American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

March 2018 Diplomate

Posted On: March 1, 2018

President’s Message

This month, I will highlight the Oral Examination Committee that oversees the Part II Oral Examination and the Oral Recertification Examination. The committee is chaired by Joshua Jacobs, MD, of Rush University Medical Center.

Since the beginning, Oral Examinations have been part of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Certification process. There have been some changes—many of us remember bringing paper records and images to Chicago. The importance of the Oral Examination has not changed.

Everyone must pass the Part II Oral Examination to become Board Certified. Some Diplomates opt to take an Oral Recertification Examination instead of a Computer-Based Examination. We also have a few surgeons each year who are required to take an Oral Recertification Examination, due to a lapse in Certification. In total, we have approximately 900 Candidates and Diplomates who take an Oral Examination each July.

To make the Oral Examinations run smoothly, we have the oversight from the Committee and the work of many orthopaedic surgeons from across the country who donate their time and expertise as Oral Examiners and Case Selectors. The Case Selectors choose 12 cases that the Candidate or Diplomate presents at the Oral Examination. Approximately 200 Oral Examiners travel to Chicago and spend several days examining Candidates and Diplomates. If you would like to volunteer for either of these positions—or any ABOS volunteer opportunity—log in to your ABOS Dashboard, click on the “Volunteer” button and complete the brief form.

After the Oral Examination is complete, the ABOS works extensively with psychometricians to ensure the validity of the Examination. Examiners are statistically rated on severity and consistency and adjustments are made so Candidates will have passed or failed based on the Examination and not on Examiner severity. After receiving and analyzing data from psychometricians, the Oral Examination Committee sets the pass/fail point and examinees are notified that their results are posted on their ABOS Dashboard at

The Oral Examination Committee has made several improvements to the Examination over the last few years. The biggest change is that the Examination is entirely electronic. All pertinent files are uploaded by the Candidate in the spring and are available to both the Candidate and the Examiners at the time of the Oral Examination. The Committee has tried to ease test anxiety by posting the scoring rubric online, so Candidates and Diplomates know exactly how they are being evaluated. Also, to ease the workload, instead of redacting Protected Health Information (PHI), Diplomates can choose to get permission from their patients to have PHI viewable by the Examiners. Recently, under the direction of ABOS Director Charles Saltzman, MD, Patient Reported Outcomes assessments are now a part of the patient information provided to Examiners of the Part II Oral Examination.

Many of the improvements that the ABOS has made to the Examination have come from Candidates and Diplomates. After each examination session, everyone gathers for a debriefing session. This year I will lead this debriefing session, along with Dr. Jacobs, and look forward to hearing the feedback of the Candidates and recertifying Diplomates.

Peter M. Murray, MD
President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Executive Medical Director’s Report

By now, I hope that you have taken the time to read the report regarding the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) survey results that was distributed on February 5. If not, you can read it by clicking on this link.

This report outlines the survey results that were compiled after nearly 60% of Diplomates completed the survey that was administered jointly by the ABOS and RTI International. The report provides an executive summary of the feedback, but even more importantly it describes how the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) is responding to you.

Nearly 40% of Diplomates who completed the survey said that a Longitudinal Assessment program was their knowledge assessment preference of choice for the next time they need to recertify. We are committed to moving forward with the implementation of a Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (WLA) program as an alternative Knowledge Assessment pathway in the ABOS MOC program.

We know that many Diplomates want this as an option. However, we also know that many Diplomates like the Computer-Based Examination and Oral Recertification Examination pathways for their knowledge assessment and those options are not going away. If you meet the requirements, you will be able to choose whichever of these assessment pathways you prefer.

The WLA is being developed by the ABOS. We will share with you the details once they’ve been decided upon. However, the current plan is to offer a pilot program beginning in 2019 that will be open to all Diplomates. Questions would be delivered online and accessible by a Diplomate’s computer. Passing standards would allow for both yearly and overall credit. Unsuccessful candidates would take a traditional examination.

We will be continuing to communicate details about our new WLA program as they become available. If you will be attending the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting in New Orleans, visit the ABOS Booth and we will have more information to share about the new options. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you have any additional feedback, do not hesitate to contact me at

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

Who Should You Contact?

Every ABOS Candidate and Diplomate is assigned a Certification Specialist whom they can contact regarding Certification or Maintenance of Certification (MOC) questions. Our goal is for you to talk to the same person each time you contact the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS). The assignment is based on the first letter of your last name. Even if you never need to call the office, these are the Certification Specialists who process your Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits and applications, among other responsibilities.

With the recent retirement of Ms. Patsi Furr, who worked with Residency Programs and Part I Candidates for over 25 years, the ABOS has restructured and added a new Certification Specialist, Mrs. Morgen Graham. Some of the Candidate/Diplomate contacts have changed with this new restructuring. The new Certification Specialist contacts are:

A-B: Denise Frazier
C-G: Sonya Parker
H-O: Kim Grover
P-Z: Morgen Graham

However, if you call the ABOS office and your Certification Specialist is not available, any Certification Specialist will be able to provide you with top-notch service. During business hours, our goal is to always have a live person answer the phone, usually Shelia Swiger, our Office Assistant. If you need to reach any other ABOS staff member, we have a full staff directory. Any staff member can also be reached at 919-929-7103.

Should you have any issues, do not hesitate to email me ( or our Executive Medical Director, Dr. David Martin at

Aaron S. White
Chief Operating Officer, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Staff Spotlight

Morgen Graham
Certification Specialist

Our newest Certification Specialist—who is responsible for Diplomates with last names beginning with the letters P through Z—is Mrs. Morgen Graham.

While Morgen was born in South Carolina, she is happy to call North Carolina home with her new husband Charles. Morgen came to North Carolina to attend North Carolina State University and stayed in the area after graduation.

Morgen has worked at various customer service positions in the region and brings both the skills and personality to provide excellent service to our Candidates and Diplomates.

When not in the office, she has diverse interests to keep her busy, including reading, traveling, watching sports, and listening to music.

Morgen can answer your questions about Certification and Maintenance of Certification and can be reached at or 919-929-7103.

Welcome Morgen!

Aaron S. White
Chief Operating Officer, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery


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