American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Spring 2019 Diplomate

Posted On: April 5, 2019

President’s Message

It was great to see so many of you at last month’s American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting! Well over a thousand attendees came to the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) booth, and many ABOS Diplomates were asking about the new Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA) Program. There is much excitement about this new alternative pathway, but also many questions.

I have personally been asked by many friends what I think is the “best” way to recertify. These same people ask what pathway I will choose. My certificate expires in 2021, and I am going to take the Trauma Computer-Based Recertification Examination this year, since it is the first year of my eligibility. I will then start the ABOS WLA pathway in 2021 for my next recertification in 2031. The aspect of the ABOS WLA that is most appealing to me is the structured method to review the most pertinent literature in orthopaedic surgery. This program will help me stay up to date in the whole body of orthopaedic literature, while simultaneously meeting my Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part III requirements.

There are several important things to consider about the new pathway. Please take special note of the following:

• If your Certificate expires in 2019-2025 and you would like to participate in the ABOS WLA, you must start this year.

• Those Diplomates who have Certificates that expire in 2026-2028 are recommended to begin this year, but are not required to do so. If your Certificate expires in 2029, you cannot begin until 2020, and if your Certificate expires in 2030, you cannot begin until 2021.

• The ABOS WLA is one option in the ABOS menu of Knowledge Assessment pathways. You can still take a Computer-Based or Oral Recertification Examination if that is your preference. You have the ability to participate in the ABOS WLA in the spring of 2019, and if you don’t like the format, you can still take the Computer-Based Recertification Examination in the fall of 2019, if you have a Recertification Application on file.

• If you decide to participate in the ABOS WLA pathway, you still must submit a Recertification Application and Case List, as well as complete the Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Self-Assessment Examination (SAE) credits. Successful completion of the ABOS WLA program meets the knowledge assessment portion of MOC, but a Diplomate is still responsible for completing the other parts. The Recertification Application and CME/SAE are still due in year seven, eight, or nine of your ten-year MOC cycle.

If you are participating in the ABOS WLA program this year, make sure to pick your 15 Knowledge Sources and begin reading them as soon as possible, if you have not done so already. To do this, go to, log in, and then click on “ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment Platform.” You will need to read and review the Knowledge Sources prior to answering questions in the ABOS WLA program.

The 15 Knowledge Sources that you choose will form the basis for the 30 questions (two questions per Knowledge Source) that you will be asked to answer. The questions will come in random order with three minutes allotted to answer each one. The questions are delivered in open-book fashion, but it will be important for you to be familiar with your chosen Knowledge Sources prior to starting to answer the questions.

With more than 100 Knowledge Sources, including approximately 10 in each subspecialty, you should be able to find Knowledge Sources that meet your practice needs and orthopaedic interests. The Sources were chosen by practicing orthopaedic surgeons nominated by the AAOS and the subspecialty societies.

You must answer all 30 questions during the assessment window of April 15-May 20. Again, the deadline for answering the 30 questions is May 20. The assessment fee of $260 for each year you participate ($300 if you hold an ABOS Subspecialty Certificate) is payable and due prior to answering your first question.

We want to know your opinions regarding the ABOS WLA program. Once the assessment window has closed, you will receive a survey on behalf of the ABOS from RTI International. We want your feedback about the entire ABOS WLA pathway, so please honestly and thoughtfully complete the survey. A separate survey will go to those who opt not to take the ABOS WLA, so the ABOS can understand their decision-making as well. Diplomate feedback has been used to develop the ABOS WLA program and platform, and we know that your feedback will help to continually improve all of our programs.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact your ABOS Certification Specialist. (Make sure you read the article in this issue that talks about the ABOS Certification Specialists.) For more information about the ABOS WLA Program, go to There you will find specific information for each Diplomate year of expiration and be able to view the requirements that pertain to your situation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Douglas W. Lundy, MD, MBA
President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Executive Medical Director’s Report

Improving communications with ABOS Diplomates has been one of my priorities since taking over the role of Executive Medical Director at the ABOS three years ago. We have made significant improvements, but there is even more we can do.

For most of our Diplomates, email is the best way to reach them—they have told us that in surveys and focus groups. Email will continue to be our primary vehicle of communication.

You have also told us that you do not want to be inundated with emails. We make a pledge to only send you information that pertains to you. If you see an email from the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, please read it. We will not send “fluff” emails or emails that don’t affect you. For instance, emails about participating in the 2019 Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA) are not being sent to those whose Certificate expires in 2029 and 2030, as they are not eligible to participate in 2019.

Similarly, we have decided to change The Diplomate e-newsletter from monthly to quarterly. We hope you find this e-newsletter valuable and would be happy to hear any suggestions that you have for improvement.

Additionally, you will soon see a revamped website. Besides a new look, we believe it will be easier for you to access the information that you need quickly and efficiently. Later this year, we will launch an updated Diplomate Dashboard.

As you may be aware, we now have a presence on social media and invite you to follow us on the platforms that you are currently using:


We also offer webinars several times a year, which will be announced via email. I enjoy these, as they allow me to interact with Candidates and Diplomates and find out what questions you may have concerning ABOS programs. We had over 200 ABOS Part II Oral Examination Candidates participate in a webinar last month!

For all of our communications, the key is to get the important information to you quickly. You are busy, and we respect your time.

I am always happy to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to call me at the ABOS offices or email me at

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

Your Certification Specialist

When you call the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery during business hours, there is always a live person answering the phone. That person is usually our Office Assistant Shelia Swiger.

The ABOS’s office team includes four Certification Specialists—Denise Frazier, Kim Grover, Morgen Graham, and Sonya Parker. This experienced and seasoned group of individuals is responsible for working directly with ABOS Diplomates and ABOS Part II Candidates, assisting them at every level of the ABOS Board Certification process. ABOS’s Certification Specialists are assigned to a particular section of the alphabet, and it is our hope that you will be able to work with that person for many years, continuing to maintain your ABOS Board Certification status. If your Certification Specialist does happen to be out of the office, we will always have another ABOS team member available to assist you. We also have experienced IT staff who can help you resolve any technical issues that may arise.

ABOS Certification Specialist Diplomate Assignments:

Denise Frazier: Diplomates with last names beginning with A – B
Sonya Parker: Diplomates with last names beginning with C – G
Kim Grover: Diplomates with last names beginning with H – O
Morgen Graham: Diplomates with last names beginning with P – Z

If you have a question after hours, our website at has much information that is regularly updated. To see your particular ABOS Board Certification status, log in to your password protected ABOS Diplomate Dashboard. The information on your Dashboard is in real time and is the same information that we see regarding your status.

Visiting Scholars Deadline Approaching

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) have partnered to support the ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholars Program for the fifth consecutive year. The ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholars Program fosters research that informs physician assessment and certification, supports the development of next generation leaders, and helps build awareness about the value of Board Certification to external audiences. The deadline to apply for the 2019-2020 Program is 5 pm on May 1, 2019.

The one-year, part-time program provides the ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholar with opportunities to:
• Gain exposure to the fields of quality improvement, health care policy, physician assessment, and continuing professional development
• Engage with national health care leaders and the ABMS Member Boards
• Conduct research of value to their programs, organizations, and the certification community
• Present and disseminate their research
• Expand their professional networks

To learn about the projects of the previous ABOS-ABMS Scholars and view videos from two of them, click on this link. The ABOS has sponsored four highly accomplished Visiting Scholars and is continuing to support the program. This is a great chance for residents and junior faculty to become involved in assessment and certification and also perform funded research. Please share this program with your colleagues and residents. It is a wonderful opportunity.

Remaining at their home institutions and organizations, the Visiting Scholars participate in program webinars and pursue research projects in collaboration with identified mentors. Visiting Scholars also participate in three, three-day meetings during the course of the year, with the ABMS, ABMS Member Board leaders, and the leadership of ABMS Associate Members, among others. Once the year is over, scholars can continue their ties with the ABOS and ABMS Board Communities through an alumni network. Visiting Scholars receive a stipend to support their research and program participation.

The Visiting Scholars Program is open to early career physicians, junior faculty, fellows, residents, and individuals holding a Master’s or Doctorate in public health, health services research, and public health policy and administration, or other related disciplines.

Click here to read more about the program and the application process.


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