American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

The Orthopaedic Resident E-Newsletter Winter 2024

Posted On: March 14, 2024

President’s Message

While Artificial Intelligence has been around for some time, it has continuously evolved and has clearly become a buzz word over the past several years, especially with the development and advancement of user-friendly interfaces such as ChatGPT and other AI platforms.

At our recent Board Meeting, we spent several hours learning about this topic from two physician consultants who are AI experts and had a productive discussion on how the ABOS could use and harness the powers of AI to better assess Diplomates while hopefully reducing burden for all stakeholders. We also discussed possible challenges and threats that this new technology could bring to our board certification process in our mission “to protect the public.”

To further the discussion and explore our opportunities and challenges that no doubt will be in our future, I have asked ABOS Vice President Dr. Scott Porter to lead a Task Force that will be looking into these topics related to AI. We have a diverse group of orthopaedic surgeons who will investigate AI concepts with outside experts and consultants in order to see where we are headed, not just in the immediate future but longer term as well. The ABOS will still be the preeminent certifying board for orthopaedic surgeons but how we go about determining the competency of an orthopaedic surgeon, may need to evolve and change as we consider adopting AI and machine learning into assessing candidates and diplomates.

While we want to investigate the potential of AI for the future, we also know that in our current state, practicing orthopaedic surgeons are still our best asset in helping us carry out our mission. They are the ones writing examination questions, which undergo scrutiny through an arduous process to ensure the questions meet the highest standards for assessment. Until we evaluate the powers of AI more thoroughly and understand its limits, the ABOS has a current policy that prohibits our question writers from using AI to generate questions. In addition, ABOS Diplomates are currently the ones conducting Oral Examinations for Board Certification. Whether AI can help us in this domain remains uncertain, but clearly, we must investigate this potential. AI technology is in its infancy but will no doubt gain rapid acceptance into everyday life as it exponentially grows in its powers. Although AI chat bots may currently seem confident in their answers, they are not always right—they sometimes suffer from “hallucinations.” Clearly, AI is still evolving.

The advancements with AI are coming so quickly that I am afraid what I am writing now might be outdated by the time you read this. However, it is the responsibility of our Orthopaedic profession to keep up with changes in medicine as well as advances in technology. Nothing will change the ABOS’ mission of protecting the public.

James D. Kang, MD
President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

ABOS GME Chair Message

Greetings! As mentioned in the Summer issue of this e-newsletter, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery has partnered with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to integrate orthopaedic resident Case Log entry into the ABOS Knowledge, Skills & Behavior (ABOS KSB) Program web portal and mobile app in one platform. By January 2025, all orthopaedic surgery residency programs should have access to the platform.

As a reminder, starting July 1, 2025, all orthopaedic surgery residents will be required to participate in the ABOS KSB Program to be eligible for the ABOS Part I Examination, starting with the 2026 Examination. The ABOS recently announced the specific participation requirements:

  • Knowledge
    • 3 OITE examinations completed during PGY 1-5
  • Surgical Skills
    • PGY 2-5
      • 80 completed assessments per year
    • PGY 1
      • 12 completed assessments
  • Professional Behavior
    • PGY 2-5
      • 6 completed end-of-rotation assessments per year
    • PGY 1
      • 3 completed end-of-rotation assessments

Participation is required starting on July 1, 2025, and onward. Residents in their final year of training will need to collect the required number of surgical skills and professional behavior assessments only for one year of training. Similarly, residents in the PGY2-4 years will need to fully participate for their remaining years in training. Only the 2025-2026 interns will be required to have five full years of participation. The current requirements do not include a summative assessment or impose a certain level of competency, simply the participation numbers listed above.

All Program Directors and Coordinators have been contacted regarding enrollment, which will occur in a staggered manner over the next nine months. As each program’s particular enrollment date approaches, the ABOS will email residents in that program additional information. Once the participation requirement begins, residents will be able to track their progress through their ABOS Dashboard.

The ABOS has conducted educational outreach, including Grand Rounds at many residency programs, and will continue to do so in order for all residents, faculty, and leadership to understand the program. While you must participate in the ABOS KSB Program to sit for Board Certification, the ABOS believes that the program will directly benefit you by providing real-time formative feedback of your acquisition of orthopaedic knowledge, surgical skills, and professional behavior attributes.

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

Executive Director Report

Customer service seems to be getting worse. When you call a company, you often go through many prompts and may not ever reach a human. The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) is different. When you call us during business hours, there will be a friendly, helpful person on the other end of the line.

The ABOS offers concierge service to our Residents, Candidates, and Diplomates. Every orthopaedic surgeon has a Certification Specialist for whom they are assigned, based on the first letter of their last name. When a Diplomate calls the office, the person who answers the phone will likely transfer him or her directly to the appropriate Certification Specialist. If that person is unavailable, there will always be someone else who can assist.

When we include a question about customer service on an ABOS survey, our staff always receives high marks. Not only are they friendly but are usually able to answer questions or solve issues promptly. Our four Certification Specialists have been working for the ABOS for an average of 14 years. Even if a Diplomate has a unique situation, they have probably encountered it before and know how to help.

However, if a staff member is not able to help you, please reach out to me directly at

You may not even need to reach out to us. The ABOS is working to reduce burden and make our Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification programs beneficial to orthopaedic surgeons while staying true to our mission of protecting the public. If you do need to contact us, you will realize we have a dedicated staff to help you.

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

90 Years of Doing the Right Thing

In 1934—90 years ago—the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) was established in Chicago at the Palmer House—the hotel where the ABOS still conducts Oral Examinations! Throughout this year, the ABOS will be looking back at those 90 years and looking forward to the future.

Celebrate that the ABOS is the longest standing certifying board for orthopaedic surgeons. For 90 years, the ABOS has been doing the right thing, protecting patients, and continuing to adapt and improve our processes. For the next 90 years, the ABOS will continue to innovate and make sure that the Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification processes are meaningful to orthopaedic surgeons.

The ABOS has created a video history of the organization, which you can view here:

Reducing Bias in Examination Questions

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) is committed to eliminating bias in all ABOS assessments. The goal of ABOS computer examinations is to measure the knowledge of the orthopaedic surgeon, no matter the Examinee’s background. The rigor of the ABOS assessments does not change; what may change is how a question is written.

The ABOS is conducting a Differential Item Functioning (DIF) Analysis with psychometricians to look for potential bias in ABOS examination questions. The DIF analysis will determine whether measurement bias exists in questions in the Part I Certification Examination. Measurement bias tells us whether an item performs differently for examinees matched on the same ability level but with different sex/gender or race/ethnicity. Because some questions will perform better or worse due to chance, measurement bias does not determine if the flagged question is biased. Once questions with measurement bias are identified, a panel, who are experts in DEI in examination preparation, will review the questions to determine if item bias exists. If questions are identified to have item bias, the questions will then be reviewed by a panel of orthopaedic surgeons trained in written question bias. Questions that are identified as biased will be removed from the question pool for future examinations and will be used to educate question writers in the future.

In addition, the ABOS will be conducting an item writing bias training session for all question writers. The session will be led by an expert in question item bias in all types of written examinations, not just medical certification examinations. Question writing in general is not easy, and the ABOS appreciates those orthopaedic surgeons who can write quality questions. Bias training teaches ABOS question writers how to screen for and eliminate potential bias in questions.

The ABOS believes that there is no place for bias or discrimination within the field of orthopaedic surgery or within our organization. Question item review is another step in following this guiding principle.

Alternate Date for ABOS Examinations

In 2023, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) offered an alternate date for the ABOS Oral Examinations for those who had a life event making it impossible for them to take the 2023 Oral Examination in July. At a recent ABOS Board Meeting, the Board approved offering an alternate date option for 2024 and beyond to Examinees who are unable to participate in the regularly scheduled Oral Examinations due to a life event including, but not limited to, death in the immediate family, serious injury or illness, military deployment, or recent or impending childbirth.

Those who have registered for a 2024 Oral Examination have received an email from the ABOS about how they can apply for the Alternate Date Oral Examination. The requirements and deadlines do not change for those who are approved by the ABOS Credentials Committee to take an Oral Examination on the Alternate Date. The Alternate Date is for those who have a life event and cannot be used for vacation or travel.

In 2024, the ABOS will also offer an Alternate Date for the ABOS Part I Examination. Residents who have signed up for the Examination have been informed about this option.

The ABOS believes that meeting the Board Certification and Recertification requirements should not be a burden on orthopaedic surgeons and are finding ways to assist while maintaining the highest standards that are expected of ABOS Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Apply to be a Visiting Scholar

Once again, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has partnered with the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) in sponsoring the Visiting Scholars Program for early-career physician specialists and research professionals.

ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholars remain at their home organizations and work with self-selected mentors. They participate in interactive webinars where they provide research project updates to their peers and a select panel of subject matter experts. Visiting Scholars alumni provide guidance, support, and solutions to barriers current Scholars may be experiencing in their research work.

The program is open to early-career physicians, medical and surgical specialists, and research professionals, junior faculty, fellows, and residents, as well as individuals holding master or doctorate degrees in public health, health services research, educational evaluation and statistics, public health policy and administration, or other relevant disciplines.

The program facilitates research projects related to Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification and allows Scholars to be exposed to research on professional assessment, medical education, health policy, and quality improvement.

Visiting Scholars are selected based on the quality of their proposed research project, the relevance of their research to the ABMS certification community priorities, and the likelihood of making substantial progress on the project during the year.

To learn more about previous ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholars and the type of research they conducted, go to The ABMS is hosting an informational webinar on April 23rd. The 2024-2025 application deadline is June 17th.

Board Eligible

To become Board Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS), you must complete an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited orthopaedic surgery residency program and successfully pass the ABOS Part I Computer Examination and the ABOS Part II Oral Examination. You have five years after passing the ABOS Part I Examination (not including time in fellowship) to pass the ABOS Part II Examination. During that time, you are considered “Board Eligible.” Once you pass Part II, you are Board Certified. If you do not pass the Part II Examination during the time you are Board Eligible, you will need to re-take the ABOS Part I Examination and are not Board Eligible again until you pass Part I again.


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