American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

The Diplomate E-Newsletter Spring 2023

Posted On: June 19, 2023

President’s Message

The Board of Directors of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) consistently looks for ways to not only increase the value of ABOS Board Certification but also to streamline the processes of both attaining and maintaining ABOS Board Certification for our Diplomates.

You should have received an email recently explaining changes being made to the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program in 2024. The Board spent much time deliberating the changes to balance our mission of protecting the public while not being overly burdensome to Diplomates. In addition, the ABOS is moving to meet updated Standards for Continuing Certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

We believe that we have accomplished all of these requirements by improving the process of Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Self-Assessment Examination (SAE) credit collection and by spreading the CME/SAE requirements out over the ABOS MOC 10-year cycle. Many ABOS Diplomates will not notice any changes as they regularly obtain CME and SAE credits throughout the 10-year cycle. With an upcoming partnership that the ABOS is establishing with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), it will be even easier to earn credits—CME credits will automatically be uploaded to the ABOS and certificates will not have to be uploaded.

The ABOS MOC changes also give you more freedom as you do not have to meet the CME/SAE requirements before submitting a Professional Standing Update (Application) and Case List or taking an ABOS MOC Knowledge Assessment (Computer-Based Examination or ABOS WLA Pathway).

Before any ABOS MOC Program changes are made, the Board carefully considers ABOS Strategic Priorities to see how and where the potential change fits in. With the newly updated ABOS Strategic Priorities, it is important to have a meaningful MOC Program. While other Medical Boards are going to five-year recertification cycles, the ABOS Board has decided to maintain a 10-year Board Certification cycle.

The ABOS MOC Program has changed over the years to be more relevant to ABOS Diplomates and we believe these changes continue in that theme. As all Directors are also Diplomates, we look forward to adapting to the changes as well.

You can learn more about what is changing—and what is not—by clicking here.

April D. Armstrong, MD
President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Executive Director’s Report

I am delighted to announce that after a national search, Michael S. Bednar, MD, Chief of Hand Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, has been named Associate Executive Director of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Bednar will begin this part-time position on July 1, 2023, and will continue to treat patients in Chicago.

The Board received applications from many prominent orthopaedic surgeons. Dr. Bednar’s background, insight, and skills will be beneficial to the ABOS in elevating our programs to new levels. I have known Dr. Bednar for many years and know that he will be successful in this new position.

As the ABOS Associate Executive Director, Dr. Bednar will assume a position on the ABOS Management Team that will focus on overseeing all ABOS Written Examinations: ABOS Part I Examination, ABOS Computer-Based Recertification Examinations, ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA) Pathway, and ABOS Subspecialty Examinations. He will manage the development process of those examinations, including revising blueprints, question writing, field testing, form reviewing, and standard setting. Dr. Bednar will also be responsible for engaging and educating an extensive ABOS Volunteer force to participate in test development.

As Dr. Armstrong mentioned in her column in this issue of The Diplomate, there are changes taking place in ABOS processes. Dr. Bednar’s experience will be helpful in continuing to make ABOS programs relevant and valuable, while making sure the ABOS is protecting the public.

Dr. Bednar was elected to the ABOS Board of Directors in 2014 and has served as President as well as Chair of the ABOS Written Examinations Committee. He has a long history of writing examination questions and reviewing others’ questions. Dr. Bednar will relinquish his role as a Board Director prior to becoming Associate Executive Director.

Dr. Bednar specializes in surgery of the hand. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed his Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery/Cornell University. Dr. Bednar completed a fellowship in hand surgery at the Indiana Hand Center. As a physician-researcher, Dr. Bednar has published numerous scientific articles in prominent journals. He is ABOS Board Certified, has ABOS Subspecialty Certification in Surgery of the Hand, and is Participating in ABOS Maintenance of Certification.

We look forward to Dr. Bednar’s contributions.

David F. Martin, MD
Executive Director, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Henry H. Banks

Legendary orthopaedic surgeon Henry H. Banks, MD, passed away on May 13, 2023, at the age of 102. Dr. Banks was elected to the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Board of Directors in 1973 and later served as the ABOS Executive Director from 1979 through 1986. He led the organization during a time of change and his leadership has greatly improved the field of orthopaedic surgery. Dr. Banks made sure that ABOS Board Certification was meaningful to Diplomates while also ensuring that the Board never forgot about its mission of protecting the public. Through his leadership in the ABOS and his distinguished career as a surgeon and administrator, he inspired thousands of orthopaedic surgeons over decades. Dr. Banks will be missed. You can read his full obituary here:

Dr. Frank C. Wilson

Frank C. Wilson, MD, a leading orthopaedic surgeon, passed away on May 31, 2023, at the age of 93. Dr. Wilson served on the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Board of Directors from 1983-1989 and ABOS President from 1988-1989. Dr. Wilson served on the Board during the transition from time-unlimited certificates to time-limited certificates, a challenging but important time for the ABOS. Leaders like Dr. Wilson have made the ABOS the organization it is today. Dr. Wilson was a consummate physician and educator, a true renaissance man. He will be missed by many. You can read his full obituary here:


New ABOS Retired Status

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has launched a new program that gives ABOS Diplomates in good standing the opportunity to be designated as “Retired in Good Standing.”

This status is intended for surgeons who are no longer active in orthopaedic practice in any capacity. These individuals may not be treating patients and may not be supervising residents or others in providing patient care. This status is also not applicable for individuals functioning in administrative roles that require ABOS Board Certification and is not for individuals who require a status of “ABOS Board Certified.”

Individuals who establish ABOS Retired Status will not be considered to be ABOS Board Certified. The official status listed on the ABOS website and reported to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) will be “Not Board Certified, Retired in Good Standing.”

For more information, go to

Once you have retired and no longer need to be ABOS Board Certified, you can apply for the status by logging into to your ABOS Dashboard at Click “Update Profile” at the top of the orange left-hand menu. Click “Apply to Retired in Good Standing Designation.” Complete and submit the form along with letters from your practice and hospital(s) indicating that you have retired and stating the date of that retirement. After you submit the form, you will receive an email indicating that the ABOS has received your request. Once approved, your certificate end date will be the date of approval and you will receive a confirmation email.

This new designation is an option to consider when you retire from active practice and no longer have a need to be ABOS Board Certified. As long as you have an unrestricted medical license, you can keep your ABOS Board Certification until it lapses.

Update ABOS Strategic Plan

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Board of Directors has recently approved an update of the organization’s ABOS Strategic Plan. The new plan modifies an existing plan that was developed seven years ago by adding critical features that will serve the ABOS and its Diplomates well over the next five to seven years. The Board’s priorities and values have not changed, but the new plan will add important focus and direction with an outstanding roadmap for the future. You can view the Board’s Strategic Priorities on the ABOS website.


Thank you to the more than 4,000 orthopaedic surgeons who completed the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery’s (ABOS) Organizational Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (DEI) Survey. Thanks also to those orthopaedic surgeons who participated in DEI listening sessions. GOODSTOCK Consulting, who is managing the project, indicated that a higher percentage of surveys were submitted compared with similar groups with whom they have worked. They also indicated that the listening sessions were very productive.

The survey and listening sessions are part of a larger DEI audit that the ABOS has undertaken. GOODSTOCK will present its findings and recommendations to the ABOS Board at its Fall Meeting. The Board will review the report and discuss what changes (if any) should be implemented. After those decisions are made, the ABOS will communicate with Diplomates.

The Board strongly believes in diversity and has included it in the organization’s Strategic Priorities and in its Values. In addition, earlier this year the Board updated the ABOS Bylaws to make the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force a standing committee. The Board wants to be sure no ABOS Examination or Board Certification process is biased against any group. Performance and Board Certification should be based on the knowledge, skills, and professional behavior of the Examinee or Candidate and not their background or appearance.

Last year, the ABOS created a series of videos for Oral Examiners covering the topic of “understanding bias.” About three-fourths of Examiners said that the videos were helpful. The ABOS DEI Committee recently approved the updating of these videos to make them relevant for all ABOS volunteers. The ABOS Written Examination Committee is working to eliminate potentially biased examination questions from ABOS Computer-Based Examinations.

The Board is looking forward to GOODSTOCKS’s recommendations and communicating them to you.

New ABOS Roadmap

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) recently launched the ABOS Residency to Retirement Roadmap. By going to, orthopaedic surgeons can see information about the ABOS impact on each stage of their career: Residency, Initial Board Certification, and Maintenance of Certification. Similar to, you can provide the Road Map link to patients so they can see the process to earn ABOS Board Certification.

Fifth Year of ABOS WLA is Complete

More than 14,100 Diplomates participated in the 2023 American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA) Pathway. Later this month, all ABOS Diplomates who participated in the pathway will receive an email with their final score and instructions on next steps.

All ABOS WLA questions are being reviewed for statistical performance. Diplomates provide valuable feedback that Diplomates, which is also being thoroughly reviewed. There is a possibility that questions will be discarded and everyone who answered those questions will have them counted as correct. After the review is done, some Diplomates may have a higher number of questions correct than what was shown when they completed the assessment; nobody’s score will go down.

As this is the fifth year of the Pathway, many ABOS Diplomates will have earned five Quality Years and have completed the Knowledge Assessment portion of ABOS’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. More than 99% of participants earned a Quality Year in 2023.

All ABOS WLA participants should have received 8 CME credits from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) on their AAOS Learning Portfolio. You must claim the credit before it will automatically transfer to the ABOS. If you do not have it, please contact the AAOS.

Knowledge Sources for the 2024 ABOS WLA will be posted in January.

Completing the ABOS WLA Pathway fulfills the Knowledge Assessment portion of the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. All Diplomates, no matter which Knowledge Assessment Pathway they choose, still must meet the requirements of the other portions of the ABOS MOC Program.

For more information about the ABOS WLA Pathway, go to

Board Certification Video

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has created a new video that you can share with your patients to explain the importance of ABOS Board Certification. To access the video, click on this link. When the video is on the screen, click on the arrow in the bottom right. To place the video on your website, click on “Embed.” That will copy a brief line of HTML code that you can send to your IT specialist. To show the video on waiting room monitors, click on “Download” and provide that file to the person who manages those monitors. The ABOS has several ways to help you communicate the importance of ABOS Board Certification to patients including brochures, widget, and videos. If you have suggestions for additional ways that the ABOS can assist you in communicating with patients, please email

Alternate Date for ABOS Oral Examination

The Board of Directors of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS), after significant deliberation and in keeping with its mission, values, and strategic plan, announced in February that it was adding an Alternate Oral Examination date in 2023 to provide an option to those Examinees dealing with specific life events that make attendance at the July examination dates not possible. The ABOS Credentials Committee has reviewed requests from ABOS Part II and Oral Recertification Examination Candidates. Those requests that have been approved will take the Oral Examination on October 9th.

“The ABOS serves the best interest of the public, our patients, and the profession of orthopaedic surgery; therefore, the Board is committed to an in-person oral examination as part of the ABOS Board Certification process. However, every year we have examinees who are unable to sit for the examination due to extenuating life events such as a military deployment, childbirth and pregnancy, medical issues, or family tragedy,” according to April D. Armstrong, MD, ABOS Board President. “Moving forward, the ABOS will offer these individuals an alternate date for taking the oral examination. We have listened to our stakeholders and made what we feel is the best decision for our examinees while being true to our primary mission of protecting the public.”

The October Oral Examination will be identical to the July Examination in both form and content. All Candidates received their 12 Selected Cases at the same time and have the same deadlines to upload the required documents and images. The ABOS has reserved slots in October for those who have specific life events close to the July Oral Examination. Examinees that have an issue arise that precludes their attendance at the ABOS Oral Examinations in July should contact the ABOS office.

While the July Oral Examinations will take place in Chicago at the Palmer House Hilton, the October Oral Examinations will be held at the American Board of Anesthesiology’s AIME Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.

ABOS Announces Four Exceptional Residents for Advisory Panel

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has selected four exceptional orthopaedic surgery residents to participate as the third cohort of the ABOS Resident Advisory Panel. Many highly qualified orthopaedic residents from across the country applied for two-year terms on the Panel and choosing just four was extremely difficult. We are excited to make the following announcement.

The new members of the ABOS Resident Advisory Panel are:

  • Justice Achonu, MD, Stony Brook University Hospital
  • Christopher Johnson, MD, PhD, University of Chicago
  • Mary Kate Skalitzky, MD, University of Iowa
  • Clay Townsend, MD, Temple University Hospital

This cohort will join the second group of Advisory Panel members who were selected last year:

  • Steven Greene, MD, University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Michelle Lawson, MD, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Joseph Sliepka, MD, University of Washington
  • Claire Isabelle Verret, MD, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

The ABOS Resident Advisory Panel assists the ABOS by providing information, which will be used to support orthopaedic residents across the country. They work with the ABOS Graduate Medical Education (GME) Committee and the ABOS Communications Committee. The goal is for the Advisory Panel to identify and work on a project each year that will benefit orthopaedic residents across the country.

All applicants submitted an application, curriculum vitae (CV), personal statement, and a letter of recommendation from their residency program director. These were reviewed by members of the ABOS Board of Directors who serve on the ABOS GME Committee.

“While we are sad to see the inaugural first members of the Resident Advisory Panel complete their two-year term, the four new members have outstanding qualifications and should keep the momentum going,” said ABOS Executive Director David F. Martin, MD.


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