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In This Issue
Time to Update Our Databases
Is Public Reporting Valuable? Show Me the Evidence!
ABR Implements Continuous Certification
Focus on Diagnostic Radiology - DO Alternate Pathway
Focus on Radiation Oncology - Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Focus on Medical Physics - Board Eligibility
Focus on Residents - Shakespeare's Insult
Letter to 2nd Year Residents
ABRF Announces 2012 Summit
2013 Core Pilot Exam Information
Louisville 2011: Travails of Travel
Quick Links


ABR Website


ABR Exam Calendar 


Personal Database (PDB)


ABR Video

Focused Practice Pilot Programs Now Available

The American Board of Radiology (ABR) announces new innovative pilot programs in Focused Practice Recognition, offering unique value previously unavailable through conventional American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) primary and subspecialty certification. The programs are designed for diagnostic radiologists who maintain a significant practice emphasis in cardiac CT or radiation oncologists whose practices focus on brachytherapy. In addition to other requirements, candidates must be ABR diplomates and active participants in Maintenance of Certification (MOC).

Read more

Important: Check your PDB!


Keeping ABMS and ABR reporting accurate requires a teamwork approach to ensure information is current (see article on public reporting). If you are using the CME Gateway to report CME and self-assessment modules (SAMs) to the ABR, please note that automatically recorded credits do not always transfer into the PDB as expected. Please verify that credits are properly recorded on your PDB.


If credit earned from a specialty society is not there, you should contact that society to report the issue. You are always able to record "self-reported" credits on your PDB; however, if the same credit comes through the Gateway, please delete it from your self-recorded credits to avoid inadvertent double reporting.

In addition, please continue to report other MOC progress, including license status, non-Gateway CME and SAMs, and practice quality improvement (PQI) projects on your PDB. Remember to update your PDB with any changes to your contact information, including telephone numbers and email addresses

ABR Administers First Exam in New Chicago Center 

The first examinations at the ABR's new Chicago Exam Center - diagnostic radiology (DR) and subspecialty MOC exams -were successfully given to 372 candidates on April 16, 2012. The next administration of these exams, as well as the pediatric and neuroradiology initial certifying subspecialty exams, will take place at the Chicago Exam Center on October 18-19, 2012. 

The ABR's DR and subspecialty MOC exams now will be offered twice yearly at the new Chicago Center. They will take place on one day, with two sessions held during the day. In 2013, the MOC exams also will be administered at the ABR's new Tucson Exam Center for the first time. Finally, the ABR's new diagnostic radiology Core Examination (also known as the Exam of the Future, or EOF) will be delivered for the first time in Chicago and Tucson in the fall of 2013. Read more.

2012 CMS PQRS Maintenance of Certification Program Incentive

The ABR has received conditional approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Physician Quality Reporting System: Maintenance of Certification (PQRS:MOC) Incentive as a submitter of data for 2012. CMS requires submitters of data to apply for approval on an annual basis. As soon as we receive final approval and specific information on 2012 requirements from CMS, we will notify ABR diplomates by email and through announcements posted on the ABR website. Participation in the program is optional.
ABR Appoints  Kaled Alektiar, MD, as New Trustee


The American Board of Radiology (ABR) has appointed Kaled M. Alektiar, MD, as a new trustee for radiation oncology, effective July 1, 2012. Dr. Alektiar is a member of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He will replace Kian Ang, MD, chair of the Division of Radiation Oncology for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, who served as an ABR trustee for eight years. Read more

ABR Elects New Officers
Milton J. Guiberteau, MD

The American Board of Radiology (ABR) Board of Trustees has elected Milton J. Guiberteau, MD, as president-elect, and Geoffrey S. Ibbott, PhD, as secretary-treasurer, effective July 1, 2012. Dr. Guiberteau is chief of nuclear medicine and academic chief, Department of Medical Imaging, St. Joseph Medical Center, and clinical professor of radiology and nuclear medicine at the University of Texas medical school in Houston. He will replace James P. Borgstede, MD, professor and vice-chair, Department of Radiology, University of Colorado, who will become the next president of the Board on July 1. 

Geoffrey S. Ibbott, PhD

Dr. Ibbott is professor and chair, Department of Radiation Physics, Division of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He will replace Richard L. Morin, PhD, professor of radiologic physics, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, who has served as secretary-treasurer since 2008 and as assistant executive director of initial certification since 2007.  Read more.

ABR logo 

Volume 5, Issue 2, Spring 2012


ABR logoPlease note that this version of The Beam has a correction in the "Ask the Director" article on public reporting by Dr. Becker. If you have questions or suggestions about how we can improve our newsletter to better meet your needs, please send an e-mail to If you'd like to share this newsletter with a friend or colleague, .

From the Editor

Time to Update Our Databases

by Thomas H. Berquist, MD, ABR Trustee 


So much has occurred over the last decade. External forces have led to significant activity increases for the American Board of Radiology (ABR) and the 24 Member Boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Many of the changes have been driven by healthcare reform and increased public scrutiny of medicine in general.

An important new change for all practicing diagnostic radiologists, radiation oncologists, and medical physicists is the new public reporting initiative. Beginning August 31, 2012, the ABMS will begin reporting the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) status of diplomates of its Member Boards. The information will be posted on the ABMS public website (  Your status will be reported as either "meeting requirements of MOC" or "not meeting requirements of MOC." The ABMS website will provide a link to the ABR website where further clarification of your status will be provided ( The status categories listed by the ABR include the following:

  • Certified, meeting the requirements of MOC
  • Certified, not required to participate in MOC (lifetime status)
  • Certified, not meeting the requirements of MOC
  • Not certified; certificate lapsed
  • Lifetime-certified with MOC subspecialty (reported as meeting requirements if current) 
     Read More.



Ask the Director
Is Public Reporting Valuable? Show Me the Evidence!
by Gary J. Becker, MD, ABR Executive Director 



An important piece in this issue by Dr. Thomas Berquist, editor of The Beam, alerts the diagnostic radiology, radiation oncology, and medical physics communities to the upcoming implementation of a new standard on public reporting. Beginning August 31, 2012, the certificate status of diplomates from American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Member Boards will be listed on the ABMS website [1]. At the same time, the ABR will roll-out a new "verification of diplomate status" feature on its own website. No doubt some of you are asking, "Why are the ABMS and the ABR concerned about or involved in public reporting?" Others may be asking, "Does public reporting really benefit anyone?"


In this article, I offer some background and perspective explaining the history of the specialty board movement's accountability to the public. I'm quite sure it will help you view this new standard as the next logical step along a maturation continuum of our duty as medical professionals. Finally, I discuss some real and potential benefits of public reporting--not only to consumers/patients, insurers, and healthcare purchasers, but also to society at large and the practitioners themselves.  Read more.



ABR Implements Continuous Certification
MOC logo


The ABR has developed a new integrated process that links the ongoing validity of certificates to meeting the requirements of Maintenance of Certification (MOC). Under the new process, known as "Continuous Certification," ABR certificates will no longer have "valid-through" dates. Instead, on each new certificate in diagnostic radiology, radiation oncology, or medical physics, the date of initial certification will be noted and accompanied by the statement that ". . . ongoing certification is contingent upon meeting the requirements of Maintenance of Certification." This policy change is being implemented beginning with all certificates issued in 2012, including new ABR certificates that will be issued to candidates who pass the oral examination in May. This new system will encourage diplomates to engage in more continuous professional development, meet their MOC requirements, and avoid a lapse of certification.

Avoiding a lapse of certification is very important because beginning August 31, 2012, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) will report on its public website,, whether or not each physician certified by one of the ABMS Member Boards, including the ABR, is meeting MOC requirements for each certificate held. The ABR is also creating its own online verification database of its diplomates, which will be available by August 31 on the ABR website ( Read more.



Focus on Diagnostic Radiology

DO Alternate Pathway   
by Duane G. Mezwa, MD, ABR Trustee


Physicians who have completed their radiology residency in osteopathic hospital systems in the United States or Canada are considered eligible for the Alternate Pathway for Osteopathic Physicians. If they have completed a clinical year at an ACGME, AOA, or RCPSC-approved program, and four years of diagnostic radiology training at a facility approved by the American Osteopathic College of Radiology and the American Osteopathic Association (see list of programs here), they are eligible to pursue certification by the American Board of Radiology through either of two pathways: the Standard (ACGME residency) Pathway or the Alternate Pathway. Read more.


Focus on Radiation Oncology   

ABR Subspecialty Certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine   

by Paul E. Wallner, DO, ABR Associate Executive Director for Radiation Oncology



Thanks to significant advances in the early diagnosis and management of cancer over the past several decades, patients are generally living longer but may still develop loco-

regional disease recurrence or metastases, with a need for palliative and/or terminal care. Often that care may be delivered by teams of multidisciplinary specialists, working together to meet the physical, spiritual, legal, ethical, and emotional needs of patients, as well as their support systems and the caregivers themselves.


In recognition of the educational and training requirements for this multidisciplinary effort, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (ABHPM), a non-American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Member Board that had been offering an HPM subspecialty certificate, approached the ABMS in 2005 with a proposal to develop an ABMS-approved subspecialty certificate in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM). In 2006, the ABMS approved the implementation of an HPM certificate as a subspecialty, with the cooperative participation of 10 ABMS Member Boards with interest and involvement in the new subspecialty. The American Board of Radiology (ABR) is one of the constituent Member Boards entitled to offer the subspecialty certificate to its current diplomates. Read more. 



Focus on Medical Physics
Board Eligible - A New Status
by ABR Medical Physics Trustees Geoffrey S. Ibbott, PhD; Richard L. Morin, PhD; and Jerry Allison, PhD; and ABR Associate Executive Director for Medical Physics G. Donald Frey, PhD
From left: Drs. Morin, Ibbott, Frey and Allison
For many years, individuals have used the term "board eligible" to indicate that they are eligible to take the ABR examination. This could be important to an individual for purposes of obtaining or holding a job or for credentialing by his or her employers. The use of this term has taken place in spite of the fact that the board itself did not recognize the status of "board eligible." To the ABR, one was either "in-process" or "certified." To correct this situation, the ABR recently adopted the term "board eligible" to designate candidates that are progressing toward full certification. Read more.

Focus on Residents

"Shakespeare's Insult"
by Rachel Lagos, PGY-4, West Virginia University Hospitals


Improving the On-call Radiology Resident Readout Session:

Systems Based Learning Project 

"Your mind is tossing on the ocean."  

The Merchant of Venice 1.1.8

On-call radiology resident readout sessions can be efficiently structured to provide more timely and accurate finalized reports. Such efficiency provides better service to our referring physicians; optimizes radiology department performance; relieves the resident and the attending from redundant work activities; and prevents resident duty hour violations.


The Painful Readout Session

"You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the job."

Much Ado About Nothing 3.3.22-23

The readout session can be the most agonizing portion of a call shift. The resident is most tired, hungry and inattentive. Reading out studies from a twelve-hour shift often involves a resident fumbling through a list of hand-scribbled notes or revising the last three sentences just uttered as he or she finally remembers the case being reviewed. Read more.

On the ABR's Core Examination: an Open Letter to a Second-Year Resident

by Dr. Sanjeev Bhalla, Core Exam Committee Chair, Thoracic Section; Professor of Radiology; Chief, Cardiothoracic Imaging Section; and Assistant Radiology Residency Program Director, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri


Dear Second-Year Resident,


Now that you have started taking call, I almost never see you. I hope you are well. Perhaps because fourth years are starting oral board reviews or simply because of the uncertainty involved with taking a new exam, you may be anxious about the ABR's new Core Examination. I hope I can help assuage your fears by explaining some of the specifics.


First, a bit of exciting news you may have already heard: The ABR will offer a full-length Core Pilot Examination in June 2013. This will be a great opportunity to gain exposure to the same type of exam you will take in October 2013. It will give you a feel for the pace and technology of the exam, plus the questions have been written and vetted in the same way the actual exam is created. Although you won't get credit for taking the exam, feedback will be provided to help you focus your studying. The Pilot Exam will be free, but the added costs of lodging and travel are on you. If you think of this pilot as a review for the exam--better than any review course--the cost is a little more palatable. I suggest budgeting for it. Read more.


American Board of Radiology Foundation Announces 2012 Summit  

 August 23-24, 2012, marks the American Board of Radiology Foundation's (ABRF's) third Summit Conference, entitled "Safe Use in Medical Imaging: Developing a Systematic and Patient Centered Approach."  


The invitational conference will take place at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The Summit is the first step of an enduring partnership, with semi-annual meetings and interim activities planned.


The ABRF is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to demonstrate, enhance, and continuously improve accountability to the public in the use of medical imaging and radiation therapy. This public-private partnership will address the critical issue of safety in medical imaging. Approximately 50 representatives of potential partner organizations have been invited. Read more.

2013 Core Pilot Exam Information 


All third-year residents who are eligible to take the first Core Exam in October 2013 will also be eligible to take the Core Pilot Exam in June 2013. To accommodate all residents who wish to take the pilot, the ABR will offer two administrations - one on June 20-21, 2013, and the other on June 24-25, 2013. Each administration will consist of two 5.25-hour sessions over two days for a total of 10.5 hours, which duplicates the length of the Core Examination. Each 10.5-hour exam consists of one afternoon session (1 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.), followed by one morning session (7:45 a.m. - 1 p.m.) the next day.


The Core Pilot Exam will be offered simultaneously at the ABR's Chicago and Tucson Exam Centers. Candidates will be able to register for the Core Pilot Exam beginning in early 2013, and instructions will be made available at that time.


Incentive to candidates:

  • Gain experience with taking the Core Pilot Exam in the same exam center where you will take the actual Core Exam.
  • Obtain performance feedback in time to direct additional preparation for the Core Exam in October 2013.

 Additional Information:

  • A practice Core Exam will be available on the ABR website at the end of 2012.
  • A pilot of this type will be held only in 2013.
  • Candidates' performance on the pilot will NOT affect their results on the actual Core Exam.
  • The ABR will use data gathered from the Core Pilot Exam to evaluate the performance of the overall exam, and to make appropriate adjustments in content configuration and/or scoring approach prior to the first administration of the Core Exam in October 2013.

As further details become available, more information will be posted on the ABR Website.

Louisville 2011: Travails of Travel
by Eva Wilson, Communications Coordinator


Photo by Reuters
Even when things go smoothly and according to schedule, we all know that airline travel these days is not as much fun as it used to be. But the perseverance of some of our travelers en route to and from the 2011 ABR Oral Exam in Louisville, Kentucky, is truly remarkable. Here are a few of their tales of dogged determination while enduring the repercussions of power losses, hail and thunderstorms, tornadoes and even volcanic eruptions.

Power Outages

Oral examiners Drs. Claire Bender, Bob Maxwell, and Joe Tashjian began their travel in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where there was a Saturday morning power outage affecting three of the airport's six terminals for 9 hours. The jetways at 63 gates were inoperable, and Delta Airlines was forced to cancel at least 250 flights. Stranded, the trio was subsequently booked on four different flights, the last of which left close to 9:00 p.m. Fortunately for Dr. Tashjian, he didn't check his luggage, but the other two did. Their bags finally arrived two days later. Knowing that part of ACGME training is professionalism, Dr. Bender - feeling uncomfortable clad in just running pants and a beautifully distinguished fishing shirt - jumped into a cab on Sunday night with Dr. Maxwell to drive to Target in search of suitable clothing. She quickly discovered that the people of Louisville, including that cab driver, know who the ABR is and truly value our annual presence. Dr. Bender came away from the experience with a new appreciation for humor and resiliency.

Read more.

Thank you for reading this issue of The Beam. If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, please email 
Gary J. Becker, MD, Executive Director
American Board of Radiology
Copyright 2012. The American Board of Radiology, 5441 E. Williams Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85711
Phone: (520) 790-2900  Fax: (520) 790-3200