Davis GE, Gayer GG. Comparison of Basic Science Knowledge Between DO and MD Students. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2017;117(2):114–123. doi: https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2017.022.
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Context: With the coming single accreditation system for graduate medical education, medical educators may wonder whether knowledge in basic sciences is equivalent for osteopathic and allopathic medical students.
Objective: To examine whether medical students’ basic science knowledge is the same among osteopathic and allopathic medical students.
Methods: A dataset of the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine-CA student records from the classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015 and the national cohort of National Board of Medical Examiners Comprehensive Basic Science Examination (NBME-CBSE) parameters for MD students were used. Models of the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination-USA (COMLEX-USA) Level 1 scores were fit using linear and logistic regression. The models included variables used in both osteopathic and allopathic medical professions to predict COMLEX-USA outcomes, such as Medical College Admission Test biology scores, preclinical grade point average, number of undergraduate science units, and scores on the NBME-CBSE. Regression statistics were studied to compare the effectiveness of models that included or excluded NBME-CBSE scores at predicting COMLEX-USA Level 1 scores. Variance inflation factor was used to investigate multicollinearity. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to show the effectiveness of NBME-CBSE scores at predicting COMLEX-USA Level 1 pass/fail outcomes. A t test at 99% level was used to compare mean NBME-CBSE scores with the national cohort.
Results: A total of 390 student records were analyzed. Scores on the NBME-CBSE were found to be an effective predictor of COMLEX-USA Level 1 scores (P<.001). The pass/fail outcome on COMLEX-USA Level 1 was also well predicted by NBME-CBSE scores (P<.001). No significant difference was found in performance on the NBME-CBSE between osteopathic and allopathic medical students (P=.322).
Conclusion: As an examination constructed to assess the basic science knowledge of allopathic medical students, the NBME-CBSE is effective at predicting performance on COMLEX-USA Level 1. In addition, osteopathic medical students performed the same as allopathic medical students on the NBME-CBSE. The results imply that the same basic science knowledge is expected for DO and MD students.
A collaboration between the JAOA and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) to recruit, peer review, publish, and distribute research and other scholarly articles related to osteopathic medical education.
Keywords: basic science, COMLEX-USA, medical school, USMLE
a Models: 1, best preadmission model; 2, preadmission with NBME-CBSE (National Board of Medical Examiners Comprehensive Basic Science Examination); 3, preadmission with preclinical GPA (grade point average); 4, all variables; 5, best preclinical medical school model; 6, NBME-CBSE alone; 7, preclinical GPA alone.
b Statistical significance of the model measured as probability that independent variable coefficients equal 0.
c Fraction of variance explained by model.
d Smaller error indicates better fit to data.
Abbreviations: MSE, mean squared error; NS, not significant.
a Models: 1, preadmission model; 2, preadmission with NBME-CBSE (National Board of Medical Examiners Comprehensive Basic Science Examination); 3, preadmission with preclinical GPA (grade point average); 4, all variables; 5, best preclinical medical school model; 6, NBME-CBSE alone; 7, preclinical GPA alone.
b Statistical significance of the model measured as probability that there is no effect of independent variables on the dependant variables.
Abbreviation: NS, not significant
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