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CAFM Recommends COMLEX as part of holistic residency selection for DOs

October 13, 2022

Recognizing change leaders who work to educate and advocate for DOs and their credentials.

While the NBOME has worked with other osteopathic organizations such as AACOM and AOA to broaden our advocacy and outreach, other change leaders in medical education are showing a commitment of support for the DOs in their community. We would like to recognize the cadre of academic Family Medicine organizations who made that commitment.

Recently the Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM), comprising the Association of Departments of Family Medicine, Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors, North American Primary Care Research Group, and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, released a joint statement on residency program application recommendations which embrace parity between DO and MD candidates.

These recommendations state:

  1. Family Medicine program directors should avoid overreliance on a single examination program when selecting candidates for residency, focusing instead on a holistic review of applicants, regardless of whether they are on the allopathic or osteopathic licensing pathway.
  2. Osteopathic applicants to Family Medicine residency programs should not be required – nor made to feel like they are required – to undergo licensing examinations other than the osteopathic (COMLEX-USA) licensure exam.
  3. Residency programs and their sponsoring institutions should implement processes that fairly consider osteopathic applicants within the context of the osteopathic (COMLEX-USA) licensure process.

“Family Medicine has, historically, had one of the highest match rates for DOs. It is rewarding to see the strong relationship between osteopathic physicians and this specialty being recognized from within,” said John R. Gimpel, President and CEO of NBOME. “We know that our students will welcome this declaration of support from the leaders of graduate medical education in Family Medicine. We hope that these recommendations signal how change is being embraced at the highest levels and will encourage other specialty leadership groups to show their support for osteopathically distinctive licensing credentials.”

The NBOME engages in advocacy and education efforts with the UME and GME communities to increase awareness and acceptance of osteopathic applicants and their qualifications. We support holistic applicant review and to the extent that licensure examinations are a part of that review, COMLEX-USA is the appropriate exam to evaluate DO applicants.

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 advocacy@nbome.org or visit our Advocacy and Education page to fill out our Advocacy form.

About the NBOME:
The NBOME is an independent, non-governmental, nonprofit 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.

Renee Cree, MA
Director for Communications