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The ADA in Action

February 25, 2011
Those who know Frederick Romberg know the challenges he has faced throughout his life to cope with dyslexia. Like many diagnosed with this reading disability, Mr. Romberg has difficulty reading fluently and automatically like most people. But Mr. Romberg, a Yale Medical School student, has not allowed his disability to stand in the way of his ambitions. And along the way, when he has been given sufficient time to read and process written material, he has demonstrated a keen intellect and achieved academic success. Yale Medical School faculty members recognize Mr. Romberg’s abilities, and have supported his efforts to pursue a license to practice medicine. However, the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), the non-profit organization that administers the licensing exam, refused to allow Mr. Romberg the appropriate accommodations that would allow him to demonstrate his knowledge and abilities. Now, as the result of the Justice Department’s efforts to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Mr. Romberg will have the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of the material being tested on the licensing examination, and to show whether he is qualified to receive a license to practice medicine. As part of a settlement reached under the ADA, NBME will accommodate Mr. Romberg by allowing him double the standard testing time and a separate testing area to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). The settlement was reached after the Department of Justice and the NBME agreed to resolve a complaint filed by Mr. Romberg alleging that the NBME had twice denied him reasonable testing accommodations to take the USMLE in violation of the ADA. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, NBME is committed to providing reasonable testing accommodations to persons with disabilities who seek to take the USMLE, in accordance with the requirements of the ADA. Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division welcomed the cooperation the Department received from the NBME in reaching the agreement, and noted the importance of ensuring that individuals with disabilities are given a fair chance to succeed on standardized tests. “We appreciate the willingness of the NBME to resolve this matter without litigation, and hope that other testing entities administering professional licensing examinations recognize their responsibility under the ADA to provide reasonable testing accommodations to persons with appropriately documented disabilities,” Assistant Attorney General Perez said. New regulations applicable to testing accommodations will go into effect on March 15, 2011, and can be viewed here. For more information about the Department’s efforts to enforce the ADA, visit

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Updated April 7, 2017