American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

September 2018 Diplomate

Posted On: September 1, 2018

President’s Message

Residency program accreditation is a key component of ABOS Board Certification.

To become certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS), a surgeon must have completed a residency program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The core program requirements for program accreditation are determined by the Orthopaedic Surgery Review Committee (RC). The RC is an autonomous committee composed of practicing orthopaedic surgeons, a resident representative, and a public member. In evaluating orthopaedic residency programs, the RC considers a number of metrics including the number of residents, program organization, educational experience, participating sites, resident and faculty surveys, resident and faculty scholarly activity, resident case logs and institutional support.

There are currently more than 160 accredited orthopaedic residency programs in the United States. These programs are continuously reviewed by the RC for program quality and adherence to the core program requirements. In 2016, the RC began granting initial accreditation to osteopathic residency programs through the ACGME.

The ABOS has enjoyed a collaborative relationship with the RC for many years, and the ABOS populates several members on the RC. This is good for the “House of Orthopaedic Surgery” as we try to better align resident curricula with ABOS knowledge, skills, and behavioral competency. Recently the ABOS revised its Rules and Procedures to better accommodate medical leaves of absence and address overall resident well-being. Forty-six weeks of orthopaedic surgery training per year is required, averaged over the 5 years, and no resident is permitted to work more than 50 weeks per year.

In addition to helping with ACGME accreditation, the ABOS stipulates what the resident should learn over the five years of residency education. That can be found in ABOS’s Part I Rules and Procedures. The ABOS and the American Orthopaedic Association’s (AOA) Council of Orthopaedic Residency Directors (CORD) have developed a Surgical Skills Assessment Program for orthopaedic surgery residents. In the 2017-2018 academic year, a pilot study of the program was undertaken by 16 residency programs across the country and was extremely successful.

This assessment tool is now available to all residency programs on a volunteer basis. This Surgical Skills Assessment Tool allows faculty to assess resident surgical skills in the performance of certain core orthopaedic surgery procedures. In the program, the resident is responsible for requesting assessments on specific cases. The faculty is then responsible for completing a short surgical skill assessment. All of this is done on a smartphone platform, making the process time efficient and unobtrusive. Completed assessments are sent back to the resident and program director for documentation and feedback real-time.

All program directors have been invited to participate. If you have not received this invitation or would like additional information, you can contact the ABOS Office at 919-929-7103 and ask for Sonya Parker.

It is an honor to serve the public as the President of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. As always, if you have any feedback, please email me at

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

Executive Medical Director’s Report

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has permanently moved the dates of all ABOS Computer-Based Recertification Examinations from the Spring to August 1-September 30. This change will begin with the 2019 Recertification Examinations. In addition, if you are eligible to take a 2019 Recertification Examination and have not finalized your Application and Case List, the ABOS has extended the application deadline until December 1, 2018.

With the ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment Program (ABOS WLA) being launched in the Spring of 2019 and the ABOS mission to tighten the time between the application due date and the dates that the examinations are given, the ABOS has decided to move all Computer-Based Recertification Examinations to August and September. Currently, most of these examinations take place in the Spring, with the exception of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Surgery of the Hand Combined and Practice-Profiled Examinations. Next year, all of the ABOS Computer-Based Examinations will be offered during the same time period.

The Initial Subspecialty Examinations in Surgery of the Hand and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine will take place on August 1, 2019. The date of the Oral Recertification Examination will be July 22, 2019.

In 2018 the ABOS offered seven Practice-Profiled Examination options, in addition to the General Orthopaedics option. In 2019, the ABOS will continue to offer all of those options and will add an eighth Practice-Profiled Examination: a Shoulder and Elbow Practice-Profiled Examination. If you are interested in taking this Examination and have already finalized your Application and Case List, please contact your ABOS Certification Specialist.

In addition, if you are interested in earning your Subspecialty Certification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine or Surgery of the Hand and qualify, the ABOS now allows you to sit for the Subspecialty Examination and have it count for both your General Recertification and Initial Subspecialty Certificate if you take the Examination during your 3-year Recertification window. Diplomates are required to complete a Subspecialty Application, a Case List, and submit an Application Fee, in addition to completing the Recertification Application, the Recertification Case List, and submitting an Application Fee. However, the Diplomate is only required to pay the Subspecialty Examination Fee. Your Certification Specialist can help with this as well.

With the ABOS WLA starting next year, Diplomates have numerous options to maintain their Certification. We will provide additional information on the ABOS WLA in October.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions.

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


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