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Letters to the Editor  |   July 2010
Response
Author Affiliations
  • Philip C. Slocum, DO
    Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine-A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, Missouri
    Professor of Medicine, Dean
Article Information
Medical Education / COMLEX-USA
Letters to the Editor   |   July 2010
Response
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2010, Vol. 110, 401. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2010.110.7.401
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2010, Vol. 110, 401. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2010.110.7.401
Janet S. Louder and I are thrilled that our September 2006 JAOA article1 on predicting United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) scores from Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) scores is still sparking discussion, as evidenced by the letter by Drs Parikh and Shiembob. Since the article was written, both the National Board of Medical Examiners and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners have reformatted their examinations—thereby affecting any statistical analysis regarding the examinations. 
The COMLEX-USA—now more than ever—reflects osteopathic clinical information, while the USMLE clearly does not reflect any osteopathic clinical content. We have not reevaluated the available data for any new correlations between these tests. However, we would expect less correlation now than when we conducted our analysis more than 5 years ago. The American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation and National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners are obviously concerned that examination content and assessments maintain the distinction between the osteopathic and allopathic medical professions. Each year, the examinations reflect more divergence between these medical professions than was the case during the years we conducted our study. 
As far as the statistics of our study go, I believe that a quotation attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, prime minister of the United Kingdom in 1868 and from 1874 to 1880,2 says it best: 

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

 
I thank Drs Parikh and Shiembob for their interest. 
Slocum PC, Louder JS. How to predict USMLE scores from COMLEX-USA scores: a guide for Directors of ACGME-accredited residency programs. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2006;106(9):568-569. http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/106/9/568. Accessed June 21, 2010
The phrase finder—There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. The Phrase Thesaurus Web site. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/375700.html. Accessed June 21, 2010.