From the President

From the President

Improving Communication Through Town Halls and Surveys

by Vincent P. Mathews, MD, ABR President


The great enemy of communication … is the illusion of it. We have talked enough; but we have not listened. And by not listening, we have failed to concede … the great gaps between ourselves and those with whom we seek understanding.” 1   

Those comments, in the context of corporate America from more than 50 years ago, remain true in a variety of medical and social organizations. The ABR Board of Governors seeks to enhance that understanding by improving the effectiveness of stakeholder communications at all levels. In very broad terms, there are many times when candidates and diplomates need to hear from us, and many times when we must hear from them.

The rapid evolution of programmatic improvements, including our Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) and new Initial Certification remote exam platforms, makes it critical to be able to keep radiologic professionals adequately informed at every stage in the board certification process. However, we recognize that the upward trajectory of both the quantity and the pace of communication is often overwhelming to busy practitioners. The challenge is to find a reasonable balance, not only for the frequency of messaging but also the channels of communication. Finding this balance is especially difficult because of the wide range of individual preferences among more than 30,000 candidates and diplomates who need to be informed to be successful in achieving and maintaining board certification.

Two specific initiatives will be introduced this month. First, we will widely distribute a communications survey, specifically targeted to candidates and diplomates. We performed a similar survey more than five years ago, but the use of social media, email, and personalized website entry points (e.g., myABR) has significantly evolved over that time. Participation will be voluntary and anonymous, and it will allow a combination of structured responses and open-ended comments. We will use the data to optimize the synthesis of preferred modes of communication and frequency. Further, we will seek opportunities to allow individuals to customize their preferences along both of those parameters. Please click here for the candidate survey or click here for the diplomate survey.

In addition, we want to hear from you in person. Over the past few years, we have used the town hall format to invite a broad range of stakeholders for targeted dialogues on issues including OLA (2018), remote exam implementation (2020), and residency leave requirements (2021). The input we receive in such discussions is extremely important, because it not only reminds us of the “illusion” of communication, but also provides diverse perspectives that refocus our discussions and related efforts. To this end, we have asked ABR staff to arrange a series of videoconference town hall sessions for each discipline that are intended to be opena forums. These sessions, which will occur in the second half of February, will include a brief update presentation followed by a moderated chat to allow a broad range of questions and comments. There will be one town hall covering Continuing Certification (MOC) and three on Initial Certification broken down by specialty. For information on how to register, please click here.

1 Whyte WH. “Is Anybody Listening?” Fortune. September 1950. Published by Time, Inc., New York.

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