Summer 2016  Volume 9, Issue 3
From the Editor
The ABR Is Listening
by Lane F. Donnelly, MD
We are pleased to present to you the latest edition of The BEAM. As always, our goal is to keep the ABR's candidates and diplomates informed about changes in the landscape of professional certification. 
As ABR leadership, we are constantly trying to improve our processes to protect the public and meet the needs of our diplomates. In considering potential changes, ABR leadership highly relies on feedback from diplomates regarding our processes. Response to this feedback has been demonstrated in a number of recent changes to certification practices, several of which are described in this edition of The BEAM.
From the President
Online Longitudinal Assessment Update:
Work Begins on MOC Part 3 Revision
by Milton J. Guiberteau, MD
ABR "Online Longitudinal Assessment," or "OLA," is now the official moniker adopted by the Board for the new, more continuous process to be vetted as a replacement for the ABR's current secure, proctored MOC Part 3 examination, taken every 10 years. As announced to all of our diplomates on May 18, 2016, the ABR is developing a pilot to establish OLA's alignment with the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) 2015 MOC Standard for assessment of radiology professionals' knowledge, skill, and judgement. 

The pilot is also designed to refine the technical aspects of online delivery and obtain necessary feedback from MOC participants to ensure a process that meets their expectations. Work on this innovative and resource-intensive project has now begun in earnest so we can meet our previously stated goals of initiating the diplomate pilot in the latter part of 2018, with subsequent launch of a final version for diagnostic radiology by mid-2019.
Call for Applications - ABR Examination Committee Volunteers
The American Board of Radiology (ABR) is issuing a Call for Applications for volunteers to serve on its Initial Certification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) examination committees.
As reported in Dr. Guiberteau's article above, the ABR is currently developing a pilot that may potentially replace its MOC Part 3 requirement to pass a traditional proctored examination every 10 years. The pilot Part 3 assessment tool, known as ABR Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA), will incorporate modern and more relevant adult learning concepts to provide psychometrically valid sampling of diplomate knowledge. 
Additional volunteers are needed to launch this important new program and continue work on the existing exams. Committee members must have practiced in the field for at least one year, be certified by the ABR (or ABMP for medical physics), and meet requirements of the MOC program. They serve a three-year term, renewable once. The total time commitment is approximately 50 to 70 hours per year.
More information on volunteering for the ABR can be found at To apply, please complete and submit the ABR volunteer application form, which can be found here.
Focus on Maintenance of Certification
Reminder: Simplified Attestation
by Vincent P. Mathews, MD, ABR Board of Governors
On January 1, 2016, the ABR implemented a process of Simplified Attestation for diplomates enrolled in Maintenance of Certification (MOC). Consequently, diplomates are no longer required to upload specific information regarding their MOC participation. They are required only to attest that they have met the requirements for Parts 1, 2, and 4 of MOC. (The ABR will already know the status of Part 3, which is the MOC examination.)
The specific requirements of each part are clearly stated during the attestation process. If the ABR has information from other sources, such as the CME Gateway, stating that the diplomate has met requirements, this will be reflected automatically in the diplomate's status. The group practice administrator can still attest on behalf of diplomates using MOC Team Tracker. Ultimately, however, the diplomate is responsible for the accuracy of the attestation. In the event of an audit, the diplomate will need to produce specific information regarding licensure, CME, and PQI. Simplified attestation FAQs are available on the ABR website via this link.
Focus on Residents
Strategy for Success: Diagnostic Radiology Certifying Exam
by ABR Trustee Donald J. Flemming, MD
You have completed five years of residency training, and most candidates in the current work environment will also complete at least one year of fellowship training. Now you are faced with taking the ABR Certifying Exam just three months after moving and starting a new job. Seems like a daunting task! This article will provide a roadmap for preparing for the Certifying Exam and will also address common questions and concerns about it.

The Certifying Exam currently consists of five components. Two parts, Essentials and Noninterpretive Skills (NIS), are compulsory. Candidates choose the other three components based on their practice patterns and expertise. Preparation for the exam should be organized as follows. 

General Preparation
Studying for this exam should be similar to preparing for any exam you have taken on the long road to becoming a board-certified radiologist. A common concern for many candidates is that radiology is too broad a discipline, and it is difficult to understand how to focus your efforts in a limited amount of time. 
Focus on Quality and Safety
Noninterpretive Skills: Changing the Approach for the ABR Examinations in Diagnostic Radiology 
by Lane F. Donnelly, MD, ABR Trustee for Quality and Safety
In a previous article in The BEAM [1], we outlined concerns raised by ABR candidates and diplomates about test items on Quality and Safety (Q&S) on the Core Examination and about Noninterpretive Skills (NIS) on the Certifying and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) examinations. Concerns included that Q&S and NIS questions and material were not relevant to the clinical radiology practice of many diplomates, and that this material was over-represented on the examinations. Consequently, an NIS Workgroup was formed to review and revise the approach to exam content on the topics of Q&S and NIS. Based on the recommendations of the workgroup, the changes described below have been made.

A Single NIS Process

Historically, separate committees, syllabi, and processes existed for the Q&S exam questions on the Core Exam and NIS questions on the Certifying and MOC exams. Now, there will be a single NIS process to create this type of exam content for all ABR examinations, including the Core, Certifying, and current Maintenance of Certification examinations.   
Focus on Interventional Radiology
Upcoming Options for Obtaining American Board of Radiology IR/DR Certification
by Anne C. Roberts, MD, Associate Executive Director for Interventional Radiology 
As you may be aware, in 2012 the American Board of Radiology was approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to begin issuing specialty certification in interventional radiology/diagnostic radiology (IR/DR). Physicians beginning their Vascular and Interventional Radiology (VIR) fellowship in July 2015 will be the first group to be able to earn this new certification. 

Below is information about the two options available for earning certification. 

Option 1:
  • Take the DR Certifying Exam in fall 2016 at the ABR Exam Center in either Chicago or Tucson
    • If passed, the candidate will be issued DR certification.
  • Then take the IR/DR Certifying Exam (oral component only) in fall 2017 in Tucson.
    • If passed, the candidate will be  issued IR/DR certification.
  • Candidates will be required to complete one year of post-fellowship training practice experience in IR (minimum 15 hours per week in IR).
  • Fees: five DR annual fees, plus current IR/DR application fee.
Focus on Radiation Oncology
CME, SA-CME, and SAMs: Adding Clarity to Current Requirements
by Paul E. Wallner, DO, Associate Executive Director for Radiation Oncology, and David Laszakovits, MBA, Director of Certification Services

Continuing medical education (CME) has been an integral element of physician practice for decades. Many entities, including state medical licensing boards, hospitals, national credentialing organizations, and specialty societies, among others, have required physicians to earn a variety of CME credit hours. Some jurisdictions have gone so far as to specify detailed requirements for topics that must be included in the educational experiences, such as HIV/AIDS, pain management, cultural competency, and palliative care (1). 

As requirements and educational offerings became more varied and complex across entities and jurisdictions, a centralized governance body for CME activities was a logical step. In 1981, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) was created to bring order to the postgraduate medical education process (2). 
Focus on Medical Physics
The Self Directed Educational Project
by Geoffrey Ibbott, PhD, ABR Board of Governors, and ABR Trustees Jerry Allison, PhD; Michael Herman, PhD;
and J. Anthony Seibert, PhD


Medical physicists often face the challenge of learning a new skill for clinical practice, teaching, or administration. The self-directed educational project (SDEP) is a tool developed by the American Board of Radiology to make that task more organized and productive. SDEPs are opportunities available only to ABR-certified medical physicists and are approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credit. An SDEP helps the physicist organize the assimilation of new knowledge so the process is more efficient, thorough, and useful. SDEPs are not required but may be counted for either Continuing Education (CE) or Self-Assessment CE (SA-CE) credit. A maximum of one SDEP may be recorded yearly. Fifteen CE credits are given for each completed SDEP.
In Memoriam: Robert Owen Gorson, PhD

Robert Owen Gorson, PhD, passed away peacefully on May 9, 2016, at age 92, in Philadelphia, where he was born. Dr. Gorson was a longtime ABR volunteer and a leader in medical physics. He was one of the first physicists certified by the ABR and is believed to have been the second longest surviving medical physics diplomate. A World War II Navy veteran, he was an instructor of radiological physics, Graduate School of Medicine, at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and director of the Medical Physics Division, Department of Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University, also in Philadelphia. He retired as professor emeritus of radiology (medical physics) and professor emeritus of radiation oncology and nuclear medicine in 1989. A former president of The American Association of Physicists in Medicine, he earned several achievement awards and served on other national and international committees.  
Spotlight on MOC Advisory Committee Members
In this issue of The BEAM, our spotlight article features volunteers who have devoted their time to serve as members of the ABR Diagnostic Radiology Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Advisory Committee. The first (Dr. Scott Truhlar) is a current member, and the other three (Drs. Thomas Anderson, Christine Lamoureux, and Mark Mullins) are members who have recently ended their terms. All have given us their reflections on ABR MOC and the role of the Advisory Committee. We thank them for their valuable feedback and volunteer service.

Scott M. Truhlar, MD, is in his 13th year of practicing general and musculoskeletal radiology in an eight-physician private practice group in Iowa City. He serves his hospital physician community as president of the medical staff, Iowa physicians as a director of the Iowa Medical Society and Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, and the radiology profession as chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Council Nominating Committee. 
ABR Appoints Seven New Members to its Diagnostic Radiology MOC Advisory Committee

The American Board of Radiology (ABR) is pleased to announce seven new appointments to its Diagnostic Radiology Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Advisory Committee. Formed in 2010, this committee assists the ABR by evaluating its MOC program from the participant's viewpoint, and by offering suggestions for improvement and enhanced user friendliness, while maintaining a program that is navigable for diplomates and ideally integrated into daily workflow. Each of these distinguished individuals began a three-year term on July 1, 2016, with the option for an additional three-year term thereafter.
List of Society Attendance


The ABR sponsors a booth at numerous society meetings throughout the year. Printed materials are available, and ABR representatives are in attendance to answer your questions. To see a list of society meetings at which the ABR plans to have a booth in 2016 and 2017, please click here

Thank you. . .


for reading this issue of The BEAM. If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, please email

Copyright 2016. The American Board of Radiology. All rights reserved.