Medical education

Update on student parity advocacy

Osteopathic organizations are joining together to pursue equitable treatment of DO applicants to training programs, the reduction of medical training biases and additional efforts to support DO trainees.

The advancement of equitable treatment for all medical students seeking rotations and training positions continues to be an area of primary focus for the AOA. Despite record-breaking match placements for osteopathic medical students this year, AOA leaders recognize that parity issues remain. As a result, the organization is working closely with osteopathic leaders and GME experts across the profession to pursue lasting and meaningful change.

As described in a recent update, the AOA and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) convened a summit of leaders and experts representing osteopathic and allopathic organizations that oversee U.S. graduate medical education and training. Fueled by strong support fostered during the summit, the AOA continues to press forward with equity initiatives.

Collaborating with fellow osteopathic organizations, including AACOM and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), unifies the profession around this critical goal and strengthens the impact of its advocacy on behalf of osteopathic medical students and graduates.

Recognition of COMLEX-USA

Universal acceptance of the COMLEX-USA licensure exam is a key component of the AOA’s collaborative efforts with NBOME and AACOM. The NBOME is leading a successful initiative calling for a more holistic residency applicant review process that includes equitable acceptance of COMLEX-USA credentials. To date, a broad spectrum of national organizations representing the following specialties have issued public statements in support of DO applicants in all residency and subspecialty fellowship programs and with COMLEX-USA as their licensing exam:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Emergency medicine
  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • OB-GYN
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry

Visit the NBOME site to view the full list of supporting organizations.

Championing our students

As organizations jointly representing the nation’s 38,000+ osteopathic medical students, the AOA and AACOM continually work together to advocate for policies and practices that protect and preserve the future of the profession. Leaders from these organizations meet regularly to address issues of discrimination against osteopathic medical students and develop initiatives that will benefit their future careers.

The organizations are actively working together to identify and pursue non-legislative solutions that will achieve the following goals:

  • Equitable treatment of DO applicants to training programs
  • Reduction of medical training biases
  • Advocacy for DO credentials
  • Universal acceptance of COMLEX-USA

Uniting the profession

Medical student parity is also a top-of-mind issue for members of the Joint Osteopathic Organization Leadership (JOOL) coalition, which includes leaders from the AOA, AACOM, NBOME, the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) and the American Association of Osteopathic Examiners (AAOE). The coalition meets regularly to address issues that impact members of the osteopathic medical profession, including student parity and professional advocacy.

The AOA looks forward to sharing more outcomes of these collaborative efforts soon, as everyone works together to support the future of this great profession. Find more information about advocacy for the osteopathic medical profession on

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