Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus Information

 

The ABR continues to monitor the coronavirus outbreak and will provide regular updates here. These actions are coming after careful consideration of options and are being taken in the best interests of our candidates, examiners, staff, and the public.

We are sincerely sorry for the inconvenience and costs that may be incurred by these changes.

Many airlines are either waiving cancellation fees or considering the action. Please contact yours to see if your ticket qualifies.

For the most up-to-date information regarding the virus, and how to minimize the risk of infection, please refer to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

If you have questions that aren’t answered below, please contact the ABR at information@theabr.org or (520) 790-2900.

   

April 7

Many Factors Go into Rescheduling Exams Impacted by Coronavirus

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted everyone’s life. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, brought our economy to a virtual halt, and overwhelmed medical facilities.

Among the important activities affected by the virus have been our initial certification exams. After much discussion, exam administrations scheduled in the first half of the year were postponed or canceled in early March. By the beginning of April, all those events had been rescheduled.

Here’s how the calendar looks as of April 7:

  • RO Biology and Physics: July 9 (Pearson VUE)
  • RO Clinical: July 24 (Pearson VUE)
  • MP Part 1: August 3 (Pearson VUE)
  • MP Part 2: August 4 (Pearson VUE)
  • DR RISE: October 4 (Chicago and Tucson)
  • DR Subspecialty: October 4 (Chicago and Tucson)
  • DR Certifying: October 5-6 (Chicago and Tucson)
  • RO Oral: October 11-13 (Tucson)
  • MP Part 3 (Oral): October 24-27 (Tucson)
  • DR, IR/DR Core: November 5-6 and 9-10 (Chicago and Tucson)

Since our schedule doesn’t exist in a vacuum, many hours of consultation with stakeholders went into setting new dates. Candidates have professional duties to fulfill, and association and society meetings to attend. Our exams, while important, must be held in coordination with professional development.

There are other unpredictable factors that went into rescheduling our exams, most notably containment of the virus. Among the fallout is Pearson VUE, the venue for our RO and MP computer-based exams, temporarily closing its centers with no indication when they will reopen. Life remains at a standstill until COVID-19 is under control.

The health and safety of our candidates, examiners, staff, and public are our greatest concerns. When our exams resume, we will redouble our already comprehensive efforts to keep our centers sanitary. It has been our custom to thoroughly clean every station and public area after an exam administration. Those efforts will only increase.

As for the public, our mission is to certify that our diplomates demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skill, and understanding of their disciplines to the benefit of patients. One of the ways we meet that goal is by administering fair and rigorous exams. While that process has been put on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital that it continue once it’s safe to do so.

We pledge to remain flexible and responsive to candidate needs, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as all of us go through this journey together. Our profession is important in this battle, and we must ensure that candidates from our four specialties are prepared to play a role in resolving this issue and others in the future.

 

April 1

RO Oral Exam Rescheduled

The Radiation Oncology Oral Exam, originally scheduled for early May, will be held October 11-13, 2020. We appreciate your being patient as we worked through the impacts of the developing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation on the exam.

To secure an exam appointment for the new dates, you must accept or decline an invitation, which will be emailed to you by July 1, 2020.

If you accept the invitation, specific appointment details, including the date and time of the exam, will be sent to you approximately two months before the exam.

 

MP Oral Exam Rescheduled

The Medical Physics Part 3 (Oral) Exam, originally scheduled for late April, will be held October 24-27, 2020. We appreciate your being patient as we worked through the impacts of the developing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation on the exam.

To secure an exam appointment for the new dates, you must accept or decline an invitation, which will be emailed to you no later than July 1, 2020.

If you accept the invitation, specific appointment details, including the date and time of the exam, will be sent approximately two months before the exam.

 

March 31

Urgent Notice for Those Eligible to Take DR Certifying Exam

In response to the growing health situation posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19), in early March, the ABR canceled the DR Certifying Exam administration scheduled for April 6, 2020, in Tucson. The next available DR Certifying Exam administration is October 5-6, 2020, at the ABR Exam Centers in Tucson and Chicago.

You will receive an exam invitation no later than July 6, 2020, and will need to complete the outlined process in order to secure a seat for the October administration.

 

New RISE Administration Date

In response to the growing health situation posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19), in early March, the ABR canceled the RISE administration scheduled for April 6, 2020, in Tucson. The next available RISE administration is scheduled for October 4, 2020, at the ABR Exam Centers in Tucson and Chicago.

You will receive an exam invitation no later than July 6, 2020, and will need to complete the outlined process in order to secure a seat for the October administration.

 

March 30

ABR Statements on COVID-19 Impact on Residency Training

We are aware of the concerns raised by trainees and program directors regarding potential disruptions in training time, training in specific areas, and other logistical and educational aspects of training.

Click here to see the ABR statement on ACGME residency training.

Click here to see the ABR statement on CAMPEP residency training.

 

March 27

Final Details Being Determined in Rescheduling of MP, RO Oral Exams

We are making great progress toward rescheduling the Medical Physics and Radiation Oncology Oral Exams in Tucson. We have identified dates and are waiting for confirmation from the hotel where the exams will be held. The hotel is under extraordinary pressure during this national emergency, so the process is taking longer than usual. We hope to have everything confirmed soon and will share the details when they are available.

We appreciate your patience as we work through these final details.

 

MP and RO Initial Qualifying Exams Still Scheduled as Planned

ABR leadership continues to meet regularly to assess the latest reports regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As of the date of this posting, the Radiation Oncology Biology and Physics (July 9), Radiation Oncology Clinical (July 24), Medical Physics Part 1 (August 3), and Medical Physics Part 2 (August 4) exams are still scheduled as planned at Pearson VUE.

We are in frequent communication with Pearson VUE staff evaluating the situation and developing plans in case there is a disruption to these exams. For now, Pearson VUE has closed its centers through at least April 15. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and post updates on this page. As always, our primary concern is for the health and well-being of our candidates, staff, and the public.

 

DR and IR/DR Core Exam Rescheduled for November

The DR and IR/DR Core Exam has been rescheduled for November 5-6 and 9-10, 2020, in Chicago and Tucson. The exam was originally scheduled for May and June before being postponed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. An invitation for the exam will be emailed to eligible candidates no later than August 24, 2020.

Exam content will be the same as it would have been for the original scheduled administration. There is no penalty for not taking the Core Exam at your first available opportunity. We will add a Core Exam administration to next year’s calendar, likely in February or March 2021. We are working on dates and will announce them as soon as they are finalized. The June 2021 administration is still scheduled as planned as well. Please see the ABR statement on ACGME residency interruptions related to COVID-19.

In response to queries, delivering the Core Exam remotely is problematic. We have investigated many options, but the inability to adequately control image quality, the testing environment, and security would significantly threaten the fairness, reproducibility, validity, and reliability of the testing instrument across 1,200 candidates.  We want to give an exam that will adequately reflect the hard work of our candidates on their path to certification.

 

March 17

May/June 2020 DR and IR/DR Core Exam Postponed

In response to the growing health situation posed by the coronavirus, the ABR is postponing the DR and IR/DR Core Exam scheduled for May 28 and 29 and June 1 and 2 in Chicago and Tucson. We will be actively working with the Association of Program Directors in Radiology (APDR) and other stakeholders to choose new exam dates, which will be no sooner than September 1, 2020. We will provide a more detailed update before the end of March.

 

Decision Coming Soon on Rescheduling MP and RO Oral Exams

New dates for the MP and RO Oral Exams are being discussed. We appreciate your patience as we work through these difficult circumstances.

 

March 13

DR Core Exam Still Scheduled for May 28-29 and June 1-2

Although we are developing plans in case there is a disruption, the DR Core Exam remains scheduled for May 28-29 and June 1-2. We will continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus and post updates here.

 

March 6

From ABR Board President Brent Wagner, MD

During the first week of March, ABR senior leadership was actively monitoring the events and circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and the impact on our candidates and volunteers. After several large medical institutions announced domestic travel bans, and acknowledging the uncertainty of an evolving level of public concern, extremely difficult decisions had to be made that resulted in the postponement and cancellation of some planned exams.

 

Although the ABR’s decisions were based on the best interests of our constituents, we realize that these postponements will be unavoidably disruptive.  Our discussions were made more complicated because of inherently incomplete information, including (1) the inability to anticipate future travel restrictions or other external constraints and (2) the highly variable preferences of our candidates and volunteers. Further, the delivery of high-stakes exams that are part of a credible board certification process is itself an intricate process (and not easily modified over a short time window without negatively impacting the candidate experience, fundamental validity, and security). 

 

The ABR recognizes the importance of the broad community of radiology professionals whose pursuit of certification enhances the care delivered to our patients. Further, we appreciate the patience of our candidates and volunteers during this chaotic time. We will continue to thoughtfully evaluate the situation as it evolves. 

 

March 5

DR Core Exam Still Scheduled as Planned

ABR leadership met March 5 to assess the latest reports regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and determined that the DR Core Exam scheduled for May 28-29 and June 1-2 is still scheduled as planned. Exam registration is approaching, and we will email all eligible candidates with a save-the-date message soon.

We are developing plans in case there is a disruption to the upcoming Core Exam. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and post regular updates at theabr.org. As always, our primary concern is for the health and well-being of our candidates, staff, and the public.

 

DR Certifying Exam Canceled

In response to the growing health situation posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19), the ABR is canceling the DR Certifying Exam and RISE administrations scheduled for April 6 in Tucson. Candidates scheduled to take the exam will be moved to the fall administration at no penalty. We will follow up with additional details about the fall administration exam soon.

 

MP Oral Exam Postponed

In response to the growing health situation posed by the coronavirus, the ABR is postponing the MP Oral Exam scheduled for April 26-29 in Tucson. Candidates scheduled to take the exam will soon receive notice detailing when it will be rescheduled.

 

RO Oral Exam Postponed

In response to the growing health situation posed by the coronavirus, the ABR is postponing the RO Oral Exam scheduled for May 3-5 in Tucson. Candidates scheduled to take the exam will soon receive notice detailing when it will be rescheduled.

 

 

ABR Statement on COVID-19 Impact on ACGME Residency Training

 

In late February and early March, as the potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the medical community, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognized the disruption that increasing spread of the virus could have on training and assessment of all stakeholders involved in graduate medical education. In that regard, the ACGME and the ABMS and its individual Member Boards have established ongoing, Web-based information sites, some with almost daily updates.

 

The ACGME and ABMS, and the individual ABMS Member Boards, are keenly aware of the concerns raised by trainees and programs regarding potential disruptions in training time, required case numbers, resident hours, clinical and research rotations, and other logistical and educational aspects of training. As the organization responsible for establishing post-graduate training requirements, the ACGME has made it clear that case log numbers are suggested targets and not absolute requirements, and that the absolute sine qua non of satisfactory completion of a post-graduate training program is consensus of the program’s Clinical Competency Committee that an individual trainee has satisfied all required milestones inherent in that program, and attestation to that consensus by the program director. Please see additional information regarding the impact of COVID-19 on residency training in the AGCME’s response. In certain instances, such as US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requirements for authorized user-eligibility, neither the ACGME nor the ABR have the authority to waive those requirements.

 

The ABR will continue to rely on program directors, supported by their Clinical Competency Committees, to provide attestation to the completion of individual training. Details regarding rescheduling of delayed ABR Core, Qualifying and Certifying exams will be provided to the stakeholder community as soon as information is available. ABR staff and volunteers appreciate the cooperation of its stakeholder community in these troubled times. For any questions related to specific ABR issues, please contact information@theabr.org.

 

 

ABR Statement on COVID-19 Impact on Medical Physics (CAMPEP) Residency Training

 

In late February and early March, as the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the medical community, the ABR and the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP) recognized the disruption that increasing spread of the virus could have on training and assessment of all stakeholders involved in graduate and resident training of medical physicists. CAMPEP, the Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Programs (SDAMPP), and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Education Council have sent a letter to program directors.

We are aware of the concerns raised by trainees and program directors regarding potential disruptions in training time, training in specific areas, and other logistical and educational aspects of training. As the organization responsible for establishing post-graduate training requirements, CAMPEP has made it clear that the absolute sine qua non of satisfactory completion of a post-graduate training program is attestation by a program director that an individual trainee has satisfied all required activities inherent in that program. In certain instances, such as US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requirements for authorized user (AU) eligibility, neither CAMPEP nor the ABR have the authority to waive those requirements.

The ABR will continue to rely on program directors to provide attestation of the completion of individual training. Details regarding rescheduling of the delayed 2020 Medical Physics Oral Exam will be provided to the stakeholder community as soon as information is available. As for the Part 1 and Part 2 medical physics exams, Pearson Vue, where the exams are delivered, is currently experiencing closures. We are in frequent communication with Pearson VUE staff evaluating the situation and developing plans in case there is a disruption to these exams. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and post updates on this page. Until then, the August dates remain in place. ABR staff and volunteers appreciate the cooperation of its stakeholder community in these troubled times. For any questions related to specific ABR issues, please contact information@theabr.org.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated March 27, 2020

Core Exam

Is there a penalty if I don’t take the Core Exam on the rescheduled date?

There is no penalty if you do not take your first eligible exam. Therefore, if you are unable to travel or do not feel comfortable traveling, you do not need to take the exam. If you are uncomfortable traveling, we recommend deferring to a later administration. Dates for future Core Exams are here.

 

My board eligibility is expiring soon, and I will not have all the exam opportunities that I should have received. What is the ABR going to do to accommodate this situation?

 The ABR is monitoring the health situation closely while taking government and local restrictions into account. We will evaluate any necessary board eligibility changes after the exam administration later this year.

 

I needed the June 2020 Core Exam administration to qualify for the Certifying Exam later this year. What are my options?

You will have the opportunity to take the Core Exam on the rescheduled date later this year, but this will not allow you to qualify for the Certifying Exam administration on October 5-6, 2020. We will evaluate any necessary board eligibility changes on a case-by-case basis for those impacted. 

 

What procedures are completed to ensure our safety at the ABR Exam Centers?

Before each day of an exam event, all doors, lockers, tables, seats, nursing mother rooms, ADA rooms, computer stations, keyboards, mice, markers, and marker boards are sanitized. In addition, restrooms are sanitized by a third party cleaning company, which is verified by ABR staff.

 

 What if my hospital institutes a travel ban and I have to cancel my exam?

 If you register for the exam and find yourself unable to travel because of a mandated ban, please notify us at information@theabr.org as soon as possible. There will be no penalty for canceling less than 30 days before the exam. We will evaluate any necessary board eligibility changes on a case-by-case basis.

 

Can’t the ABR administer the exam remotely or at Pearson VUE?

Delivering the Core Exam in commercial testing centers (i.e., Pearson VUE) or remotely is problematic. We have investigated many options, but the inability to adequately control image quality, the testing environment, and security would significantly threaten the fairness, reproducibility, validity, and reliability of the testing instrument across the large volume of candidates.

 

Will this impact my potential employment? 

Details regarding rescheduling of delayed ABR Core and Certifying exams will be provided as soon as information is available. We appreciate the significance of this exam, and the decision to modify exam schedules was not made lightly. Although the ABR has no say over what your future employer may require, your board eligibility will not be impacted in any way due to the exam administration changes.  Board eligible status begins when you have successfully completed your residency program and continues for 6 full calendar years.  Prior to that, you are noted as being in the initial certification process.  

 

Will this impact my planned fellowship?

 The ABR will continue to rely on program directors, supported by their Clinical Competency Committees, to provide attestation to the completion of individual training. Details regarding rescheduling of delayed ABR Core and Certifying exams will be provided to the stakeholder community as soon as information is available.

 

 

CategoryAnnouncements, News

Help spread the word
                   
https://www.theabr.org/announcements/coronavirus-updates
 
© 2020 American Board of Radiology    |   
Privacy & Legal    |   
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Site Map
The American Board of Radiology does not and shall not discriminate based on race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status in any of its activities or operations. These activities include but are not limited to hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers, conducting committee meetings, and administering exams. We are committed to an environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment, and other unlawful forms of harassment. To report any actions of discrimination, sexual harassment, or other unlawful harassment, please contact Karyn Howard, Managing Director, at 520-790-2900 extension 2171 or you can call our confidential hotline at 844-280-0005.
Version: 3.0.19
The American Board of Radiology