Medical Physics Initial Certification Advisory Committee Visits ABR Headquarters
By Robert A. Pooley, PhD, and Kalpana M. Kanal, PhD, ABR Trustees; Matthew B. Podgorsak, PhD, ABR Governor; and Geoffrey S. Ibbott, PhD, ABR Associate Executive Director for Medical Physics
Members of the ABR Medical Physics Initial Certification Advisory Committee (IC-AC) recently traveled to Tucson for a 1.5-day meeting, where they engaged with ABR staff on many topics related to initial certification, including how exams are created, delivered, and scored. A primary purpose of the IC-AC is to improve communication between candidates, stakeholder groups, and the ABR.
Committee members are sponsored by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Programs (SDAMPP). They represent a range of trainee statuses and professional roles. Members are appointed for a three-year term, which may be renewed once for nontrainee members.
The MP IC-AC typically meets in person at the AAPM annual meeting with additional virtual meetings occurring quarterly. This was the first time this committee visited ABR headquarters. In addition to receiving a tour of the facilities, committee members learned about ABR history, certification services, communications, volunteers and volunteerism, and specifics related to item-writing training. Information was also presented on exam development, delivery, standard setting, scoring, and results posting. Each presentation generated lively discussion and provided an opportunity for committee members to ask questions directly to ABR staff. The material presented and answers provided were not confidential.
At the conclusion of the meeting, members were asked to write down their thoughts regarding the most impactful items learned, ideas for topics to communicate to a broader audience, suggestions for best platforms to use for further communication, and overall suggestions for improvement.
Committee member Kai Huang shared the following comments after the meeting:
“The insights shared were immensely valuable and helped me gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the ABR. This knowledge allowed me to think about how I can contribute meaningfully to the committee. . . . During the meeting, I realized that a lot of the information that was presented is publicly available, but candidates may not know where to find it. Therefore, I believe it is crucial for the ABR to communicate more effectively. While the current communication channels such as The Beam, AAPM newsletter, website, and social media are great, I suggest we explore additional ways to engage with candidates.”
ABR trustees, communications staff, and the MP IC-AC plan to continue to work closely together to enhance communications regarding initial certification for medical physicist trainees and stakeholders.