Every year, several hundred orthopaedic surgeons from around the country take time away from their busy practices to volunteer for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS). Many have been volunteers for years—even decades. They are vital to the ABOS, and we are always looking for new volunteers. I am grateful for the dedication to the profession reflected by the willingness of our Diplomates to provide this time and effort. It is truly unprecedented in any other field of medicine.
The Board maintains a small permanent staff at the ABOS office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Much of the work related to writing and administering the examinations is fulfilled by the ABOS Board of Directors. ABOS Directors are volunteers. They are assisted by a diverse group of volunteers from all subspecialties and practice types. The work of dedicated volunteers not only contributes to ABOS Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification processes, but also helps keep our application and examination fees stable; the ABOS has not raised fees in eight years and has no immediate plans to do so.
Volunteer positions include:
- Oral Examiners spend four days in Chicago each July administering the ABOS Oral Examination to both Part II Candidates and those Diplomates recertifying through the Oral Examination pathway.
- Oral Examination Case List Selectors review the case lists of all candidates taking an Oral Examination and choose the 12 cases that will be reviewed at the Oral Examination.
- Blueprint Editors are vital when, prior to creating a new examination, a blueprint has to be written to determine subject matter that reflects a job task analysis. This group provides information that allows each examination to be relevant and reflective of orthopaedic practice.
- Examination Item Writers draft examination questions annually and then attend a two-day meeting of the Question Writing Task Force at the NBME office in Philadelphia to edit the questions before they make it to the ABOS Question Bank. There are currently approximately 3500 questions in the bank from which the examinations are constructed.
- Field Test Task Force members meet in Chicago each year for the first of several editing sessions of the Part I Examination to be administered the following July. All ABOS examinations go through this process.
- Standard Setting Evaluators work with psychometricians in an exercise to determine the minimum passing standard for each question. This allows the statistical ability to set a valid passing score for each examination and ensures the likelihood that an individual candidate will pass the examination is statistically the same from year to year.
A key volunteer activity for the ABOS relates to peer review. Peer review is a critically important component of regulation of our profession by Orthopaedic Surgeons rather than outside entities. The ABOS solicits peer review by email from our Diplomates for all candidates for Part II and Recertification Examinations. The fact that the majority of this peer review is quite positive reflects well on the quality of practice of the ABOS Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon.
A small percentage of Diplomates requires more in-depth review by the ABOS Credentials Committee. At those times, a site visit is then initiated to extensively evaluate an individual’s practice. Two Diplomate volunteers spend one to two days at the practice site and compose a report.
If you would like to be considered for a volunteer position, log in at www.abos.org and click on the volunteer button on your dashboard. You will complete a brief questionnaire and upload a CV and two letters of support. If you have any questions about volunteering, please contact Patti Scalf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-929-7103.
James Roberson, MD
American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery President
Executive Medical Director's Report
I am happy to announce two changes that should make the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process easier to navigate for our Diplomates. In March, the ABOS launched a new Diplomate Dashboard that will make navigating the MOC process clearer and more straightforward. We have also automated the transfer of CME and SAE credits that have been entered on your Learning Portfolio at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery (AAOS) website to your ABOS password protected portal.
The ABOS Dashboard is a snapshot of where you stand in the MOC process. You can get to your personal dashboard by logging in at www.abos.org. If you are not taken to your Dashboard automatically after logging in, click the "Dashboard" tab along the top of the screen.
Once on your Dashboard, you will quickly see whether you have an active certificate and if you are participating in MOC. You will also see your placement in the 10-year MOC cycle and whether you need to earn any more Continuing Medical Education (CME) or Self-Assessment Examination (SAE) credits. There are also buttons to enter CMEs/SAEs, get your examination results, and see emails that the ABOS has sent to you. There is also a button to volunteer (see the President’s Message in this issue) and one that automatically generates a letter indicating your ABOS Board Certification status.
Clicking on the “Recertification Schedule” button takes you to a second page related to the recertification examination, including the ability to access your case list, your application, your examination scheduling permit, your examination admission letter, and the ability to make a payment. These buttons only work when you are eligible for those particular functions.
The ABOS Dashboard is a user-friendly experience, and we are constantly looking for ways that it can be even more helpful.
On the ABOS Dashboard, you can enter any CMEs/SAEs you have earned. However, if you have entered them on your AAOS Learning Portfolio, they should automatically transfer to the ABOS website. This process has been automated to happen four times per day. Previously, you had to press a button for them to transfer. Now, assuming you have entered a valid CME/SAE and have a certificate uploaded, those credits will automatically be transferred to your ABOS account and Dashboard. ABOS staff reviews each CME/SAE activity that is submitted (whether through ABOS or AAOS) to make sure that it is related to the field of orthopaedic surgery. A list of approved CME/SAE subject areas can be found at www.abos.org/moc/cmesae/continuing-medical-education.aspx. In addition, as some credits may be entered into the system twice— directly into ABOS's web portal and also transferred from AAOS —they will only be counted once, and that may be the reason you see a discrepancy in the number of credits that you have submitted versus those that have been approved.
If you have any feedback or suggestions regarding how these processes and interfaces can be improved or streamlined, please do not hesitate to call me.
As always, if you have any questions about our processes or your progress, you can contact your Certification Specialist directly.
David F. Martin, MD
Executive Medical Director, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Kristin Caba is the new Executive Assistant for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. Kristin replaces Cynthia McCoy Crummey, who was the ABOS Executive Assistant for more than 20 years and who recently retired. Past and present members of the Board of Directors of the ABOS, as well as the staff, wish Cynthia great joy in her hobbies and endeavors as she makes the transition into retirement.
In her new role, Kristin will work closely with David F. Martin, MD, our Executive Medical Director, and myself on many administrative and strategic tasks and projects.
Kristin’s background includes years of experience in project management. She primarily worked in product development for a large name brand entity where she traveled regularly to Asia for sourcing of materials and production. She also held several consulting positions as a project manager. Probably her favorite assignment was working on the production of a 50th birthday video for Michael Jordan.
Kristin grew up in Virginia and moved to New York City after graduating from college. That is where she met her husband and where they had two of their three children. Kristin enjoys being back in North Carolina, but the family still proudly cheers for the Mets. Kristin holds a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University.
Her organizational skills, proactive nature, positive attitude, and critical thinking skills will be well utilized here at the ABOS. We are happy she is part of the team.
Chief Operating Officer