Is the National University of Medical Sciences (NUMSS) legitimate?
January 30, 2018 7:04 AM   Subscribe

I am affiliated with an organization involved in medical education with a member who claims to have both a DO and a PhD, but looking at their LinkedIn, it appears that both degrees were gained in just 2 years from an online university called the National University of Medical Sciences (NUMSS; see Is this a legitimate degree?

This school offers DO degrees and PhDs through an all-online format, or through a portable hard drive containing lectures. It is run by one "Dr" Shahin Pourgol, MBA, DC, DO, PhD.

As someone who went to a real graduate school, I find it very discouraging that someone who has gotten a 2-year falsified degree is treated as someone with a degree that is commonly thought of as equivalent to an MD in the United States, but is a completely different type of degree in Europe (where NUMSS is accredited). My understanding is that their degree is actually more like that of a massage therapist, as the education involves osteopathic manipulation ONLY. In modern osteopathy, the osteopathic manipulation is taught, but is considered pseudoscience by most students and is not actually used in clinical practice.

The PhD qualification (all in 2 years of online lectures!) only adds to my belief that this is a fraudulent organization. Has anyone else had experience with people who misrepresent their education? Anyone with experience with NUMSS specifically?
posted by candasartan to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They do not appear in the U.S. Department of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. So this is not an accredited or recognized program within the U.S.

NUMSS claims to have accreditation from a number of groups. The only one of these groups that is a recognized accreditation agency is the American Physical Therapy Association. Despite NUMSS's claim, they are not listed on the APTA's directory of accredited schools. So I would verify any other claims of accreditation.

It's likely they aren't licensed osteopathic physicians anywhere in the U.S. either.
posted by grouse at 7:24 AM on January 30, 2018

I'm not sure what your question is. If the organization you're affiliated with has membership standards, and the fake degrees don't qualify, that person should be kicked out. If they do meet the requirements, the organization might want to tighten the requirements.

If there are relatively loose membership requirements - e.g., a real degree isn't required for membership - then you might want to check if there are general standards of conduct for members, and see if the person can be kicked out based on that. I wouldn't argue on the basis of fairness, but rather that having someone with a fraudulent degree as a member harms the reputation of the organization.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:38 AM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

There are services that will verify and “translate” degrees from international schools into US terms, but at a cost. They’re often used for foreign graduates applying to US graduate degree programs, to confirm that they have the equivalent of a US undergraduate degree.
posted by MadamM at 9:36 AM on January 30, 2018

One year and 5,000 euro for a PhD? No this is not a legit PhD. Whether NUMSS is actually fraudulent is different. They advertise what they offer pretty clearly. You mention "organization" not school or corporation in your question, so I guess it is some kind of professional organization or NGO/NPO. Look at the constitution or bylaws. There may be a clause about members "not bringing the organization into disrepute" which can be used to eject someone. (And, posting bogus degrees as ones bona fides brings everyone else down by association.) But, do you specifically really want to go that route? I mean do you want to be the one? It can be a real can of worms. Anyone else in the group have a mail order degree that nobody noticed? Or, claiming a degree they never went near? This happens. You may be indirectly threatening those people--and you won't know who they are. Has anyone just asked the member about his degrees and background? They might just say, "Oh yeah, I know they were quickie credentials, but that's what the website / sheepskin says? How should I list them? (Doubtful, but you could ask them to add a disclaimer like "One year unaccredited") Or, if you want to pursue this, is there a membership committee or ethics committee? Refer this to them or the Directors and let them deal with it.
posted by Gotanda at 3:43 PM on January 30, 2018

I can tell you that ACMG would probably not accept that as legit...
posted by kuanes at 4:47 AM on January 31, 2018

Thank you for the information, everyone! I really appreciate it. I hope this thread also prevents people from pursuing a degree from this institution.
posted by candasartan at 5:26 AM on February 2, 2018

Our schools are two independent universities, not one. National Universality of Medical Sciences (Spain) is registered in Madrid, Spain and the National University of Medical Sciences (USA) is registered in Naples, Florida.

NUMSS (USA) is registered with the Florida Department of States. A copy of its registration is posted on its Facebook page. Its registration has been renewed for another year on January 26, 2018 by Honorable Ken Detzner, Florida Secretary of State. Here is the link to the registration paper:

Universities in Spain and USA must be registered with the government to operate as schools. However registration with the department of education is optional and not mandatory. Our two universities are not registered with the departments of education of either country but they are registered with the government.

We are an osteopathic university and as such are accredited by the manual osteopathic profession, such as the Council on Manual Osteopathic Education of the International Osteopathic Association, and the US Council on Osteopathic Manual Practice Education of the American Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners.

We provide European style manual osteopathic education, not osteopathic medicine that is taught in USA. We are the only provider of manual osteopathic education in the States. While both professions use the name osteopathy, in US osteopathic medicine involves surgery and medications, while manual osteopathy (also known as osteopathic manual practice) provides only hands-on treatments.

Osteopathy and osteopathic manual practice are two different professions in the states. Our graduates cannot work as osteopaths in US. They are called osteopathic manual practitioners.

We also offer other education such as doctor of physical therapy (DPT). Our DPT graduates can join the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as members. APTA accepts all universities offering transitional DPT. They only evaluate and accredit entry level DPT programs. We offer tDPT for physical therapists, not an entry level DPT.

Our online PhD program is accepted by major osteopathic organizations in Canada, US and elsewhere. Our alumni are eligible to work as osteopathic manual practitioners in all states, all Canadian provinces and most other countries. We have alumni in 70 countries and most osteopathic manual practitioners in US and Canada are our alumni as our schools are the largest provider of manual osteopathic education in the world.
We also own and operate the Osteopathy Chronic Pain Clinics of Canada ( which has over 184 locations in 14 countries. OCPCC accepts only alumni of our schools. It has quickly become the largest privately owned chronic pain clinic in the world.

Our universities are legitimate. Our degrees are valid for membership in major osteopathic associations and currently our alumni are working in 70 countries in 4 continents as osteopathic manual practitioners. I recommend you to get an osteopathic treatment from one of our alumni to experience firsthand how beneficial manual osteopathy can be.

Manual osteopathy does wonders in treating chronic pain. Most cases we treat are last resort cases. Our goal is to have manual osteopathic care available in every town in every corner of the world.
posted by Dr Shawn Pourgol at 3:08 AM on June 9, 2018

Here is the link to the registration certificate of the National University of Medical Sciences (Spain) in Spain as posted on the Facebook page of NUMSS (Spain).

National University of Medical Sciences (Spain) is registered with the Registero Mercantil Central Seccion de Denominociones department of the government of Spain (registeration number 16167263). Online universities do not need to be registered with the Ministry of Education of Spain. Alumni of this university are currently working as manual osteopaths (also known as osteopathic manual practitioners) in 70 countries, including US and Canada.
posted by Dr Shawn Pourgol at 3:40 AM on June 9, 2018

Please note that the American Osteopathic Association has investigated a fake DO who addressed himself as Dr. Bucciarelli. He misrepresented himself as a DO-MP and LATC on multiple websites. Josh Prober, JD, general counsel of the American Osteopathic Association has called the National University of Medical Sciences a degree-mill schools offering the appearance of legitimacy. Importantly, the DO credential in the United States means "Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine" and abroad means "Diploma in Osteopathy." Referring to this certificate program or undergraduate degree certificate. Another credential, diploma in osteopathic medicine-manual practitioner, or DOMP is not awarded by any accredited school in the United States and does not grant any form of formal license in the United States. The National University of Medical Sciences is specifically called out by the American Osteopathic Association as an online school that does nothing more than allow students with a high school diploma or GED to view prerecorded online videos. It does not lead to any license, as no license exists in the United States for this credential.

The American Osteopathic Society's article is here:

The archive link is here:
posted by metasunday at 5:21 AM on December 14, 2018

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