Communications Team Employs Multipronged Approach to Inform ABR Stakeholders
Communication is an extremely important component of the ABR mission – “To certify that our diplomates demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skill, and understanding of their disciplines to the benefit of patients” – and The Beam is just one of many ways the ABR passes along important information about the rapidly changing landscape of board certification to our diplomates and candidates. Other components include our website, a weekly blog, active presence on multiple social media platforms, advisory committees, and attendance at society meetings.
The Beam editorial staff is led by ABR Governor J. Anthony Seibert, PhD, who, in his role as editor, helps decide on topics to be covered and writes the “From the Editor” column for each edition. Through the newsletter, he works to share information that is meaningful, important, timely, and useful to candidates in the Initial Certification process and to diplomates enrolled in Continuing Certification (MOC).
Other editorial team members are Brent Wagner, MD, MBA, Executive Director; David Laszakovits, MBA, Director of Communications; Rodney Campbell, Communications Manager; Heather Hopkins, Communications Coordinator; and David Short, User Experience and Graphic Designer. These are the people who interact with the ABR governors, trustees, volunteers, and staff to coordinate, collect, edit, and assemble articles.
The Beam has undergone numerous transformations in its long history, as we continually strive to communicate more effectively with our stakeholders. The most recent change occurred in November 2019, when, to enable more timely sharing of important news, we began distributing the newsletter twice as often: six times a year instead of three. At the same time, several formatting and content enhancements occurred, including adding “read more” links on each article, so that readers could see more content with less scrolling. We also started including short profiles of ABR staff, so diplomates and candidates can get a better idea of who’s here to serve them.
While each member of the communications team has specific areas in which they take the lead, we work together to write, edit, design, and publish content on many platforms. In January 2019, we started a blog with posts written by diplomates, candidates, and staff. Around the same time, we joined Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also find us on LinkedIn.
Based on data from user surveys, the ABR website was redesigned in 2017. When we began planning the transition from in-person to remote exams in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we added a Remote Exam Information page, so candidates could more easily stay informed. As of this writing, the page has been viewed more than 32,000 times.
If there is content you would like to see covered in The Beam or on one of our other platforms, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.