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 and Prevention.

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

   

August 12

More Information on MP and RO December Exams at Pearson VUE Centers

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unimaginable suffering and hardship worldwide and incredible disruption in all aspects of health care delivery, education, and assessment. All American Board of Medical Specialties Member Boards, including the ABR, have been faced with numerous exam date postponements and testing platform modifications.

The ABR is aware that some residents and candidates have had difficulty registering for the December exam administrations at their preferred Pearson VUE (PV) sites. PV has been closed for months, and as they re-open sites for testing, they will only make available approximately 50 percent of existing spaces. The ABR does not have priority for seat assignments, and sites available at this time might not be available in December if national or regional restrictions related to the pandemic should worsen.

The ABR regrets any disruption these issues related to PV capacity have caused exam registrants. At this time, all available ABR resources are committed to the development of alternative software that we can deploy for the May radiation oncology, interventional radiology/diagnostic radiology, and medical physics oral exam administrations, as well as the ABR-developed remote exam platform for the April 2021 computer-based exam administration. Until that time, administration of the computer-based exams outside of PV is not possible. We encourage individuals unable to find suitable PV sites in December to plan to take their exams remotely in April 2021.

August 5

More Pearson VUE Centers Available for December Exams

ABR staff have been working with Pearson VUE this week to solve issues related to registration for this December’s MP and RO exams. We are happy to report that, as a result of those efforts, Pearson VUE has made available the full list of sites for ABR exams.

If you signed up to take one of those exams and would like to search for a site closer to where you live, please visit Pearson VUE’s registration site. Keep in mind that although more exam centers are available, there’s no guarantee that you will find one that is more convenient. Pearson VUE centers are offering limited seating because of social distancing rules.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

August 4

Issues with Pearson VUE Registration Solved

We have spent the past two days working with Pearson VUE representatives regarding issues some candidates were having while trying to register for MP and RO exams in December. We are happy to report that Pearson VUE has resolved the issue and registration appears to be working as expected.  

Some candidates might not be able to find convenient available Pearson VUE centers because of state COVID-19 policies for businesses and social distancing. Candidates who are looking for centers closer to where they live may change their selected location up to 24 hours before the exam if one reopens.  

Please note that if a local government reinstates strict or limiting measures for operation due to the volatility of COVID-19, Pearson VUE will adjust their testing capacity and/or operations accordingly. These adjustments may require cancellations of candidate appointments. If your site closes, Pearson VUE will send you an email indicating that your exam is canceled. If that happens, you will be able to reschedule at a different location if one is available. 

To ensure that all candidates can take the exam, we have scheduled two remote administrations of the RO and MP qualifying exams in 2021. There is no penalty for missing the December exam and opting for the first administration next year. 

Candidates who have signed up to take a December exam and want to cancel will need to contact Pearson VUE. Those who take an exam in December and fail may also take either 2021 administration. 

We apologize for these registration issues

 

August 3

Registering for Exams to be Held at Pearson VUE Centers in December

We are aware of issues some of you are having in registering for our December MP and RO exams through Pearson VUE. We are working diligently with Pearson VUE to address the situation and will provide an update tomorrow. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

 

   

June 22

ABR Moving to Remote Exams

We appreciate the constructive feedback regarding our 2020 exam schedule and recognize the significant impact that test postponements have had on our candidates, their loved ones and families, and their training programs. We have seen and heard legitimate concerns from candidates, program directors, department chairs, and other stakeholders, and have considered many options to safely administer our exams in the least disruptive fashion while preserving their integrity. Our deliberations and decisions were largely based on our obligation to accommodate those most affected by the pandemic. The health of candidates, volunteers, staff, and the public is our highest priority. In consideration of these concerns, the ABR is moving all currently unscheduled and future oral and computer-based exams to remote platforms beginning in the first half of 2021, which is the earliest we can confidently deliver these exams without potential delays.

Diagnostic Radiology (DR)

For DR, the Core Exam will be administered remotely in February 2021 for the candidates who would have taken the 2020 exams and in June 2021 for the rising R3 candidates as originally planned. We will also use a remote platform for the DR Certifying Exam, which will be administered twice in 2021. In addition, we will deliver the RISE and Subspecialty exams remotely in 2021. We will engage our various stakeholder groups to provide input on the final dates and details for these exams. 

Interventional Radiology/Diagnostic Radiology (IR/DR)

For IR/DR, the Core Exam will be administered remotely in February 2021 for the candidates who would have taken the 2020 exams and in June 2021 for the rising R3 candidates as originally planned. We will also use a remote platform for both the written and oral portions of the IR/DR Certifying Exam, which will be administered twice in 2021. We will engage our various stakeholder groups to provide input on the final dates and details for these exams. 

Medical Physics (MP)

For MP, the Part 1 and Part 2 exams are still scheduled for Pearson VUE centers on December 7-8, 2020, with the expectation that Pearson VUE centers will be open at that time. However, we are watching the situation closely. In 2021, all MP Part 1 and Part 2 exams will be given virtually rather than at Pearson VUE centers. We will be administering all MP Part 3 exams as remote oral exams, starting in the first half of 2021. We will engage our various stakeholder groups to provide input on the final dates and details for these exams. 

Radiation Oncology (RO)

For RO, the radiation biology and physics and clinical exams are still scheduled for Pearson VUE centers on December 7-8, 2020, with the expectation that Pearson VUE centers will be open at that time. However, we are watching the situation closely. In 2021, all RO qualifying exams will be given remotely rather than at Pearson VUE centers. We will be administering all RO oral certifying exams as virtual oral exams, starting in the first half of 2021. We will engage our various stakeholder groups to provide input on the final dates and details for these exams. 

We apologize for the disruption caused by these exam postponements. After further conversations with stakeholders, we will share final dates and virtual delivery methods for exams in the first half of 2021 by August 1, 2020, or sooner. We are committed to this new paradigm for future exams and look forward to working with our stakeholders on implementation. We thank you for your patience as we work together through this unprecedented public health challenge.

Anyone with questions may contact an ABR certification manager at information@theabr.org or (520) 790-2900.

 

June 15

Postponed Exams Update

We know these are stressful times and that the unprecedented uncertainty over the rescheduling of our exams is particularly challenging for our candidates. While we don’t yet have concrete plans for the postponed examinations, we would like to share an update of our efforts.

The ABR has four specialties: diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology/diagnostic radiology, medical physics, and radiation oncology. Each has different exam types and schedules. We administer two types of computer-based exams and three of our specialties have oral certifying exams.

We have been meeting with numerous stakeholder groups over the past few months and have increased these discussions recently, as it has become clear that we cannot hold our in-person exams as planned. In the past two weeks, we have had discussions with groups representing residents, program directors, and department chairs, as well as with numerous specialty organizations. We have met with the ABMS and several individual member boards as all boards are confronting similar challenges. We have read the thoughtful and detailed appeals from numerous resident groups.

ABR staff have been fully engaged evaluating virtual options for our many exams. The ABR Board of Governors has been involved in many of these discussions and will explore several options in more detail later this week.

We greatly appreciate your constructive input and your patience. We will continue working to develop concrete plans as soon as possible.

 

June 5

More Information on Postponed Exams from ABR President Vincent Mathews

Colleagues,

Based on feedback received after the ABR’s announcement that we are canceling most of our exams for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to provide more information regarding the considerations that led to this decision.

Restrictions on large gatherings in many locations, including Chicago, where we have our largest testing center, are very unlikely to be lifted before the fall. In addition, our staff had thoroughly investigated the logistics required to deliver an in-person exam, and our conclusion was that we could not guarantee the safety of our candidates, diplomates, and staff to the level required to proceed.

Many continue to ask about giving our exams at local testing centers. We do offer some of our Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics Exams at Pearson VUE centers, and we still have some scheduled in December. Neither Pearson VUE nor Prometric has the technical capability to deliver our Diagnostic Radiology Exams and have not been interested in developing those capabilities when we have inquired repeatedly over several years. Currently, these centers are closed, and it is uncertain when and where they will open.

Others have asked why we can’t deliver a virtual exam. We are actively exploring alternatives and are collaborating with other ABMS boards to evaluate options. Currently, we have no reliable, secure option for a high-stakes exam such as the initial certifying exams that we deliver. We are aware that the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Ophthalmology have announced they will give virtual oral exams in 2020. Their exams are different than ours, and they have not validated the ability to use radiologic images in those exams. No board has developed a secure initial certification written exam virtual platform that would be needed to deliver our Diagnostic Radiology and Interventional Radiology Core and Certifying Exams. When the breast content on the core exam was not successfully delivered to all candidates in 2017, we devised a solution for individuals to take that content remotely rather than come back to the testing centers. During this administration, some candidates had technical problems that we were able to fix “on the fly,” which was possible because of the small number of candidates taking the short exam at any given time. That exam contained very limited content and, in fairness to the candidates, we removed some items that were potentially too subtle without the monitor display control we have in our testing centers. Fortunately, it worked for a session of less than an hour for a minority of our candidates; however, we are not confident that it would work for a 10-hour exam for more than 1,000 candidates. Because of the magnitude of the significance of our initial certification exams, we must ensure near complete reliability. As we have experienced on two occasions in the past few years, even a minor failure in the delivery of these exams is extremely disruptive to everyone involved.

To reiterate, we just don’t have a reliable platform to give our computerized or oral exams right now. We are exploring our options for each of our specific types of exams in our various specialties and, hopefully, we can find solutions in the coming months. Programs have been asking for a decision soon because they are creating their resident schedules for the next academic year; therefore, we decided to move ahead with our announcement. We know that it will be highly disruptive to have two years of residents taking the Diagnostic Radiology and Interventional Radiology/Diagnostic Radiology (IR/DR) Core Exam in June 2021. Therefore, we hope to offer an administration in Chicago and Tucson in February 2021 in the event we do not have a virtual option. We are finalizing the dates and will make an announcement as soon as possible. We will also engage program directors and others as we progress with any virtual solutions.

This is another unfortunate situation created by an unprecedented pandemic, and I hope you understand that this decision was not made lightly. We are fully aware of the disruption this causes for our candidates and their programs and desperately would have liked to have an acceptable solution sooner. We take responsibility for not engaging more stakeholders in the conversation leading to this decision, and we commit to doing better in this regard. Over the next two years of my service as ABR President, with the full support of the entire organization and Board, I will make this a priority. However, I do not think we would have arrived at a different outcome at this point in time.

Sincerely,

Vincent P. Mathews, MD, FACR
ABR President

 

June 3

Many Exams Postponed until 2021

The ABR has been carefully following all aspects of the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, from even before it was declared as such by the World Health Organization, and is cognizant of the impact the pandemic has had on society and all elements of the health-care community. In response to the public health threat and uncertainty from the virus, the Board has made the decision to postpone exams at our Chicago and Tucson exam centers until 2021.

 

The postponed exams are:

 

  • DR RISE (October 4)
  • DR Subspecialties (October 4)
  • DR Certifying (October 5-6)
  • RO Oral (October 11-13)
  • IR/DR Certifying (October 18-20)
  • MP Oral (October 24-27)
  • DR-IR/DR Core (November 5-6, 9-10)

 

Exams at Pearson VUE Centers are still scheduled:

 

  • MP Parts 1 and 2 (December 7-8)
  • RO Radiation Biology and Physics and Clinical (December 7-8)

 

We deeply regret any inconvenience this scheduling change may cause, but our primary concern is for the health and well-being of exam candidates, our examiners, our staff, and the public. We recognize the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on you and your families, as well as the disruption to your exam preparation. We appreciate your patience as we work through the pandemic’s impacts on all ABR processes.

 

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

 

Anyone with questions should contact an ABR certification manager at information@theabr.org or (520) 790-2900.

 

May 18

Medical Physics Part 1 and Part 2 Exams Rescheduled for December 2020

The Medical Physics Part 1 and Part 2 exams, originally scheduled for early August, have been rescheduled. The Part 1 exam will be held December 7, 2020, and Part 2 will be held December 8, 2020, at Pearson VUE centers.

Registration with Pearson VUE will open on August 3. We will send an invitation with details approximately one week prior to registration opening.

 

Radiation Oncology Qualifying Exams Rescheduled for December 2020

Radiation Oncology Biology/Physics and Clinical Qualifying (computer-based) exams originally scheduled for July have been rescheduled. The Biology and Physics exams will be held on December 7, 2020, and the Clinical exam will be held on December 8, 2020, at Pearson VUE centers.

Registration with Pearson VUE will open on August 3. We will send an invitation with all necessary details approximately one week prior to registration opening.

 

 

May 5

Deadline to Pass Medical Physics Part 1 Exam Extended to December 31, 2021

In response to the growing health situation posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, for candidates whose application to take the medical physics Part 1 Exam was set to expire on December 31, 2020,  we are extending the deadline until December 31, 2021.

For information on time limits and board eligibility, please click here.

 

Board Eligibility Extended until December 31, 2021

In response to the growing health situation posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, for candidates whose board eligibility was set to expire on December 31, 2020, we are extending board eligibility until December 31, 2021.

For information about the ABR’s Board Eligibility Policy, please click here

 

April 27

Subspecialty Exam Application Window Extended to May 31

In response to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABR is extending the subspecialty exam application window to May 31.

Information can be found at the following links:

 

DR Neuroradiology

IR Neuroradiology

 

DR Nuclear Radiology

IR Nuclear Radiology

 

DR Pediatric Radiology

IR Pediatric Radiology

 

We appreciate your patience as we all experience the effects of COVID-19. 

 

ABR Statement on Delivering Remote Exams

In response to queries, delivering our exams 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 candidates. We want to give exams that fairly and accurately assess a candidate’s knowledge and experience.

We pledge to remain flexible and responsive to candidate needs, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we all go through the pandemic’s effects together. 

 

April 21

MP Part 1 and Part 2 Exams Still Scheduled for August

ABR leadership recently met with medical physics stakeholders to assess the latest reports regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As of April 21, the Medical Physics Part 1 (August 3) and Part 2 (August 4) exams at Pearson VUE are still scheduled as planned.

 

April 13

Urgent Notice for Those Eligible to Take RO Qualifying Exams

Because of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, the Radiation Oncology Biology/Physics and Clinical Qualifying Exams scheduled for July have been postponed. We will be working with Pearson VUE and other stakeholders to choose new exam dates, which will be no earlier than September 15, 2020. We will provide a more detailed update as soon as possible.

 

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)
  • IR/DR Certifying: October 18-20 (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.

 

 

 

 

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