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Why Distinctive Assessments?
The Value of the COMLEX Credential

Improving GME Access for DOs
The Road to DO Licensure

Distinctive Assessments for a Distinctive Profession

Those who choose to practice osteopathic medicine do so with an immense sense of pride—even a quick search on social media attests to the unique body-mind-spirit approach and perspective that osteopathic physicians and students bring to patient care with their inimitable training.

Since 1934, the NBOME has offered assessment tools to measure osteopathic medical competencies for licensure and other purposes.

Our assessments, including COMLEX-USA, are aligned with COCA-accredited educational programs, the way in which osteopathic medical students are trained and educated, as well as how osteopathic physicians currently practice medicine. Osteopathic principles, such as the body-mind-spirit approach and the structure/function relationship are integrated seamlessly into the blueprint to assess the competencies DOs must possess in their distinctive approach to patient care.

Addressing Bias in GME

COMLEX-USA is accepted in all 50 states, and in some international jurisdictions, for licensure. Therefore, it is the only examination series needed to practice osteopathic medicine.

To that end, the NBOME will continue to fight bias against DOs at every corner, especially when it involves the requirement to take an examination not aligned with the education and practice of osteopathic medicine.

Residency Support

Residency specialty leadership groups continue to voice their support of a holistic applicant review process, and the acceptance of the COMLEX-USA credential as part of that process for DOs.

Thus far, COMLEX-USA has received support from the following:


The NBOME has developed several tools to help educate program directors and others to better understand COMLEX-USA and how it reflects the ways DOs are educated and practice. These include:


The NBOME works tirelessly to advocate for the importance of COMLEX-USA in the osteopathic licensure process and to preserve the distinction of the osteopathic profession. Some of these efforts include:

  • Meetings with COM leadership across the country to ensure advisors understand COMLEX-USA and its scores
  • Direct outreach to residency programs that indicate a requirement or preference for USMLE over COMLEX for DOs
  • Engaging with RPD groups to declare support for DOs and the COMLEX credential
  • Providing a form for DO students to alert the NBOME of any perceived biases in residency programs.

Learn more about our advocacy efforts



The NBOME works with numerous organizations, COMs, and other stakeholders to identify and eliminate biases that could disadvantage osteopathic medical students. These include:

  • Contributing to the Coalition for Physician Accountability’s UME to GME Review Committee
  • Working with state osteopathic medical boards to provide information they can use for outreach to residency programs
  • Through the NBOME Board Liaison Committee, meeting with numerous medical education groups

Learn more about our connections