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How is the COMLEX-USA Exam Distinctive?

Education and Advocacy

The NBOME works tirelessly to identify biases, clarify information, and educate on osteopathic distinctiveness and the COMLEX-USA credential. We join efforts with our fellow osteopathic organizations to increase awareness and acceptance of DO credentials for all students, residents, and physicians. We conduct our advocacy efforts through engagement, outreach, and connection, which have yielded very positive outcomes. The record-setting match rate of 91.6 percent for DO graduates during the 2023 NRMP Main Residency Match is a testament to the recognized value of osteopathic distinction in healthcare.

The NBOME advocates for a holistic review of applications for undergraduate and graduate medical education programs, and encourages training directors and other recruitment personnel to evaluate all applicants based on their unique experiences, attributes, and competencies.

Our advocacy efforts have helped lead to consensus statements supporting COMLEX-USA as part of a holistic residency application process for DOs in these specialties:

If licensure examinations are used as part of a holistic review process, then COMLEX-USA should be used to evaluate DOs, as the only examination aligned with the education and practice of osteopathic medicine.

We will continue our advocacy efforts to alleviate undue barriers DO applicants face and we encourage you to join us in these efforts.

“I really appreciate your help and advocacy on our behalf. I know at times it may seem like a small thing (eg: changing the wording on a website) but to DO students it means a lot. The website of a program is, oftentimes, the first thing we see and our best source of information as we don’t have direct avenues of contact with PD and other faculty.” – OMS-II

“THANK YOU SO MUCH! Thank you all so much for the work you do and for keeping me updated. I so appreciate it. I also appreciate these two programs making those changes, because these things I’m finding on FREIDA really do impact me (and I’m sure many others). As someone with a lot of debt and a limited amount of financial resources, us students have to ensure our money is being spent applying to places we feel like we have a shot at, and the things I see in FREIDA actually DID deter me from applying to these programs, until now.” – OMS-IV


  • Felt excluded from a program for being an osteopathic student
  • Been required to pay a significantly higher tuition or fee rate than MD students
  • Had your COMLEX-USA scores rejected for application
  • Been required to submit USMLE scores to apply for a program

Reach out to us so that we can pursue this matter directly with the appropriate program, institution, and/or specialty leadership. Your name and email will only be used for communication between you and the NBOME. Unless you specify otherwise, our outreach on your behalf will be kept confidential.

NBOME Advocacy and Education in Action at the 2024 ACGME Conference

  At the ACGME Annual Educational Conference in March, NBOME staff and leadership had the opportunity to...

Internal Medicine Leaders Join Growing Call for COMLEX-USA Equivalency in Residency Applications

March 18, 2024
The Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM) joins an ever-growing list of specialty groups who are advocating...

Emergency Medicine Residency Leaders Call for COMLEX-USA Acceptance among Program Directors

October 25, 2023
The Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine (CORD) recently published a statement calling for emergency...

Ob/Gyn Leaders Call for Equivalence for DOs in Residency Application Process

September 25, 2023
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) published a statement that iterates the value and...

Academic Leaders in Pediatrics Stand Up for Equity in Residency Applications, Recommend COMLEX-USA as Part of Holistic Application Review for DO Students

May 30, 2023
The leadership of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors, Council on Medical Student Education in...

PM&R Leaders Promote Equality for DO Applicants and Equivalent Use of COMLEX-USA

May 25, 2023
The NBOME is pleased to announce that leadership organizations in another specialty field have come out in support...

Anesthesiology Program Directors Join in Support of DO Residency Applicants, COMLEX-USA and Holistic Review

May 16, 2023
The NBOME is pleased to report that support for DO residency applicants and COMLEX-USA continues to grow among...

Psychiatry residency directors show support for COMLEX-USA

April 20, 2023
Following the Council of Academic Family Medicine’s statement in support of parity between DO and MD candidates...

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...

AOA’s House of Delegates Reaffirms Support of Osteopathic Competency Assessment for Licensure

September 20, 2022
At the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) Annual House of Delegates (HOD) meeting in July, delegates from...

Partnering for Progress: Doximity

How the NBOME works to educate and advocate for DOs and their credentials As part of its advocacy outreach, the...

Partnering for Progress: CU Anschutz

NBOME continues efforts to educate and advocate for DOs and their credentials As the NBOME continues to partner...

Partnering for Progress: OHSU

How the NBOME works to educate and advocate for DOs and their credentials The NBOME regularly works in...

Defining the Distinctive Practice of Osteopathic Medicine

Without defining ourselves, we run the risk of being defined by others, and the status of distinction we enjoy will...

The Importance of Osteopathically Distinctive Assessment

Why osteopathic assessment is important throughout the career of an osteopathic physician and to our...

Myths and Misconceptions: The Value of the COMLEX-USA Credential

The NBOME’s vision is to be the global leader in assessment of osteopathic medicine and related health care...

GME Professional’s Day – Interview with Brenda Hoffman

Aug 20, 2021
In celebration of GME Professionals Day, we recognize the GME coordinators, managers, and administrators who work...

Advocacy to Improve Access to Training Opportunities for DO Students

July 06, 2021
We have been a tireless advocate for reducing unnecessary barriers and increasing awareness of osteopathic students...
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