News from the ABR

The Beam April 2023

April 2023 | Volume 16, Issue 2

Associate Executive Director for Radiation Oncology Dr. Michael Yunes spotted this bobcat while walking in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson during a break at the ABR Board Meeting in February.


From the Editor

Continuous Optimization Evident in All Realms of Radiology

Mary S. Newell, MDBy Mary S. Newell, MD, ABR Governor


Spring is here and baseball season is upon us! As many fans have discovered, several impactful rule changes were adopted by Major League Baseball this year, showing that even long-established and venerable organizations work ceaselessly to improve their product. In this issue of The Beam, the drive toward continuous optimization and perpetual advancement is highlighted, within the ABR but also among our colleagues in practice and at all stages of their careers.   

In this issue . . .

From the President

ABR President Robert Barr, MD, describes how the new ABMS standards, created as a result of the 2018-2019 stakeholder-driven initiative “Vision for the Future” and expected to be enacted in 2024, should have minimal impact on ABR diplomates.

From the Executive Director

ABR Executive Director Brent Wagner, MD, MBA; ABR Governor Donald J. Flemming, MD; and ABR Trustee Desiree E. Morgan, MD, detail the thorough and multistep process embarked upon to determine if changes in the ABR Initial Certification process are warranted, and how stakeholders have been deeply involved in this ongoing, iterative initiative.

Click HERE to read more.


ABR Programs Meet New ABMS Continuing Certification Standards

Robert Barr, MDBy Robert M. Barr, MD, ABR President


In 2021, the American Board of Medical Specialties announced revisions to the Continuing Certification Standards that were an outgrowth of a 2018-2019 stakeholder-driven initiative (Vision for the Future Commission) to enhance the value of board certification. The new standards are to be implemented in 2024. The ABR is pleased that the programmatic elements we have in place are not only consistent with the future goals of ABMS Continuing Certification but also innovative attempts to make the process relevant and efficient for ABR diplomates.

Most of the ABR’s Continuing Certification (MOC) program will remain unchanged. The ABR has administered more than 8.5 million questions through Online Longitudinal Assessment (“assessment of knowledge”) since its release in 2019, and feedback overwhelmingly supports the platform as a preferred alternative to a high-stakes exam. Because OLA has a self-assessment component and specific feedback, the ABR has eliminated the requirement for self-assessment CME (SA-CME) for diplomates who meet their OLA progress requirement for a particular year. Although CME requirements remain, the elimination of the self-assessment requirement should mean more choice and flexibility for diplomates to tailor their professional development to align with their practice. We are fortunate to benefit from the dedicated work of our subject matter expert volunteers who develop OLA content. A survey to gather feedback on the mechanics of OLA and suggestions regarding potential improvements is currently open. Exam alternatives, for those who either choose not to participate or fail to meet the passing standard in OLA, are being developed for release later this year.

Click HERE to read more.


Multistep, Iterative Process Informed Upcoming Modifications to DR Certifying Exam

Brent Wagner, MD, MBA, ABR Executive Director; Donald J. Flemming, MD, ABR Governor; and Desiree E. Morgan, MD, ABR TrusteeBy Brent Wagner, MD, MBA, ABR Executive Director; Donald J. Flemming, MD, ABR Governor; and Desiree E. Morgan, MD, ABR Trustee


The ABR is finalizing modifications to the Diagnostic Radiology Certifying Exam that will be communicated within the next three weeks and administered beginning in 2028. This represents the culmination of a year-long process that began with internal ABR discussions and extended to more than 100 external stakeholders from a broad range of interest groups. The intent was to evaluate whether the exam was appropriate for its intended purpose and, if not, what other exam models might be considered.

The process was prompted by concerns, frequently voiced by practice leaders in academic and nonacademic settings, that focused on two major themes. First, the multiple-choice exam (currently administered 15 months after graduation from residency) does not adequately assess specific skills that are critical to the practice of diagnostic radiology. Second, the comprehensive nature of modern radiology practice is not reflected in an exam that emphasizes subspecialty content. This sentiment was consistently confirmed by most of the individuals who offered valuable input in a series of discussions last summer, augmented with a public online survey. Along the way, we heard general agreement that the Qualifying (Core) Exam worked well as an instrument to cover a very broad domain at an appropriate level of training (at the completion of the third residency year).

Click HERE to read more.


From the Board of Governors

ABR Earns Highest Level of Organizational Transparency Recognition

John A. Kaufman, MD, ABR Secretary-Treasurer; and David J. Laszakovits, MBA, ABR Director of Communications

By John A. Kaufman, MD, ABR Secretary-Treasurer; and David J. Laszakovits, MBA, ABR Director of Communications


The ABR Board of Governors is steadfast in its commitment to responsibly manage all financial aspects of the business to effectively meet the organization’s mission. This commitment includes an independent third-party annual financial audit and making our Form 990 and financial statements public.

Each October, we post on our website the most recent financial statements for the ABR and the ABR Foundation. Current postings include the 2021 990 forms and statements of financial standing for the year ending December 31, 2021.

Additionally, since 2017, the ABR has earned GuideStar’s Platinum status, the highest level of organizational transparency recognition. GuideStar specializes in reporting on nonprofit organizations in the United States and offers four seals to represent an organization’s level of transparency. As of April 2021, more than 78,000 nonprofits had one of these seals, which range from Bronze to Platinum. Only 15% of those have achieved Platinum status.

Click HERE to read more.


Focus on IR

SIR 2023 Highlights the Continuous Evolution of Our Field

James Spies, MD

By James B. Spies, MD, MPH, ABR Associate Executive Director for Interventional Radiology


Each year, the interventional radiology world gathers in the spring at the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) Annual Scientific meeting. This year it was in Phoenix from March 4-9. After the pandemic transition to a virtual meeting, the SIR meeting is now back in person and the energy was electric. This meeting is where we reconnect with old friends, make new ones, hear the latest science, and learn how we might advance care for our patients. Everything that is new in our world is here.

The striking thing about the SIR meeting is how many new therapies and concepts for therapies are presented. The scope of the inventiveness and ingenuity of our community never fails to amaze me and drives our field to continuous change and advancement. I have attended this meeting since the mid-1980s, and each year new approaches to treatment are presented, debated, and challenged in dozens of scientific sessions. The parallel educational sessions summarize the settled science and present the “how-tos” to the broader IR community.

Click HERE to read more.


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


MP IC Advisory Committee at the ABR headquarters in Tucson
Pictured, from left to right: Sameer Taneja, PhD; David Pearson, PhD; Kelsey Bittinger, MS; Jacob Rembish, PhD; Kristen McConnell, PhD; Samantha Simiele, PhD; Kai Huang, BA; Wayne Newhauser, PhD; David Jordan, PhD; Robert Pooley, PhD. Not pictured: Jay Burmeister, PhD; Reagan Dugan, BS; Wendy Harris, PhD; Joann Prisciandaro, PhD.

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.

Click HERE to read more.


New RO AED Discusses Responsibilities and Goals


ABR Associate Executive Director for Radiation Oncology Michael Yunes, MD, describes his role as a contact for radiation oncology candidates and diplomates and a conduit between stakeholders and the ABR.  

Click on the image to play video.

Michael Yunes, MD, video


Initial Certification Advisory Committees Learn More About ABR in Visit to Headquarters

By Rodney Campbell, ABR Communications Manager


The ABR is committed to performance improvement through stakeholder involvement. One way we accomplish that goal is through our initial certification advisory committees (IC-ACs), which comprise residents and early career physicians and physicists who serve as volunteer liaisons between their colleagues and the ABR.

Samantha Simiele, PhD
Samantha Simiele, PhD

We have IC-ACs for all four specialties that we certify: diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, medical physics, and radiation oncology. The committees have met remotely and in person during association and society annual meetings. Members traveled to Tucson over the past month to tour the ABR headquarters, listen to presentations from staff, learn more about exam development, and provide input about how the organization could improve.

Samantha Simiele, PhD, has been part of the medical physics committee since 2016. When the group met in Tucson in February, it was her first opportunity to visit the ABR headquarters. Meeting staff and participating in conversations over the day and a half meeting gave her a better idea of the organization’s scope.

Click HERE to read more.


Volunteer Spotlight header

He’s Back on His Bike After Frightening Incident

By Rodney Campbell, ABR Communications Manager


Kyle Cooper, MD
ABR volunteer Kyle Cooper, MD, has been cycling professionally for five years.

It was a moment Kyle Cooper, MD, doesn’t remember but one he’ll never forget.

An avid cyclist since his youth and a competitive one for the past five years, Dr. Cooper almost lost his life riding a bike last August. Cruising through the Redlands hills in Southern California, he was feeling fine.

“I just had a great day at work,” said Dr. Cooper, associate director of interventional radiology and IR/DR residency program director at Loma Linda University. “I was doing two hours of easy endurance riding.”

He turned onto a road that he rides at least once a week. A few minutes later, he said, he woke up “face down in a puddle of my own blood.”

There were no witnesses and the police report was put together later based on second-hand accounts, so Dr. Cooper can only speculate about what happened. He suspects that he was involved in a hit-and-run, which propelled him into the back of a parked landscaping trailer. The impact was so severe that several of Dr. Cooper’s teeth were found in the bed of the trailer two weeks later when a friend tracked it down.

“How does a pro cyclist going 15 mph on a flat stretch of road in broad daylight just run into a trailer?” said Dr. Cooper, who competes on a professional cycling team. “It just doesn’t happen.”

Click HERE to read more.


OLA Satisfaction Survey


The ABR is committed to ensuring that Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) is reliable, relevant, and meaningful. If you participate in OLA, we want to know how it is working for you. Please share your thoughts by completing this survey. It should take less than five minutes and will be used to make improvements to OLA.


Volunteer Spotlight header

Remembering Bob Hattery, a Leader in Uroradiology and Former ABR Executive Director

By N. Reed Dunnick, MD, Associate Executive Director for Diagnostic Radiology


Robert Hattery, MD
Robert Hattery, MD

Physician, scientist, administrator, husband, and father, Bob Hattery passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 11. He was admired and respected by all who knew him.

After his father died of a cardiac event at 50 years of age, when Bob was only two, Bob and his mother moved from Phoenix to Indiana to be near their extended family.  Bob was raised in Akron, a small town in northern Indiana. He would proudly point out that Akron had a stop light, though it was only a blinking red light. Having grown up in rural Indiana, I felt a special kinship with Bob. We also shared an interest in genitourinary tract radiology and followed Big Ten sports.

As still is the case with many young Hoosiers, Bob wanted a career in professional basketball. However, being vertically challenged, he wisely chose medicine. After completing both bachelor’s and medical degrees at Indiana University, he took his internship at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Bob then completed his radiology residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, serving his last year as chief resident. He satisfied his military commitment by spending two years as a flight surgeon at Lackland Air Base in San Antonio. 

Click HERE to read more.


Initial Certification 2024 Exam Dates Released


The 2024 initial certification exam schedule has been finalized. For more information about your individual exam, please click on the calendar option under your specialty’s tab on our website. If you have questions, please contact a certification services manager at (520) 790-2900 or

2024 Exam Dates Chart

Apply Now for ABMS Visiting Scholars Program


The application period for the American Board of Medical Specialties Visiting Scholars Program is open until June 18. Residents and early career physicians and physicists are invited to apply by visiting the ABMS’ website. Four scholars selected by the ABR will each receive $15,000 to fund their projects.

Visiting Scholar’s OLA Survey Remains Open for IR, DR Diplomates


Research performed by Sara Hunter, MD, the ABR’s first American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Visiting Scholar, is offering physicians the opportunity to share their thoughts on Continuing Certification.

Diagnostic and interventional radiologists who are participating in Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) should have received an email with the survey link in January. Dr. Hunter estimates it will take 25 to 30 minutes to complete the 21 questions; answers can be saved and the survey revisited later.

Her project is titled, “It’s Not Enough to be Up-to-Date, You Have to be Up-to-Tomorrow: How Longitudinal Assessment Encourages Radiologists to Stay Current.” She and her small research team worked for several months to prepare the survey. Her mentor, Kavita Bhatt, MD, is assisting. Like Dr. Hunter, Dr. Bhatt is a diagnostic radiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

DR and IR diplomates who are participating in OLA can find Dr. Hunter’s survey here.


March 28 Blog

Make Time for Fitness During Medical School and Beyond

March 21 Blog

Didn’t Match? Use the Extra Year to Invest in Yourself

March 14 Blog

Longtime Volunteer, Former ABR Trustee Earns SPR Award

March 9 Blog

Hospital Experience Inspired Her to Pursue Radiology

February 28 Blog

Visiting Scholar Offers Insight on Program

February 21 Blog

After Deferring His Dream, Medical Student Starts Path to Radiology Career




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