From the Editor

From the Editor

ABR Evaluates Processes, Policies, and Procedures to Improve Certification Experience

By J. Anthony Seibert, PhD, ABR Governor


Welcome to the mid-year 2022 publication of The Beam. The American Board of Radiology is continually evaluating processes, policies, and procedures to improve the flexibility, quality, efficiency, and value of ABR certification for its candidates and diplomates. Many of the articles in this edition describe modifications, updates, or initiatives to achieve these goals.

From the President: Vince Mathews announces the decision of the Board of Governors to sunset the Authorized User-Eligibility (AU-E) status on the ABR certificate by the end of 2023. He explains the rationale for doing so and indicates the re-direction of currently allocated resources to exam improvement. (For more on this topic, see Focus on RO.)

From the Executive Director: Brent Wagner discusses the American Board of Medical Specialties’ modifications to the Continuing Certification Standards to be enacted in January 2024 by its Member Boards, and how the ABR is fortunately situated by the proactive efforts it took in 2019 with the initiation of the Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) program, improvement of the continuing medical education requirements by offering greater flexibility to diplomates, and expansion of the Part 4 “Improvement in Medical Practice” by adding peer learning to the suite of acceptable activities meeting these requirements.

From the Board of Governors: President-Elect Robert Barr remarks on the board certification process and establishing value through the availability of a transparent, rigorous credential recognized by payers, colleagues, and the public.

From the Board of Trustees: Stephen Simoneaux, Trustee for Pediatric Radiology, is the chair of the Image Quality Task Force with a charge to address the quality of images used in ABR exams. He describes the recent efforts by the task force to understand legacy processes, to develop instructions for procuring images, to ensure exclusion of protected health information, and to develop training modules for volunteer exam writers to ensure consistent, high image quality on all exams.

Focus on DR: Associate Executive Director for Diagnostic Radiology Reed Dunnick reviews the role of technology in radiology over the years, and how advances in technology enable the ABR to create credible exams for initial and subspecialty certification, as well as Continuing Certification to save time and expense for candidates and diplomates.

Focus on IR/DR: Jim Spies, Associate Executive Director for Interventional Radiology, talks about the impact of the COVID pandemic requiring the adoption of Webex and Zoom for remote exams and volunteer meetings, but with the expectation of a gradual return to in-person interactions in the coming months for ABR volunteer activities.

Focus on MP: Matthew Podgorsak, Senior Medical Physics Trustee, and colleagues describe the process involved in identifying, engaging, training, and assessing volunteer oral examiners for the medical physics certification exam.

Focus on RO: Paul Wallner, Associate Executive Director for Radiation Oncology, and David Laszakovits, Director of Communications, provide more details regarding the the sunsetting of the AU-E designation for radiation oncologists.

New Perspectives: Rodney Campbell, ABR Communications Manager, interviews new residents and future ABR candidates and diplomates in all of the ABR disciplines, providing insight on how these individuals view their future.

News: The ABR seeks input on the diagnostic radiology Initial Certification process and announces the introduction of the scoring progress bar for computer-based exams.

Announcements: We are pleased to learn of the Society of Interventional Radiology “Leaders in Innovation” award to our own Jim Spies for his innovation as a practicing interventional radiologist and of ABR Trustee Christopher Wood’s election to the ASNR Nominating Committee.

We hope you find this edition of The Beam interesting and informative. As always, please contact us ( or with comments on contents (past or present) or suggestions for future Beam articles. Enjoy the summer and stay cool!


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