Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) Performance on the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Initial Certifying Examinations

James A. Sliwa*, Mikaela M. Raddatz, Carolyn L. Kinney, Gary Clark, Lawrence Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Osteopathic physicians (DOs) represent over 30% of residents in allopathic (MD) Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) training programs. However, some have questioned the quality of osteopathic medical school training and the graduates of osteopathic medical schools. The performance of osteopathic physicians in allopathic PM&R training programs has not been assessed. Objective: To compare allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) physician performance on American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR) initial certifying examinations. Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study. Setting: Board-eligible PM&R physicians. Participants: MDs and DOs who completed an allopathic ACGME-accredited PM&R residency training program. Methods: MD and DO pass rates and mean scaled scores on the ABPMR initial certifying examinations were compared. MD versus DO degrees and training program 6 years aggregate board pass rates were independent variables. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measure: MD and DO pass rates and mean scaled scores on the ABPMR initial certifying examinations. Results: Of the 2187 physicians who were first-time ABPMR initial certifying examination takers, there were 1596 MDs (73%) and 591 DOs (27%). No statistically significant difference was found in pass rates between MDs and DOs on Part I (94.9% vs. 93.9%, P =.35) or Part II (87.8% vs. 88%, P =.83) of the ABPMR certifying examination. Analysis of mean scaled scores demonstrated higher MD scores on both Part I (526, SD = 31, vs. 516, SD = 67, P =.002) and Part II (6.73, SD =.83 vs. 6.62, SD =.77, P =.005), significant only in programs with a 90%-100% pass rate. These differences, however, were of very small magnitude and likely not meaningful from a clinical or educational perspective. Conclusion: This study did not find meaningful differences in performance on the ABPMR certifying examinations between MDs and DOs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)899-903
Number of pages5
JournalPM and R
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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