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Partnering for Progress: OHSU

How the NBOME works to educate and advocate for DOs and their credentials

The NBOME regularly works in collaboration with other osteopathic organizations to identify and address biases towards DOs and their licensing credentials. The latest example of this effective partnering was with the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

In May 2022, we learned that the website for the OHSU Department of Psychiatry’s Adult Psychiatry residency program seemed to indicate a preference for USMLE scores over COMLEX scores.

After reaching out to the program director, we quickly determined that they do indeed support DO residents and also DO applicants. The program’s website was then updated to make it clearer that the program does accept COMLEX-USA scores as part of its application process.

“We commend the leadership at OHSU for acting quickly to make this change and for supporting osteopathic candidates on their Road to DO Licensure,” said Melissa Turner, associate vice president for strategy & quality initiatives. “We also hope that we can inspire other programs to reassess their language and follow suit with clear wording that shows a support for osteopathically distinctive licensing credentials.”

Residency programs that state a preference or requirement for USMLE scores over COMLEX cause more stress and additional financial burdens for DO applicants who are trying to remain competitive. What’s more, exclusionary language can also make some DO applicants feel as though they are unwelcome in a program—even if that is not the case.

The NBOME will continue its advocacy and education efforts to help reduce biases against DOs, to help level the GME playing field for DOs, and to show what an asset DOs can be to residency program directors.

We can best do that through collaboration with student groups and other interested parties. If you are aware of any residency programs that appear to dismiss COMLEX scores as part of the application process, please reach out to us at clientservices@nbome.org.

Sometimes, all this requires is reaching out to clear up a misunderstanding or misstatement.