The American Medical Association’s House of Delegates recently voted unanimously to approve a resolution promoting equal acceptance of the COMLEX and USMLE exams by all U.S. residency programs. The resolution calls for the AMA to work with appropriate stakeholders to educate residency program directors on using and interpreting COMLEX scores.
AMA to work with residency program directors
The new policy also calls for the AMA to work with residency program directors to promote higher utilization of COMLEX for DO applicants to American Council for Graduate Medical Education residency programs as the medical profession transitions to a single GME accreditation system.
Administered by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), COMLEX-USA provides the pathway to licensure for U.S. DOs and is a graduation requirement for earning a DO degree from colleges of osteopathic medicine, according to a statement released by NBOME and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. Currently, most ACGME residency and fellowship program directors, teaching hospitals, and all of the nation’s state licensing boards accept, use, and/or require COMLEX-USA for DOs.
The ACGME, AOA and the Federation of State Medical Boards, among others, have official policy recognizing COMLEX’s validity.
Great news for DO students
The AMA’s decision to recognize and promote COMLEX and USMLE on an equal basis is great news for DO students, said AOA President William S. Mayo, DO.
“Although studies have shown that the exams are comparable for residency program directors’ use in assessing applicants, osteopathic students have been confused by misinformation in the era of the single accreditation system for GME, many electing to also take USMLE,” Dr. Mayo said. “Knowing that the ACGME accepts COMLEX and USMLE, and now that the AMA also supports equal acceptance of COMLEX and USMLE, helps to clarify the issue.”
The AMA’s new position also represents a major moment for patients and the practice of osteopathic medicine, noted NBOME President and CEO John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd, in a statement.
“MD and DO medical students stood together in solidarity for osteopathic distinctiveness, DO students and residents, and their unique, valid and distinctive credentials,” Dr. Gimpel said.