deadline and the match, it is not unusual for students to experience anxiety...

Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship

February 16, 2021
Applying to Residency: Interview with Ronak Mistry, DO, on Fellowship. Despite the year that 2020 was, we are proud...
The credentialing board enlisted the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners to adapt its qualifying exam to the virtual space.

CHICAGO, IL Pandemic-driven necessity has led to new innovation in medical examinations, as proven by a recent collaboration between the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME). The ABCS, a credentialing board for surgeons specializing in cosmetic medicine and surgery, needed to find a physically-distanced way to hold its annual exam, which is usually conducted in-person. By collaborating with NBOME, they built an equally rigorous board certification exam that can be virtually delivered and assessed.

The testing experts at NBOME collaborate with numerous organizations, using a breadth of cutting-edge medical credential examination processes and technologies. The NBOME analyzed what processes would be needed to realize the ABCS’s goals for the examination, including confidentiality, private interview spaces, “movement” through the exam, and secure online scoring. They then created a virtual testing center and file sharing option that could accommodate these needs and worked behind the scenes to transition examiners and candidates throughout the examination, allowing participants to focus on the work of interviewing and being interviewed. The exam thus met the high standards of the ABCS while working seamlessly for all involved.

ABCS President Dr. Wilbur Hah praised the NBOME testing administrators’ work customizing their technology to support the ABCS’s rigorous exam process. He credited the success, in part, to the collaborative relationship between the two organizations.

“Having an established relationship with NBOME allowed us to dive into the process of adapting our exam as soon as it became clear that the pandemic would require us to take a different approach,” said Dr. Hah. “Board certification is core to our mission of promoting the safe and ethical practice of cosmetic surgery, and we are pleased to continue our work without interruption.”

“We love to innovate and find collaboration with our strategic partners a great opportunity to do so,” shared Gretta A. Gross, DO, MEd, Vice President for Clinical Skills Testing. “For the ABCS, we were able to start with their in-person examination processes and develop a virtual solution around it, all while keeping their mission and goal of providing a valid examination at the forefront of the process.”

With an ever-increasing demand for cosmetic procedures that has persisted through the pandemic, American Board of Cosmetic Surgery board certification remains a critical signal to patients, proving a surgeon’s knowledge and experience. Prior to undergoing the examination process, surgeons must have a primary board certification in a surgical specialty and then complete a cosmetic surgery fellowship, including performing 300 or more cosmetic procedures. ABCS certification goes beyond training and examination: it also requires diplomates to operate only in accredited facilities, prioritize patient safety at all times, and meet strict standards for conduct.

In a time when those working in telemedicine and education struggle to translate high standards to the virtual space, the organizations were celebratory. Dr. Hah surveyed the board members who served as examiners: “Would they give the exam virtually again?” While all said they missed the camaraderie afforded by the annual in-person gathering, the answer was a resounding “yes.”

NBOME Partners with ABCS on Successful Transition to a Virtual Exam

Fantastic news to share with US-educated doctors of osteopathic medicine who are interested in practicing in Australia — The Medical Board of Australia just established a new registration pathway for DOs, recognizing the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) as a competent authority. This means that US DO graduates who have successfully completed the NBOME’s COMLEX-USA examination series since 2005, and have also completed two years of an ACGME- or AOA-accredited residency program will be qualified for provisional registration. “Registration” is the term used in numerous other countries for what we refer to as “medical licensure” in the United States.”

According to the Medical Board of Australia, until recently, doctors who had been awarded the DO degree in the United States were eligible only for limited registration in Australia. The new pathway streamlines the registration process and enables US DOs to be granted general registration after 12 months of supervised practice in Australia. In Australia, “DO USA” refers to physicians with a degree in osteopathic medicine to avoid confusion amongst patients with other types of health practitioners who hold qualifications in osteopathy.

The NBOME is the first international authority to receive competent authority for medical licensure in Australia in 15 years. The evaluation by the Medical Board of Australia included a robust and comprehensive review of the COMLEX-USA examination series, the licensure examination for DOs in the USA. COMLEX-USA Levels 1 and 2 (which includes a clinical skills evaluation) are also required by the American Osteopathic Association–Commission for Osteopathic College Accreditation (AOA-COCA) for graduation from a college of osteopathic medicine. The NBOME provided extensive documentation demonstrating adherence to quality assurance standards for validity, reliability, defensibility, and fairness to assess whether the COMLEX-USA examination program’s processes result in physicians who have the knowledge, clinical skills and professional attributes necessary to practice in the medical profession in Australia.

“Registration in Australia is all about safety to practice,” shared Dr. Anne Tonkin, Chair of the Medical Board of Australia, “We have streamlined our process and continue to welcome DO USA graduates so they can contribute to our profession and our community.”

The news was especially welcome to Nayla Boulad, DO, who submitted her application under the new pathway as soon as it was available and is eager to be able to practice osteopathic medicine in her new home in Australia. After completing her residency training in Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington this summer, Dr. Boulad relocated to Perth, Australia to be nearer to her husband’s family, “I was literally working on my application when I got this fantastic news. I cannot believe the timing, this is so great!” she shared.

Prior to the Board’s recognition of the NBOME and COMLEX-USA, Dr. Boulad was preparing to complete the standard pathway application, a process that entailed extensive requirements, including completing another residency in Australia and taking other medical licensing examinations “In a time where travel and immigration is severely curtailed due to COVID-19, Australia faces a shortage of doctors and I am happy to have the opportunity to start working to fill those gaps. I am looking forward to continuing my learning and training here with hopes to be able to share what I learn with my peers back in the US.”

NBOME President and CEO, John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd, commented on the significant achievement and milestone for US DOs, NBOME’s COMLEX-USA examination program, and (former) AOA-accredited residency programs, now accredited by the ACGME. “Australia joins all United States medical licensing boards in entrusting NBOME’s COMLEX-USA program in the medical licensing process, on the merits of the evidence and the rigor of the exam program,” said Dr. Gimpel, “This is exciting news for DOs, the osteopathic medical profession, and the patients and communities of Australia. A special thanks to the AOA, the Australian Medical Council, the Medical Board of Australia, and all across the profession in the US and Australia who collaborated for more than a decade to make this a reality.”

PHILADELPHIA, PA.  The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), an independent, not-for-profit organization who provides testing for osteopathic medical licensure, is pleased to share news that the Medical Board of Australia recently established a new pathway for osteopathic physicians to become registered to practice medicine in Australia.

Referred to as Category G UNITED STATES National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), this new pathway enables US educated DO applicants who have passed all levels of COMLEX-USA (including the Level 2-Performance Evaluation/clinical skills exam) and completed at least two years in a residency training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and/or by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to apply for provisional registration for medical practice in Australia. The evaluation by the Medical Board of Australia included a robust and comprehensive review of the COMLEX-USA examination series, including NBOME’s high standards for quality assurance in areas such as validity, reliability, defensibility and fairness. COMLEX-USA is the first international program to receive competency authority for medical licensure in 15 years.

“Australia joins all United States medical licensing boards in entrusting NBOME’s COMLEX-USA program in the medical licensing process, on the merits of the evidence and the rigor of the exam program,” said NBOME President & CEO, John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd. “This is exciting news for DOs, the osteopathic medical profession, and the patients and communities of Australia. Kudos and special thanks to everyone across the profession in the USA as well as in Australia who collaborated to make this a reality.”

 

###

About the NBOME
NBOME is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit assessment organization committed to protecting the public by providing the means to assess competencies for osteopathic medicine and related health care professions. NBOME’s COMLEX-USA examination series is a requirement for graduation from colleges of osteopathic medicine and provides the pathway to licensure for osteopathic physicians in the United States and numerous international jurisdictions.

Media Inquiries
Susan Peters, Director of Marketing and Communications
speters@nbome.org

Each year since 1991, the NBOME Board of Directors has convened its annual Liaison Committee Meeting, hosting representatives from organizations from across the continuum of osteopathic medical education and the house of medicine. The committee meets to share their experiences, ideas and concerns as they pertain to NBOME assessments as well as other challenges and opportunities facing the profession. This year’s Liaison Committee, while transitioned to a virtual and somewhat shortened format, was attended by 20 leaders from 12 different organizations, including members of the undergraduate and graduate medical education community from AACOM, AOGME, OPDA, ACGME; osteopathic medical students and residents from COSGP, SOMA, and the AOA-Bureau of Emerging Leaders; members of the licensure community from AAOE and FSMB; and professional organizations — AOA, AMA. NBOME also welcomed, for the first time ever, the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), who shared results from the 2020 Program Director Survey, including a record high 86% of ACGME residency directors requiring COMLEX-USA for DO applicants.

This year’s Liaison Committee Meeting theme, chosen even before the pandemic, was Professional identity formation across the continuum — from medical education through practice. Dr. Geraldine O’Shea chaired the meeting with support from Board Vice-Chair Richard LaBaere, DO, and NBOME President and CEO, John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd. NBOME was further represented by members of the NBOME team, including Liaison Committee Lead, Sandra Waters, MEM, Melissa Turner, MS, and Marie Fleury, DO, MBA.

Following NBOME and COMLEX-USA updates, participants engaged in a facilitated discussion focused on COMLEX-USA scoring (numeric vs. pass/fail), osteopathic distinctiveness, and strategies to advance professional identity formation for DO students, residents, and practicing physicians. Participants showed support for NBOME’s agility and innovation throughout the pandemic, including the creation of a COM Liaison Team, development of COMAT self-proctored administration options, and enhanced collaboration with Prometric to test over 14,000 displaced COMLEX-USA candidates this summer.

Historically, this process has resulted in numerous opportunities to make improvements to NBOME initiatives, products and services. These improvements have shown to help meet the evolving needs of our candidates, colleges of osteopathic medicine, the licensing community, and others who rely on what we DO. The NBOME Liaison Committee meeting enables us to continue to promote a culture of collaboration, while endeavoring to continuously improve as we serve others and remain steadfast in our mission to protect the public via high-quality, valid and reliable assessment.

COMLEX-USA Computer-Based Examination Outline
Section Questions
1 44 Morning Session: 4 Hours Total Testing Time
Questions can be answered, reviewed, and changed one section at a time. Individual sections are not timed.
2 44
Authorized 10-minute break
3 44
4 44
Authorized 40-minute lunch break
5 44 Morning Session: 4 Hours Total Testing Time
Questions can be answered, reviewed, and changed one section at a time. Individual sections are not timed.
6 44
Authorized 10-minute break
7 44
8 44
Available Examination Features

Examination Review Screen
A review page is presented for each section. This provides candidates with information about the status of the items in the current section, which includes questions completed, questions marked for further review, and questions left incomplete (i.e., no answer is given).

Advancing through Examination Subsections
Once a section is completed, the candidate cannot return to review or change any answers within that section.

Time Limitations
Although each session is 4 hours in length, the individual sections within a session are self-paced. A clock is provided to assist with time management. Warnings are given of the time remaining before the end of each 4-hour session.

Examination Visual References
Use of an “Exhibit” button may be required in order to see graphic materials related to a test question. These exhibits consist of images, videos, or audio avatars. In some cases, multiple exhibits may be used in order to answer a question.

Additional Tools
New functional features have been added, including a built-in standard calculator and lab values with reference ranges (where applicable) embedded directly into test questions. These features were made available during the COMLEX-USA 2017-18 new test cycles for each examination.

Jon Bardahl, DO, is currently training in pediatric medicine at OSF HealthCare. In the upcoming academic year starting in July 2020, Dr. Bardahl will be starting his fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at Duke University. Prior to medical school, Dr. Bardahl received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Governor’s State University and earned his osteopathic medical degree from Midwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. Throughout the years, Dr. Bardahl has been a consistent advocate for osteopathic medicine, and has been highly involved with the NBOME as a Resident Ambassador helping to spread information regarding COMLEX-USA to various student groups and stakeholder through social media.

 

You’ve almost finished your residency – we hear a fellowship is your next step, tell us about that — what made you choose hematology-oncology as a subspecialty?

I’m excited to be starting Pediatric Hematology-Oncology fellowship this July at Duke Children’s Hospital. I have been interested in cancer biology for some time, and have been lucky enough to be able to pursue it. Prior to medical school I conducted research on a protein expressed by Epstein-Barr virus and its influence when it comes to tumor development in certain cancers. While in medical school, I got involved in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation which helps raise money for childhood cancer research in exchange for participants shaving their heads. In residency I truly developed an appreciation for the field and loved the continuity with patients and their families, the pathology, the opportunity for research, and advocacy opportunities involved in the field.

 

Any advice for DO students and residents who might be thinking about completing a fellowship?

I think the biggest advice I would give any upcoming student or resident is to find a mentor and “pick” their brain. I have had so many mentors along the way that have influenced me both personally and professionally and I’m so grateful for the lessons I have learned and the advice they have given me.

 

You only took COMLEX-USA when you applied to residency – what was your thinking about that?

I’m a proud DO and fully support COMLEX-USA! I was only interested in residency programs that supported COMLEX-USA as well so the USMLE was never something I considered.

 

How would you advise DO students today in considering a specialty?

Students should try to keep an open mind when it comes to medicine. If they have a specialty they are interested in, they can identify mentors or research opportunities which may be helpful when applying to residency programs.

 

What about applying to residency?

Here are some things that I would recommend doing:

 

How would you advise DO students considering programs that might not be as familiar or accept COMLEX-USA scores?

Reach out to programs and ask them! If a program is unfamiliar you can always supply them with resources from the NBOME website or notify NBOME so they can advocate on your behalf.

 

Applying to residency has gotten so stressful – students are applying to more programs every year. How many programs did you apply to and interview at?

I applied to 20-30 programs for both residency and fellowship and I interviewed at 10-12 programs.

 

Did you do an audition rotation at your residency or fellowship program?

I did not. Audition rotations are a wonderful opportunity to learn and get a “feel” for a program, but it’s not mandatory. I have loved training at my current residency program and don’t think an audition rotation would have changed that.

What are some tips you would give DO students who are preparing to apply to residency?

These are some of the things that worked for me, and I hope they help others as well:

Were you always interested in pediatrics? When did you know that’s what you wanted to do and how did you decide that’s what you wanted to do?

Pediatrics was at the top of my list! I did consider family medicine at one point as well, but decided to pursue pediatric medicine after my 3rd year core rotation in pediatrics. I have always been interested in pathology and academic medicine, and wanted the opportunity to specialize in Hematology-Oncology to provide continuity of care by working with patients and their parents.


See All

You may also like

Stories from the Road: From ESL student to DO - Interview with Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III

March 31, 2021
Amir Khiabani, MS, OMS-III, was recently appointed to the Special Commission for Osteopathic Medical Licensure...

Stories from the Road: The Trailblazer Who Never Gave Up - Interview with Sabri Zooper, OMS-III

February 11, 2021
Sabri Zooper is certainly someone you want to know—an osteopathic medical student at Texas College of Osteopathic...

Stories from the Road: Interview with Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, On Her Fellowship with Grey’s Anatomy

December 11, 2020
NBOME Resident Ambassador, Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, was selected to be a fellow in the Grey’s Anatomy...

Xia Mao, PhD; Qiuming Zhang, MS; Andrea Clem, DO. An exploration of an integrated approach for enemy item identification. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, 2021.

Peterson, K. Inclusion and Diversity in SP Recruitment. EMS Webinar, January 2021.

Peterson, K. Defining and Utilizing Health Literacy in SP Portrayal. Live presentation delivered at the 2020 Association for Standardized Patient Educators Annual Virtual Conference, June 2020.

Xia Mao, PhD; Joel Dickerman, DO; Edward T. Tsai, PhD; Yi Wang, MS. Exploring the psychometric properties of CDM items. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, 2020.

Xia Mao, PhD. A comparison of methods for deriving composite scores for mixed-format test. Paper presented at the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) annual meeting, 2020.

John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd, President & CEO.  NBOME UPDATE FOR SOMA. Presented virtually at the 2020 OMED Conference, October 17, 2020

Hotaka Maeda, PhD, Xiaolin Wang, PhD, Stuart Barnum, MA, Mark Dawley, MBA, and Tsung-Hsun Tsai, PhD.  Score Relationship of COMLEX-USA Level 1, COMSAE Phase 1, and COMAT FBS Comprehensive Examinations. Paper presented (virtually) at the 2020 American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Annual Conference, March 2020

Browne, M, Wojnakowski M, Horber DT. Choosing Wisely: So Many Options for Assessment Administration. Which will Enhance Your Exam’s Validity and Fairness? Paper presented at the 2019 Innovations in Testing Conference, Orlando FL, March 2019.

Castaneda R, Hudson KM, Wang, X. Uncovering Hidden Response Time Patterns of COMLEX-USA Level 3 Examination. Poster presented at the 2019 American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Annual Conference, Washington, DC, April 2019.

Errichetti A. Standardizing Judgment: A Qualitative Study of How SPs Co-Construct Meaning. Presentation delivered at the 2019 Association For Standardized Patient Educators Annual Conference, Orland, FL, June 2019.

Errichetti A. Debriefing Residents with Good Judgment. Presentation delivered at New York Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Educational Consortium, New York City, NY, April 2019.

Horber DT, Waters S CATALYST: Transforming Physicians’ Assessment into Learning.  Presentation delivered the 2019 Meeting of the American Board of Medical Specialties, Chicago, IL, September 2019.

Hudson KM, Yin Y, Tsai, TH. Transitioning to Automated Test Assembly: A Comparison of Equating Methods. Paper presented at the 2019 National Council of Measurement in Education Conference, Toronto, Canada, April 2019.

Maeda H, Wang X. The effects of test familiarity on person-fit and aberrant behavior. Paper presented at the 2019 National Council of Measurement in Education Conference, Toronto, Canada, April 2019.

Mirigliani L, Lorion, A.  When Life Gets in the Way: Getting SPs out of Their Heads and into the Role.  Presentation delivered at the 2019 Association for Standardized Patient Educators Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, June 2019.

Parshall C, Julian E, Parikh S, Horber DT. Using Nudges for More Effective Exam Programs. Paper presented at the 2019 Innovations in Testing Conference, Orlando FL, March 2019.

Ronkowksi E. “Collaborative Cognitive Item Mapping” as part of Innovations in Assessment, Learning, and Improvement: Lightning Round Part 1. Presentation delivered at the 2019 Meeting of the American Board of Medical Specialties, Chicago, IL, September 2019.

Shaeffer D, Waters S.  Ensuring Ongoing Physician Competency with CATALYST.  Presentation delivered at the 2019 Meeting of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities, Chicago, IL, September 2019.

Presentation Archives
Errichetti A, Fancher S. Standardized Patient Communication Assessment in Medical and Advanced Practice Nursing Education: Two Perspectives. Podium presentation abstract submitted for 18th International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare, Los Angeles, January 13-17, 2018.
Errichetti A, Drda V, Kachur E. Using the ORID Framework to Conduct Difficult Conversations with SPs. International Meeting of Simulation in Healthcare, Los Angeles, January 13-17, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update and Item Writing Workshop. Presented to faculty and students at the University of Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine, San Antonio, TX, January 24, 2018.
Waters S. Best Practices in Testing. Presentation to the American Osteopathic Association Bureau of Osteopathic Specialties Summit, Austin, TX, January 27, 2018.
O’Shea GT and Waters S. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented at the American Association of Osteopathic Examiners Business Meeting, Austin, TX, January 27, 2018.
O’Brien K, Ronkowski E. Refereeing Your Item References. Presentation was delivered at the 2018 Association of Test Publishers (ATP), San Antonio, TX, February 2018.
Gimpel JR and Shaffer DC. NBOME Update to AOA Board of Trustees & Affiliates. Presented at the American Osteopathic Association’s Midyear Business Meeting, Fort Lauderdale, FL, February 28, 2018.
Gimpel JR and Waters S. Resources for Program Coordinators for Understanding and Using COMLEX-USA. Presented at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Annual Educational Conference, Orlando, FL, March 1, 2018.
Gimpel JR and Shaffer DC. Use of COMLEX-USA Examination Program in ACGME Programs. Presented at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Annual Educational Conference, Orlando, FL, March 3, 2018.
Gimpel JR. Assessment for Lifelong Learning in Your Medical Career: Starting with COMLEX-USA. Presented at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Becher Family Lectureship, Philadelphia, PA, March 12, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME Spring Visitation 2018. Presented to guests attending the Spring Visitation Day in Philadelphia Executive Offices, Conshohocken, PA, April 9, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s Educational Council on Osteopathic Principles Meeting in Stratford, NJ, April 13, 2018.
Flamini J, Gimpel JR and Tsai ET. Preparing for Changes to the COMLEX-USA & COMAT Examination Programs. Presented as a Pre-Conference Workshop at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC, April 17, 2018.
Roberts WL. An investigation of a rater-mediated licensing performance examination equating quality with the Rasch model. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Conference, NY, April 2018.
Horber DT, Flamini J. CATALYST: the continuous assessment platform for physician learning. Presented at the American Association of Osteopathic Medical Colleges (AACOM), Washington DC, April 18, 2018.
Shao C, Wang Y, Liu S, Tsai ET. Investigation of Differential Item Functioning on COMLEX-USA Examination Series. Poster was presented at the American Association of Osteopathic Medical Colleges (AACOM), Washington DC, April 18, 2018.
Gallagher LA. A Comparative Review of the Factors Which May Influence Residency Program Interviews & Ranking. Poster was presented at the American Association of Osteopathic Medical Colleges (AACOM), Washington DC, April 18, 2018.
Gimpel JR and Shaffer DC. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s Board of Deans in Washington, DC, April 19, 2018.
Flamini J, Gimpel JR, Shaffer DC and Tsai ET. NBOME Update Luncheon Presentation. Presented during the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC, April 20, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents during the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC, April 20, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented at the American Association of Osteopathic Examiners Business Meeting, Charlotte, NC, April 27, 2018.
Waters S. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the American College of Osteopathic Internists Trainers Congress, Chicago, IL, April 28, 2018.
Gimpel JR and Shaffer DC. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the Federation of State Medical Board Annual Meeting, Charlotte, NC, April 28, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the Organization of Program Director Association during the Council of Medical Specialty Society’s Biannual Meeting, Chicago, IL, May 11, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update and Item Writing Workshop. Presented to the faculty and students at Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine, NJ, May 18, 2018.
Lorion, A, Mirigliani L. When Grief Isn’t Simulated: SPs Dealing with Real-life Death. Presented to the Association of Standardized Patient Educators, Kansas City, MO, June 18, 2018.
Errichetti A, Drda V, Kachur E. Lank A, Lorion A. Using the ORID Framework to Conduct Difficult Conversations with SPs. International Meeting of Simulation in Healthcare, Association of Standardized Patient Educators Annual Conference. June 20, 2018.
Murphy J, Errichetti A. Training Standardized Patients in a Flipped Classroom. Association of Standardized Patient Educators Annual Conference. June 20, 2018.
Castaneda R, Zhang Q. Automated Item Generation Using Medical Diagnostic Information. Poster presentation at the International Meeting of the Psychometric Society, New York, New York, July 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the American Osteopathic Association’s Annual Board of Trustees Meeting, Chicago, IL, July 18, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the Council of Osteopathic Student Government President’s Meeting during the AOA Annual BOT Meeting, Chicago, IL, July 18, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation Meeting, Chicago, IL, August 24, 2018.
Bruel L, Errichetti A, Kachur E, Novak D, Jiraeviijinda. Linking Professionalism and Communication Skills in OCSE Stations. EACH International Association for Communication in Healthcare, University of Porto, Portugal, September 2, 2018.
Ferris M, Horber D. Examinee References and Resources: Steps toward Open-Book Testing and Innovative Item Development. Presented at the 2018 American Board of Medical Specialties Conference, Las Vegas, NV, September 2018
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update and Item Writing Workshop. Presented to faculty and students at Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, Meridian, ID, September 5, 2018.
Finley JM. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to faculty and students at Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine, Vallejo, CA, September 6, 2018.
Dickerman JL. NBOME Update. Presented to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s Educational Council on Osteopathic Principles Meeting, Biddeford, ME, September 20, 2018.
Finley JM and Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to faculty and students at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, September 20, 2018.
Finley JM. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to faculty and students at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Lebanon, OR, October 10, 2018.
Finley JM. NBOME Fall Visitation 2018. Presented to guests attending the Fall Visitation Day in the Chicago Corporate Offices and Conference Center, Chicago, IL, October 22, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update and Item Writing Workshop. Presented to faculty and students at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lynchburg, VA, October 31, 2018.
Parshall C, Horber D, Julian E. Improve Your Candidate Experience with Action Design. Presented at the 2018 Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) Exchange, Austin, TX, November 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to faculty and students at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University, November 1, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update and Item Writing Workshop. Presented to faculty and students at Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Fort Smith, AR, November 2, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update and Item Writing Workshop. Presented to faculty and students at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Georgia Campus, Suwanee, GA, November 8, 2018.
Dickerman JL and Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update and Item Writing Workshop. Presented to faculty and students at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Des Moines, IA, November 12, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update and Item Writing Workshop. Presented to faculty and students at Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, Glendale, AZ, November 13, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to faculty and students at the A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, Mesa, AZ, November 14, 2018.
Gimpel JR. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Board of Deans Retreat, Phoenix, AZ, November 15, 2018.
Finley JM. NBOME & COMLEX-USA Update. Presented to the Organization of Program Director Association during the Council of Medical Specialty Society’s Biannual Meeting, Arlington, VA, November 16, 2018.

 

NBOME is pleased to confirm the August 14, 2020 opening of the satellite testing center for administration of COMLEX Level 1 and Level 2-CE examinations at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM; East Lansing MI). This temporary testing site is expected to be open through September and testing appointments can be made by any eligible candidate on the Prometric website. The COMLEX Level 3 examination will be available at the site beginning in September 2020.

As previously communicated, the NBOME has partnered with Prometric and colleges of osteopathic medicine to provide additional capacity for COMLEX examination administrations for students who were displaced by test center closures.

Two temporary satellite testing centers were established to accommodate these needs. On July 31, a satellite testing center was opened at University of North Texas Health Science Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM) in Fort Worth, Texas. Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) in East Lansing, Michigan followed shortly thereafter, opening their satellite testing center on August 14, with the first candidate testing on August 18.

Feedback from proctors and students at these centers remains positive and we anticipate nearly 200 Level 1 and 2-CE exams to be administered at these locations. Temporary satellite testing centers continue to be open through September 30.

We have seen the urgent need for securing testing seats for displaced COMLEX Levels 1, 2-CE and 3 candidates diminish, but will continue to monitor the situation in the event conditions change.

AUGUST 14, 2020

NBOME is pleased to confirm the August 14, 2020 opening of the satellite testing center for administration of COMLEX Level 1 and Level 2-CE examinations at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM; East Lansing MI). This temporary testing site is expected to be open through September and testing appointments can be made by any eligible candidate on the Prometric website. The COMLEX Level 3 examination will be available at the site beginning in September 2020.

As previously communicated, a satellite testing center was also opened last month at University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM; Fort Worth TX) which has been providing additional capacity for COMLEX administrations. We are pleased to be able to partner with MSUCOM, TCOM and Prometric to help provide additional testing opportunities to students who were previously displaced by testing center closures.

We have seen the urgent need for securing testing seats for COMLEX Levels 1, 2-CE and 3 candidates who were displaced diminish but we will continue to monitor the need for additional satellite testing centers as and if conditions change.


JULY 31, 2020

NBOME is pleased to confirm the July 31, 2020 opening of the satellite testing center for administration of COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-CE and Level 3 examinations at University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM; Fort Worth TX). This temporary testing site is expected to be open through September and testing appointments can be made by any eligible candidate on the Prometric website.

NBOME and Prometric continue to partner with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM; East Lansing MI) for an additional satellite test center to be available in August at a date to be announced.

As previously communicated, much of the urgent need for securing testing seats for COMLEX-USA Levels 1, 2-CE and 3 candidates who were displaced due to unexpected Prometric test center closures has been met successfully. As of July 24, 2020 over 10,000 Levels 1, 2-CE and 3 examinations have been completed since the beginning of May. A total of approximately 15,000 scheduled examinations are in place through the end of December 2020.

We will keep you updated as new information becomes available about these new testing centers as well as other potential sites around the country.


JULY 13, 2020

NBOME is pleased to announce agreements in principle with (2) colleges of osteopathic medicine to develop satellite testing centers on their campuses for administration of COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2-CE and Level 3 examinations.

After extensive research and discussion, NBOME and Prometric have partnered with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM; East Lansing MI), and University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM; Fort Worth TX) on this initiative.

These sites meet the necessary requirements for test security and capacity. These university based satellite testing centers are expected to be available for student testing August through September, subject to state and local restrictions.

Much of the urgent need for securing testing seats for COMLEX-USA Level 1 and 2-CE candidates who were displaced due to unexpected Prometric test center closures has been met successfully, and though we had initially engaged other COMs for collaboration, they felt their needs had since changed. However, a limited number of satellite testing centers such as these are valuable to meet specific local needs and to provide scheduling flexibility and operating experience if future conditions dictate.

We will strive to keep you updated as new information becomes available about these new testing centers as well as other potential sites around the country.


JUNE 12, 2020

The NBOME continues to work on providing access to computer-based testing for candidates. Our current priority is on securing testing seats for COMLEX-USA Level 1 and 2-CE candidates who have been displaced due to unexpected Prometric test center closures, with a focus on increasing testing seats in June, July, and August.

We are excited to announce that we will be coordinating the opening up to four regional Prometric test centers at COMs. Our goal is for these test centers to be available for two to three months to students from COMs in surrounding areas, and we are targeting the West, Midwest, South, and East regions at this time. Site selection is based on geographical factors as well as the COM's ability to meet location, infrastructure and technical parameters, and willingness to host students from other COMs. We are actively working with four COMs, and we hope to offer testing as soon as mid to late July at one or more COM sites. We want to thank all of the COMs who have expressed support for this initiative and reached out to us about serving as potential satellite sites. We will provide updates to our website as regional sites are confirmed.

We continue to explore additional testing options, including event testing and remote proctoring. These options are being carefully evaluated based on the testing needs of COMLEX-USA candidates and the impact on security, fairness, and integrity of the examinations. We will provide another update in early July.


MAY 29, 2020

The NBOME has been exploring alternate delivery options for computer-based examinations since March 2020 and have provided regular updates to stakeholders. Our goal is to keep our stakeholders up to date without making predictions we cannot accurately substantiate. In this time of uncertainty, we hope to provide you with accurate information.

The NBOME is moving rapidly to set up regional Prometric test centers at COMs. Our goal is to partner with up to 4 regionally distributed COMs to begin testing as soon as July. We distributed a survey about the pilot requirements to all COMs on May 20th and are currently evaluating responses. Participation in the pilot requires commitment of dedicated testing space, proctor availability and network integrity to be successful. Site selection is based on geographical factors as well as the COM’s ability to meet location, infrastructure and technical parameters, and willingness to host students from other COMs. The NBOME expects to contact COMs for participation as early as next week.

We continue to evaluate all feasible short-term and long-term alternate test delivery solutions of COMLEX-USA computer-based examinations. We have made significant progress with other temporary alternate test delivery options as well, and anticipate additional updates provided publically on or around June 12th. On our website, we have made available recordings of NBOME’s webinars on the impact of COVID-19 on COMs and candidates as well as a subsequent FAQ page, both of which include information on alternate test delivery.


MAY 20, 2020

The first phase of the evaluation into alternate administration options for COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE included identifying technical and security requirements to protect the validity, reliability and fairness of the examinations. The universal hard-earned trust that state medical and osteopathic medical boards have in the COMLEX-USA licensure examination to assist with medical licensure decisions requires an extremely careful approach to maintain the program’s integrity. This first phase is underway and includes proof-of-concept testing of alternate proctoring solutions. The NBOME continues to explore several potentially viable delivery options, each with different levels of risk, but all in proctored environments, including:

  • Satellite Test Centers -- at Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (COMs) (smaller number of schools)
  • Remote Proctored Exams -- at COMs
  • Test Events at existing test centers in numerous COMs with simultaneous, web-based delivery
  • Remote Proctored Exams -- available anywhere

This week, the NBOME is surveying all COMs to identify those who can demonstrate the technical and other requirements and have the ability to participate in on-site pilot testing. The NBOME will then partner with select COMs in early June for pilot testing. After evaluating the results of those pilot tests, we anticipate implementing one or more alternate test delivery options as early as mid to late July.

We have been communicating directly with all COMs and, through our COM Liaison team, have delivered 16 detailed and customized reports to COMs. We anticipate all COMs will receive an additional report by the end of this week.

As of today, 98% of previously cancelled Level 1 and Level 2-CE appointments have been rescheduled at Prometric Test Centers, with 96% rescheduled in May through July. There is some regional variability due to government-mandated closures and social distancing policies. We sincerely apologize for this as well as several significant shortcomings with Prometric’s lagging scheduling technology and other limitations in customer support. Prometric currently has 284 sites open, and we have been encouraged to hear that 306 sites will be open by June 1. Between May 4, when NBOME examinations restarted, and this Friday, May 22, approximately 600 COMLEX-USA administrations will have been completed. Over 16,000 administrations are scheduled from June to August.

It remains important for us to move forward together in support of our students in these challenging times. The NBOME will continue to assist in any way we can to partner with you all for your assessment needs.


MAY 15, 2020

In response to COVID-19's impact on the safety and feasibility involved in taking examinations at Prometric test centers, the NBOME is actively exploring options for alternate test delivery. Delivering high-stakes examinations outside of test centers involves careful planning to mitigate risks to security, administration, and psychometrics of the examinations. The NBOME is dedicated to rapidly addressing these concerns while continuing to administer exams that are secure, fair, valid, reliable and defensible.

To ensure success, the NBOME is pursuing multiple options simultaneously, including the delivery of examinations through remote proctoring available anywhere, and administering examinations at COMs. We have connected with Prometric, other testing vendors, peer organizations such as NBME and our international colleagues, to assure that every potential solution is investigated on an unprecedented timeline. We have already started testing the feasibility of remote-proctored examination solutions. We aim to partner with COMs within the next month to evaluate options for examination administration at COMs. This multi-pronged approach will allow us to gather information that enables us to determine the best solution for our key stakeholders, including candidates, COMs, state licensing authorities, and the public.

As an organization, we are working around the clock to evaluate and potentially implement alternate test delivery options, as necessary, for both short-term and long-term needs. We plan to publish another update by May 30 with a decision on the feasibility of alternative options potentially as early as June 30, 2020.


MAY 1, 2020

Since the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality, the NBOME has accelerated our research, development and piloting of alternate test delivery options for NBOME assessments. We implemented COMAT-Self-proctored test form options for Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, with initial use in late March and widespread implementation in April.  In late March, we also launched COMSAE Phase 2 (self-assessments) on our CATALYST longitudinal assessment platform, available to DO students online.

With Prometric Test Centers closed through April, and the limited opening of Prometric Centers in areas of the country where essential services testing was permitted starting May 1, and to be best prepared in the event of any further “second wave” of pandemic activity closing test centers later in 2020 or the winter, we have continued to explore alternate test delivery options for COMLEX-USA exams, including remote proctoring at sites other than Prometric Centers. We are piloting remote proctoring with our COMSAE program in May. We do not envision the current COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE examination, which assesses fundamental clinical skills including physical exam skills and OMT, to be administered remotely or outside of NBOME’s National Centers for Clinical Skills Testing, but have a team exploring the changes that may be needed for this exam as well.

For the COMLEX-USA administration, our objective is to provide candidates the opportunity to complete their examination and demonstrate their competency for licensure as promptly and as safely as possible. As COMLEX-USA is a licensing examination, we are entrusted to ensure that any solution is not only timely, but assures the integrity of the examination program, that it remains valid for this purpose, preserving the reliability, defensibility and fairness of the examination. COMLEX-USA is entrusted in every state for medical licensure for DOs, therefore the integrity of the examination is of paramount concern. We have appreciated the overwhelming support of the colleges of osteopathic medicine and other stakeholders in sharing ideas for solutions and feedback.

In conjunction with identifying supplemental avenues for testing, we continue to listen and collaborate with organizations and individuals in the medical education and the medical regulatory community to address this disruption and its effects, both professionally and personally, for our candidates. Some solutions may involve temporary changes at colleges of osteopathic medicine and residency programs to policy and/or requirements, e.g., relaxing requirements for promotion, graduation, residency applications, or licensing decisions.

We recognize this is yet another stressor in the wake of this pandemic. We empathize with the unique circumstances of osteopathic medical students and residents, and indeed all of us in healthcare, medical education, and our world.  We will continue to provide updated communications regularly, and are committed to an update on alternate test administration options by May 30.


^