American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

The Orthopaedic Resident E-Newsletter Summer 2023

Posted On: August 24, 2023

ABOS GME Chair Message

Greetings residents! The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) creates a twice-yearly e-newsletter for all orthopaedic surgery residents. I strongly encourage you to read every issue. Whether you realize it or not, the ABOS impacts you as soon as you begin your residency training. The Board’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 residency training.

There are several important recent changes to ABOS Programs that all orthopaedic surgery residents need to know about:

  1. Orthopaedic residents at all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited Programs planning to participate in the ABOS Certification process will be required to participate in the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Knowledge, Skills & Behavior (ABOS KSB) Program starting July 1, 2025.
  2. The ABOS is proud to announce a new collaboration with the ACGME to integrate orthopaedic resident Case Log entry into the ABOS KSB web portal and mobile app in one platform. Residents will be able to enter case logs as required by the ACGME as well as request ABOS KSB Surgical Skills Assessments through one case entry system. Residents will enter all of their ACGME Case Logs via the ABOS KSB app or web portal for this program. All cases must be logged, not just cases that a resident is submitting for ABOS KSB Surgical Skills assessments. I recently participated in the ABOS Podcast with Dr. Mary Klingensmith of the ACGME to talk about this collaboration. You can listen here or through most podcast apps. Throughout this academic year, the ABOS will be approaching individual residency programs to transition to the new integrated ABOS KSB/ACGME Case Logs app. Please continue to submit them separately, until your residency is approached by the ABOS.
  3. The ABOS Part I Examination Application deadline has been moved to October 1st of your PGY-5 year. That will be the deadline to apply to take the Examination the following July. The Application is currently available to PGY-5 residents on their Dashboard, again, with a submission deadline of October 1st.

The ABOS is happy to virtually provide a Grand Rounds or other type of presentation to your program, outlining these changes. We can give an overview of the changes and answer any questions that you have. If your program is interested, please have your Program Director or Program Coordinator reach out to us to schedule a presentation.

Lisa A. Taitsman, MD, MPH
Chair, ABOS Graduate Medical Education Committee

Executive Director Report

When I was an orthopaedic surgery resident in the 1980s, I knew that the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) was the organization that administered examinations and was responsible for the Board Certification Process. I understood that it was a prestigious organization, but I did not know much about it. This article should help explain what the Board is, what the Board does and what considerations are important to you during your orthopaedic surgery residency.

While many orthopaedic surgeons think that the ABOS is not part of residency, the organization has had a role in orthopaedic surgery education since its founding in 1934. The ABOS sets standards for orthopaedic education, which is a role that the Board takes very seriously. While the ABOS has begun to provide assessment tools for competency-based model medical education, the time-based residency educational model is not going away. The ABOS will continue to set minimum lengths for various rotations and for residency in general. The ABOS does provide flexibility to both programs and residents, requiring an average of 46 weeks of residency education each year over a five-year program. The ABOS also provides tools such as the Surgical Skills Modules and the ABOS Knowledge, Skills, and Behavior (ABOS KSB) Program. Residents can now get valuable feedback in these important areas of their development. In two years, all orthopaedic surgery residents who apply to take the ABOS Part I Examination will be required to have participated in the ABOS KSB Program during their residencies.

Most orthopaedic surgery residents take the ABOS Part I Examination immediately after they complete their residency program. The ABOS Part I Examination is designed to evaluate a candidate’s knowledge of general orthopaedics, the basic science of orthopaedics, and his or her ability to use this information for problem solving in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Nearly 900 Candidates took the 2023 ABOS Part I Examination last month at a Prometric Testing Center, and they will receive their scores soon. When I sat for the Examination, all candidates flew to Chicago and took the examination in the large ballroom of a hotel. More recently, the ABOS Part I Examination has been administered at Prometric Test Centers across the country. Starting in 2024, the ABOS Part I Examination will be offered at Pearson VUE Professional Testing Centers across the United States.

The ABOS and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) have collaborated on the development of a collection of examination items (questions) that are included on both the ABOS Part I Examination and the AAOS Orthopaedic In‐Training Examination (OITE). The purpose of including a set of common items on both examinations is to identify the score on the AAOS OITE that approximately corresponds to the minimum passing performance level on the ABOS Part I Certifying Examination. This approximation is based on a relatively small sample of shared items and is not a guarantee of your future performance on the ABOS Part I Examination. However, the scores can help you gauge your progress in attaining orthopaedic knowledge. These scores can be found on your ABOS Dashboard. You can learn more about the “linking” here.

Orthopaedic surgeons have five years after passing the ABOS Part I Examination (not including time in fellowship) to pass the ABOS Part II Examination. Last month, about 900 candidates few to Chicago to take the 2023 ABOS Part II Oral Examination. There are others who have been approved for medical or other reasons to take the ABOS Part II Oral Examination on an alternate date in October. The purpose of the Oral Examination is to evaluate the candidate’s clinical competence. This is done through a credentialing process and an examination based on their own operative cases.

The candidate must submit a Case List to the ABOS. Case selectors then choose 12 Selected Cases from that list for the candidate to present at the time of the examination. All pertinent materials for those cases must be uploaded and presented. The examination is divided into four 30-minute periods with two examiners in each period and a 5-minute break between periods. Examiners ask questions pertinent to the cases presented. Specific skills that are evaluated are data gathering, diagnosis and interpretive skills, treatment plan, technical skill, outcomes, and applied knowledge. I highly recommend that you watch the Mock Oral Examination video so that you can see how the Examination is administered. When I took the ABOS Part II Oral Examination, I had to pack an extra suitcase containing my patients’ x-rays and notes. Thankfully, an extra suitcase has not been necessary for many years as Candidates now upload the required documents and images ahead of time, and the images are then made available at the time of the examination on the Examiner and Examinee computers.

Once an orthopaedic surgeon is successful in completing the ABOS Part II Oral Examination, they become ABOS Board Certified for 10 years and are part of the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. That term is confusing to some but as a practicing orthopaedic surgeon, you will be accomplishing many of the requirements as part of your practice already. The general concept of Continuing Certification has been part of the ABOS since 1986. Requirements include:

  • Holding a clear and valid medical license and maintaining hospital privileges.
  • Earning Continuing Medical Education and Self-Assessment Examination Credits.
  • Completing a Knowledge Assessment Pathway.
  • Completing an Application, Case List, and being reviewed by peers.

The MOC requirements are not much more than most orthopaedic surgeons are already doing for licensure and hospital requirements. I am actively participating in the MOC Program. It benefits not only the Diplomate, but also the patients who we are taking care of according to a growing body of literature. For those who have a fellowship in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine or Surgery of the Hand, we also offer ABOS Subspecialty Certification in those areas.

The ABOS has been a big part of my professional life for more than 20 years, first as a volunteer and now as its Executive Director. I see through our Board of Directors, other volunteers, and staff how everyone is dedicated to making a Board Certification Program that is relevant but not overly burdensome. We are here to protect the public.

Make sure you review the ABOS Residency to Retirement Roadmap to learn more. Please also reach out to your Certification Specialist if you have any questions.

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

ABOS Roadmap

Based on a recommendation from the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Resident Advisory Panel, the ABOS has launched the ABOS Residency to Retirement Roadmap. By going to, you can access important information about the ABOS impact on each stage of your career: Residency, Initial Board Certification, and Maintenance of Certification. If you have suggestions on how to make this even more relevant to you, please let us know.

DEI Audit

Thank you to the orthopaedic surgery residents who completed the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery’s (ABOS) Organizational Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (DEI) Survey. The survey is part of a larger DEI audit that the ABOS has undertaken with GOODSTOCK Consulting.

Last month, GOODSTOCK presented its findings and recommendations to the ABOS Board of Directors. The Board is now working to determine how best to address their recommendations and the ABOS will report back to you when plans have been made.

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 an ABOS standing committee. The Board wants to be sure no ABOS Examination or Board Certification process is biased. Examination 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 ABOS Oral Examiners covering the topic of “understanding bias.” About three-fourths of Oral Examiners said that the videos were helpful. Based on the Examiners’ feedback, the ABOS updated the video and required that Oral Examiners watched the video prior to performing oral examinations. The ABOS Written Examination Committee is working to investigate and eliminate potentially biased examination questions from ABOS Computer-Based Examinations.

ABOS Announces Four Exceptional Residents for Advisory Panel

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has selected four exceptional orthopaedic surgery residents 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 pertinent to residency education, 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.

The next application period will open in January 2024. All residents will receive an email at that time with details about the application process.

“While we are sad to see the inaugural first group of members of the ABOS 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.

Michael Bednar Named ABOS Associate Executive Director

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, began his role Associate Executive Director of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery on July 1, 2023, after a national search earlier in the year. This position is a part-time one and Dr. Bednar will continue to treat patients in Chicago.

Dr. Bednar was elected to the ABOS Board of Directors in 2014 and has served as President as well as Chair of ABOS’ Written Examinations Committee. He has a long history of writing examination questions as well as reviewing questions. Dr. Bednar resigned as a member of the ABOS Board of Directors 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 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.

As the ABOS Associate Executive Director, Dr. Bednar assumes 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), and ABOS Subspecialty Examinations. He will manage the development process of those examinations, including blueprint updating, question writing, field testing, form reviewing, and standard setting. Dr. Bednar will also be responsible for engaging and educating an extensive volunteer force to participate in test development.


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