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Date Updated: May 24, 2019

About NBME

Founded in 1915, the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that serves the public through its high- quality assessments of healthcare professionals.

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®)

The NBME develops and manages the USMLE. While the individual licensing boards grant the license to practice medicine, all medical boards in the US accept a passing score on the USMLE as evidence that an applicant demonstrates the core competencies to practice medicine. As a result, healthcare consumers throughout the nation enjoy a high degree of confidence that their doctors have met a common standard. The NBME and the Federation of State Medical Boards co- sponsor the USMLE, and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates is the third collaborator in the USMLE program.

Other Services

The NBME and the Federation also co-sponsor the Post-Licensure Assessment System, which medical licensing authorities can use to evaluate physicians who are already licensed. A new exam program, the International Foundations of Medicine, extends the concept of common standards to an international arena.

Medical specialty boards, other healthcare professions, and academic institutions call on the NBME to develop customized assessments, while online assessments help students and professionals identify their own strengths and weaknesses. Organizations can draw on the NBME’s expertise as consultants for their own assessment programs, test administration, and scoring.


The Membership of the National Board of Medical Examiners comprises approximately 80 individuals; there are five categories of Membership:

  1. Elected at-large members. These members are nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected by the Membership to a four-year term. At-large members may not exceed 24 in number.

  2. Representative members. These members are nominated by various national organizations. The Executive Board appoints the nominees, and the Membership endorses the Executive Board actions. Representative members include a maximum of 22 from:

    • the uniformed services and the Department of Veterans Affairs senior medical officers or their designees – 5
    • Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) – 5
    • Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) -- 2
    • American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) – 2
    • American Medical Association (AMA) – 2
    • Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) – 2
    • Resident and Fellows Section of the AMA – 2
    • American Medical Student Association (AMSA) – 1
    • Student National Medical Association (SNMA) – 1
  3. Test Committee representative members. The President appoints up to 22 additional representatives from the committees developing NBME’s examination programs. The Executive Board ratifies these appointments.

  4. Executive Board members. The NBME Membership elects a Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and seven at-large Executive Board members from among its membership. The Immediate Past Chair and the President serve ex officio.

  5. Honorary members. From time to time, the NBME Membership may elect honorary members. A President Emeritus, a past Chair, and a past Vice Chair currently hold this membership status. These members participate without vote.

The names and affiliations of the current Membership are found in the NBME Annual Report, available on the Publications page of this website.

Roles and Responsibilities of the NBME Board of Directors ("Executive Board")

Members of the Executive Board (except for the President and Immediate Past Chair) are elected for two-year terms by the NBME Membership. The Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and seven at-large members are the elected members; the Immediate Past Chair and the President are ex officio members.

The Executive Board has the full authority to act for the NBME Membership. However, the Executive Board must act in a manner consistent with the will of the Membership as expressed in its deliberations at annual meetings.

NBME History

Explore 100 years of NBME history in service to the public and the health professions.
Timeline of Innovations

NBME Centennial Video

Please enjoy this 10-minute video that answers the question, "What is the NBME?"
Watch the Video


NBME Mission

To protect the health of the public through state of the art assessment of health professionals. While centered on assessment of physicians, this mission encompasses the spectrum of health professionals along the continuum of education, training and practice and includes research in evaluation as well as development of assessment instruments.

NBME Vision

Improving healthcare around the world through assessment

infographic: Volunteers represented +240 organizations & institutions

*As of 2018

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