New Perspectives

New Perspectives

Initial Certification Advisory Committee Improves Communication with Diagnostic Radiology Candidates

by Donald J. Flemming, MD, ABR Trustee


Donald J. Flemming, MD

The Initial Certification Advisory Committee (ICAC) for Diagnostic Radiology was created in the early 2000s to help the American Board of Radiology communicate changes in its initial certification exam format with candidates. The role of the committee has evolved into a two-way conversation aimed at improving the global examination experience for our candidates.

Members of the DR-ICAC are primarily residents and fellows who are involved in the initial certification process. Members serve two-year terms and are chosen to maximize diversity of representation in region, program type, and program size. The initial membership comprised three representatives from the American Alliance of Academic Chief Residents in Radiology (A3CR2), two from the Resident and Fellow Section of the American College of Radiology (ACR), two from the Resident Section of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), one resident from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Diagnostic Radiology Review Committee, one resident from the Association of Program Directors in Radiology (APDR), and the most immediate past president of the APDR. The committee recently expanded to include a representative from the Association of Program Directors in Interventional Radiology (APDIR) and an additional APDR member.

Current members of the DR-ICAC (and their sponsoring organizations) are:

Jesse Conyers, MD (ACR)

Daniel J. Young, MD (ACR)

Cameron Adler, MD (ACR)

Jidi Gao, MD (A3CR2)

Sara Hunter, MD (A3CR2)

Peter Liu, MD (A3CR2, Senior Faculty Advisor)

Erik M. Velez, MD (RSNA)

Danielle E. Kruse Kostrubiak, MD (RSNA)

Frances B. Lazarow, MD (RSNA)

Jessica Fried, MD (RRC)

Thomas J. An, MD (APDIR)

Madison Kocher, MD (APDR, Resident)

Richard Ruchman, MD (APDR, Past President)

Julia Asmar, MD (APDR)

The committee normally meets once a year at the annual RSNA meeting to consider the Core and Certification exams from the candidate perspective. Topics discussed include exam registration, call center responsiveness, exam fees, timing and method of payment, exam day experience, delivery of exam results, and the quality and quantity of communication. In February of 2020, the committee met at the ABR headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, as part of a pilot program. The meeting allowed ABR staff to discuss directly with committee members the complexities of administering the initial certification exams. The transparent and open dialogue between staff and candidates was very productive, and both parties gained a fresh perspective on the challenges of exam delivery. Based on the success of this pilot meeting, a visit to ABR headquarters will likely occur every two years in the future. In the off year, the committee will convene at the annual Association of University Radiologists (AUR) meeting as well as at RSNA.

Recently, the DR-ICAC has played a significant part in shaping the ABR’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meetings became more frequent and discussion more intense. The frank and open committee member input had a strong influence on Board of Governor decisions pertaining to timing, location, exam proctoring, and candidate communication for remote exams.   

The success of the ABR’s mission depends on the stellar efforts of committed volunteers. Thoughtful input from stakeholders, such as residents and trainees, enhances the outcomes the ABR seeks. Based on the performance of this committee, the future of radiology is indeed in good hands.

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