American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

The Diplomate E-Newsletter Summer 2023

Posted On: September 7, 2023

President’s Message

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery’s (ABOS) Board of Directors is proud of the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. Designed and modified by dozens of practicing orthopaedic surgeons across all subspecialities, we have a program that is true to our mission of protecting the public, is a good measure of the continuing competence of ABOS Diplomates, and is not overly burdensome.

As I mentioned in the last issue of The Diplomate, the Board has decided to modify its MOC Program to meet the new standards of the American Boad of Medical Specialties (ABMS) for Continuing Certification. The principal goal of those standards is a good one: to make sure that all Diplomates are evaluated in some way at least once every five years. As a practicing orthopaedic surgeon in Pennsylvania and an ABOS Diplomate, I participate in the ABOS MOC Program and feel that it is fair to both orthopaedic surgeons and patients. Some of the requirements, like the CME and medical licensure requirements, are things that every physician already needs to do, while I, like many of my colleagues, have enjoyed participating in the ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment Pathway (ABOS WLA). I enjoy seeing what my peers think are important journal articles.

After emailing ABOS Diplomates concerning the ABOS MOC Program changes, we did receive some feedback and talked to many Diplomates that had questions or concerns. Once we talked through the changes, most of these Diplomates agreed that the modifications were reasonable. We have added an FAQ section to our website as well. The Board received emails from orthopaedic surgeons who were happy with the changes. One long-time orthopaedic surgeon emailed the Board just to say that the ABOS MOC modifications are positive and that the ABOS should not lower standards.

I am honored to be a Diplomate of the ABOS and hope all of you are proud as well. Obtaining and maintaining ABOS Board Certification is hard work, but holding that credential is meaningful. Lowering standards would not be fair to our patients. Hospitals have come to depend on the ABOS Board Certification credential as well. Through the Case List submission and Peer Review, the Board is able to determine which orthopaedic surgeons are performing up to the standards of having the honor of being an ABOS Diplomate.

As the Board is approaching its 90th anniversary next year, we have a history of “doing the right thing” and we will continue to take seriously our job of protecting the public.

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

Executive Director’s Report

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) depends on collaboration with multiple organizations to stay true to the multiple facets of the ABOS mission. For many years, the ABOS has worked with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), most prominently with the ACGME Review Committee for Orthopaedic Surgery (ACGME RC). A new partnership with that group will benefit orthopaedic surgery residents along with their Program Directors and Program Coordinators.

This new collaboration with the ACGME and the ACGME RC will integrate case log entry into the ABOS Knowledge, Skills, and Behavior (ABOS KSB) web portal and mobile app. In one place, residents will be able to enter their surgical cases to create Case Logs as required by the ACGME and also easily request an ABOS KSB Surgical Skills Assessment on selected cases. This collaboration between the ABOS and the ACGME provides residents the opportunity to request and receive formative feedback while allowing easy access to logging surgical cases. Residents will log all their ACGME Case Logs via the ABOS app and/or web portal for this program.

Soon, those residency programs that have already onboarded into the ABOS KSB Program will start transitioning to the new web portal/app. Residency programs not currently enrolled in the ABOS KSB Program will be able to join the ABOS KSB Program over the next two years and utilize the new integrated web portal/app. ABOS staff will reach out to all residency programs with instructions regarding how to enroll or transfer orthopaedic residency programs to the new system.

All surgical residents in ACGME-accredited programs (no matter the discipline) must enter case logs for the ACGME. The ABOS is the first board to offer a tool that integrates competency-based medical education and the entry of ABOS’s KSB Surgical Skills requirements with the ACGME’s Case Log Entry requirements. Residents will log all their surgical cases into ACGME Case Logs via the ABOS KSB app or Web Portal. All surgical cases must be logged, not just those cases that a resident is submitting for ABOS KSB assessment.

The ABOS’s mission is to protect the public by setting standards for competence and education through each stage of an orthopaedic surgeon’s career, beginning with orthopaedic residency training.

Graduate medical education is transitioning from time-based programs for the acquisition of knowledge and skills to promoting competency-based curricula. Validated tools to measure competency are critical to this transition. The ABOS has instituted the ABOS KSB Program to provide orthopaedic residents and Program Directors assessment tools with the necessary technology in the areas of knowledge, surgical skills, and professional behavior to assist in the transition to competency-based medical education.

Starting July 1, 2025, all ACGME-accredited Orthopaedic Residency Education Programs will be required to participate in the ABOS KSB Program to qualify their residents to sit for the ABOS Part I Board Certification Examination. We are excited about this new initiative to provide residents with formative assessments.

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

ABOS Subspecialty Examinations Application Available

Applications are open for the 2024 American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Subspecialty Examinations in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Surgery of the Hand. The deadline to submit the Application, Case List, and Application Fee is February 1, 2024, and the Examinations will be administered on August 5, 2024. On September 13, 2023, at 7:30 pm ET, the ABOS will host a webinar about ABOS Subspecialty Certification. To register, go to To learn more about ABOS Subspecialty Certification, go to

Alternating Years for Practice-Profiled Examinations

As a reminder, due to the popularity of the ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA) Pathway leaving fewer Diplomates taking ABOS Practice-Profiled Computer-Based Examinations, the ABOS is now offering each Practice-Profiled Examination in alternating years. This allows for enough Examinees to set an appropriate passing standard for each Examination. See below for the schedule. Diplomates whose ABOS Board Certification expires in 2025 and who want to take an Examination in any of the areas below must submit their Application and Case List by December 1, 2023, so that they can take that Examination next year. These Examinations will not be offered again until 2026.

  • Adult Reconstruction
  • Musculoskeletal Oncology
  • Orthopaedic Sports Medicine
  • Surgery of the Spine

New ABOS Diplomates

Congratulations to the 762 orthopaedic surgeons who passed the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Part II Oral Examination in July and became ABOS Board Certified. That number will increase as there are several Part II Candidates who have been approved to take their ABOS Oral Examination on the Alternative Date in October. The alternative date is for those Examinees dealing with specific life events that made attendance at the July examination dates not possible.

Also, congratulations to the 841 orthopaedic surgeons who passed the ABOS Part I Examination in July. Many of them will become ABOS Diplomates in 2-3 years.


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