Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific’s graduating class of 2008 ranked No. 1in the nation on a licensing test measuring clinical skills.

"The success of this effort is attributed to the early introduction of communication skills, osteopathic manipulative education, and the high regard for professionalism in a humanistic tradition established 31 years ago with the founding of the college," said Clint Adams, DO, FAAFP, FACHE, Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP).

Osteopathic students must pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA), administered by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), to practice medicine. The exam, divided into multiple components, is designed to assess the osteopathic medical knowledge and clinical skills considered essential for osteopathic physicians to practice medicine without supervision.

COMP ranked No. 1 in the COMLEX Level 2-PE/Clinical Skills Exam, which is the performance evaluation component conducted with standardized patients. The exam measures osteopathic principles and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), history-taking and physical examination skills, clinical problem-solving, written communication and synthesis of clinical findings, physician-patient communication, interpersonal skills and professionalism. 

The top ranking is a result of COMP’s dedication to developing caring, compassionate, lifelong learners, established by Founding President Philip Pumerantz, said Sandra Garner, Co-director of COMP’s Standardized Patient Program.

COMP students begin working with standardized patients – actors trained to portray a symptom – in the second week of their first year, she said. They will have 40 standardized patient encounters before they begin rotations in the third year.

"The ranking shows that our graduates are caring and compassionate, patient-centered and good communicators," Garner said. "It’s what patients are asking for out there. We’re really proud."