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The NBOME 2023 Year in Review

For nearly 90 years, the NBOME has been committed to protecting the public by providing fair, valid, and reliable assessments for osteopathic students, residents, physicians, and other health professionals. This year, several new initiatives and successes have helped the organization maintain that focus. Here are just a few of the highlights from 2023:


NBOME Transitions to Pearson VUE to Deliver its Assessments
A project several years in the making, the NBOME transitioned the administration of its COMLEX-USA Levels 1, 2-CE, and 3, and its COMVEX exams, to Pearson VUE’s nearly 300 centers across the U.S. and Canada. The transition offers test-takers a professional, highly secure, and consistent testing experience at a larger pool of locations. This transition also led to a few changes in the way testing is administered; particularly, that COMLEX-USA Levels 1 and 2-CE could be offered on-demand, meaning candidates can choose any date within a testing window that they wish to take the exam, so long as there are available seats at testing centers. Test-takers also receive a bank of 60 minutes to use as they see fit over 3 designated breaks during the test. Learn more about the transition to Pearson VUE.


C3DO Completes its First Phase
The Core Competency Capstone for DOs was launched in response to recommendations of the Special Commission on Osteopathic Medical Licensure, which sought the creation of a COMLEX-USA national standardized assessment at the COMs that would include an in-person, hands-on evaluation of fundamental osteopathic clinical skills including interpersonal and communications skills and OMT, with quality assurance. In 2023, four COMs participated in Phase 1 to help the NBOME better understand how such a project could be feasible: Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine; Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine; Midwestern University – Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine; Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Initial analysis of the data from Phase 1 shows promising results. Phase 2 is slated to begin in January 2024. Learn the latest about C3DO.


Advocacy Efforts Accelerate
This year, five medical specialties stood up in support of COMLEX-USA and the DO distinction, proclaiming that DOs who apply to their residency programs should not be forced to take redundant licensure examinations to “remain competitive.” The programs, which are: Psychiatry, AnesthesiologyPhysical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Pediatrics, Ob/Gyn, and Emergency Medicine, also championed the use of COMLEX-USA scores for DO applicants as part of a holistic review process.


Osteopathic Medicine Gains Global Recognition
At the biennial meeting of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) in November, IAMRA gave osteopathic physicians global recognition when it approved a resolution that highlighted the equivalent competencies of U.S.-educated osteopathic physicians and MDs around the world. Learn more about that effort and similar efforts around the world.


COMAT-SE Provides a New Tool for COMAT Preparation
In November, the NBOME launched COMAT-SE (Self Evaluation), a new learning tool on the CATALYST platform, designed to assist osteopathic medical students in preparing for COMAT clinical exams. With each question, test-takers can learn the correct answer in real time, a rationale for why the answer is right or wrong, and additional references for further study. Right now, COMAT-SE is only available for COMAT Osteopathic Principles and Practice Clinical exams but is expected to expand to other subject areas in 2024. Learn more about COMAT-SE.


The NBOME Creates Mindful Language Guide for Item Writers and Reviewers
In April 2023, the NBOME unveiled the Mindful Language Guide, which includes tips for incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into NBOME test questions. It offers guidance on topics such as person-first language; addressing race, ethnicity, gender, and religion; and identifying stereotypes. The guide also provides NBOME item writers and reviewers with an evidence-based checklist to ensure item content is free of bias. In October, a version of that guide was made available to the public, to showcase the NBOME’s efforts to create test questions that are inclusive and free of bias and to offer guidance to those who wish to do the same. Learn more about the guide.


Reproductive Health Task Force Releases Recommendations
In December 2022, the NBOME established a Reproductive Health Task Force (RHTF) to determine the impact of the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling on its national examinations. Throughout 2023, the RHTF met regularly to develop guidelines that support currency, fairness, and validity in assessment examinations regarding reproductive health topics. In October 2023, the RHTF released a set of recommendations to help ensure NBOME’s assessments are standardized for all DO students, residents, and physicians, regardless of where they choose to practice. Learn more about the recommendations.


Focus on Candidate Wellness Gains National Recognition
Through initiatives such as Wellness Wednesday on social media, Candidate Wellness blogs, and the Mental Health and Wellness Toolbox, the NBOME strives to help candidates manage their mental health and break stigmas around mental illness in medicine. In 2023, the NBOME launched a new social media campaign, “How DO You Love Yourself?” where osteopathic students and residents shared their tips for self-care. The resulting 700+ comments were incorporated into the larger Wellness Wednesday campaign, which amplified that advice to the NBOME’s more than 17,700 social media followers. The success of this campaign earned the NBOME an honorable mention in the Social Media Category of the Ragan PR Daily Nonprofit Communications Awards. Learn more about the “How Do You Love Yourself?” campaign.


In addition, the NBOME partnered with more than 115 patient care and health education organizations to recognize September 17 as National Physician Suicide Awareness (NPSA) Day, the mission of which is to break down the culture of silence around physician mental health. Learn more about the partnership.


NBOME Assists in the Creation of First-Ever Certification in Diabetology

The American College of Diabetology partnered with the NBOME to deliver its first-ever certification in diabetology, to ensure high standards in diabetes expertise, care delivery, and clinical diabetes management among primary care physicians. In this partnership, the NBOME provides services including item writing and editing, test development, publishing, program management, and administration support, as well as psychometric services and recommendations to ACD to ensure the quality, reliability, and fairness of the ACD certification exams. Learn more about the partnership.


To learn more and stay informed on what’s happening at the NBOME, be sure to follow us on social and bookmark nbome.org/news and nbome.org/blogs for all the latest.