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RowanSOM-NBOME Partnership on Assessing Substance Use Disorders

March 22, 2022

The NBOME and Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) recently partnered to develop 30 multiple-choice questions assessing substance use disorder for the COMLEX-USA examination series. This event is part of the Expansion of Osteopathic Medicine Practitioner Education on Substance Use Disorders, a grant administered through the Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

To fulfill the grant, NBOME National Faculty members at RowanSOM, including Philip Collins, DO, Suzanna Hosein, DO, MS, Joanna Petrides, PsyD, and Alexander Kowalski, DO, met with NBOME staff for virtual item-writing workshops focused on substance use disorder. These productive sessions included individual and group item writing and review.

We recently spoke with Kowalski and Petrides about the experience.


Q: Why do you think substance use is critical to assess in COMLEX-USA?

A Joanna Petrides (JP): Substance use has traditionally been a touchy topic in the medical setting with either the provider being uncomfortable bringing it up, the patient being uncomfortable, or both. As more evidence presents in addressing the needs of patients seeking support towards sobriety, it is obvious that a strong source of support comes from the relationships patients have with their healthcare providers.


Q: Why did you want to partner with the NBOME on this grant?

A (JP): We wanted to incorporate item writing as part of our grant work because we knew substance use is and will continue to be a focus in providing effective primary care to patients, and assessing learner knowledge is important to being clinically effective with patients. Partnering with NBOME was a great step in allowing us to reach learners and prepare them for the future of medical practice.


Q: Anything else you would like to share about this process?

A Alexander Kowalski (AK): Having attended in-person item writing in the past, I was amazed at how smoothly it transitioned to the virtual setting. The team from NBOME was great to work with, and we are all so proud of how this project turned out!

For more information on partnering with the NBOME on item writing, please reach out to nationalfaculty@nbome.org.