From the Board of Trustees

From the Board of Trustees

DEI Training Helps Optimize the Oral Exam Experience

By Kalpana M. Kanal, PhD, and Paul J. Rochon, MD, ABR Trustees


The ABR is dedicated to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in all its efforts and activities with candidates, diplomates, volunteers, staff, and the public. The ABR DEI Committee is responsible for making recommendations and developing and supporting initiatives to create and sustain a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. The DEI Committee comprises trustees from diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, medical physics, and radiation oncology as well as representatives from the ABR Board of Governors. Over the past year, the committee has been evaluating options for introducing DEI unconscious bias training for ABR volunteers. Since we all receive DEI workplace training at our places of employment, the ABR has been focused on developing DEI training geared more toward ABR activities.

We recently conducted a pilot to compare prerecorded versus live DEI training for oral examiners. We tailored one vendor’s DEI training program for use with the examiners who participated in the Medical Physics Oral Certifying Exam. A prerecorded version of the DEI training was sent to all examiners to review in advance of the exam. On-site examiners received additional DEI training that was similar to the prerecorded version but presented in a live interactive format. The purpose was to determine which format would work best for future DEI training.

Overall, the feedback received from examiners about the oral exam experience optimization was positive. The training was found to be helpful by both remote and on-site examiners, with most examiners preferring the prerecorded version as that could be viewed at the examiner’s convenience and paused while viewing. On the other hand, several of the on-site examiners noted that the interactive format was better suited for live discussion. In addition, the live format was presented the day before the exam, which provided a timely reminder of what not to do when conducting exams.

We are in the process of discussing which training works best for our volunteers. Currently, we are considering incorporating the prerecorded version of the training for the next interventional radiology and radiation oncology oral certifying exams. We will offer the training well in advance of the exam date, setting the deadline for completion at 30 days prior to the exam. This will help identify examiners who did not complete the training. “Test your knowledge” questions will also be inserted at the end of the training to ensure active participation. The DEI Committee will re-evaluate the process annually to ensure this training is effective.

The ABR DEI Committee will continue to develop training for other ABR scenarios that will take into account language, gender, race, age and other forms of bias to optimize the oral exam experience, and later extend this experience to all ABR volunteers.

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