News from the ABR

The Beam December 2023

December 2023 | Volume 16, Issue 6

Photo by Desiree Morgan, MD, the new editor of The Beam.


From the Editor

New Beam Editor Looks Forward to Sharing ABR Updates and Perspectives

By Desiree Morgan, MD, ABR Governor, and Mary S. Newell, MD, ABR Associate Executive Director for Diagnostic Radiology


Welcome to the December 2023 edition of The Beam. It is my honor to be assuming editorial duties from Mimi Newell, a great mentor and friend to me at the ABR. I am excited to share updates of ABR processes, news and perspectives of our candidates and diplomates, and stories of our inspirational volunteers and enthusiastic staff. At the outset, I would like to thank everyone who works to produce The Beam every other month and invite you to contact me with any topics you’d enjoy seeing in upcoming issues.  

In this issue . . .

From the President

ABR President Robert M. Barr, MD, gives an update on upcoming refinements to the ABR web portal, myABR, and alerts us to minor changes in the Continuing Certification program. 

From the Executive Director

ABR Administrative and Exam Support Manager Kinsey SmithWright and ABR Executive Director Brent Wagner, MD, MBA, review the successful ABR transition from in-person to fully remote exams and outline the steep (and continuous) learning curve involved, with recent and ongoing improvements.  

Click HERE to read more.


Upcoming Enhancements to myABR and Continuing Certification

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


In January, we will be implementing improved design elements and functionality to the ABR web portal, myABR. Our goal with these enhancements is to provide a more intuitive and personalized Continuing Certification* experience.

What’s New in myABR?

Each diplomate will have a dashboard customized for their specific needs. This is the first page you will see when logging in to myABR, and it will provide individualized updates and action items. The enhancements will also include updated navigation and layout, which will provide a more intuitive online experience.      

What Else Do I Need to Know?

You will no longer be required to complete an annual attestation for your Continuing Certification participation. Remember to continue to complete the Continuing Certification requirements outlined below and keep documentation for Parts 2 and 4 in case you are audited by the ABR. For Part 2, you need 75 Category 1 CME credits in the previous three-year period. As of 2024, the self-assessment CME (SA-CME) requirement has been eliminated for all participants.

Click HERE to read more.


Staff, Candidate Efforts Make Remote Exams Successful

By Kinsey SmithWright, ABR Administrative and Exam Support Manager, and Brent Wagner, MD, MBA, ABR Executive DirectorBy Kinsey SmithWright, ABR Administrative and Exam Support Manager, and Brent Wagner, MD, MBA, ABR Executive Director


The ABR stewarded 11,853 (computer-based) and 2,440 (oral) candidates through 52 exam administrations from when our exams went fully remote in early 2021 through the end of 2022. To say we have learned a lot understates the steep curve we continually met to ensure each administration was a success.

Concept and design investment, as well as careful planning, has enabled the ABR to build robust platforms that measure a candidate’s competency in their designated specialty.

Every exam delivery has been different, building on opportunities to refine while also presenting new challenges to our operating procedures. One of the key takeaways is that even if we (ABR staff and candidates) do everything correctly, that does not ensure a smooth exam experience. Our data indicates that the factors that commonly cause unanticipated interruptions are internet outages, third-party software updates/provider issues, database resource strain, unsupported operating system/browser issues, and institutional network firewalls.

Click HERE to read more.


From the Board of Trustees

Board Meeting Emphasizes Balance for Candidates, Diplomates

By Robert M. Barr, MD, ABR President; Cheri L. Canon, MD, ABR President-elect; and Matthew B. Podgorsak, PhD, ABR Board of Trustees ChairBy Robert M. Barr, MD, ABR President; Cheri L. Canon, MD, ABR President-elect; and Matthew B. Podgorsak, PhD, ABR Board of Trustees Chair


The ABR Board of Governors (BOG) and Board of Trustees (BOT) met for several days in early October and engaged in highly productive discussions on a broad range of topics. Some pertained to focused decisions on policies or actions, whereas others were ideas for improvement that will require further conversation over the next few months. Considerations of targeted projects were mixed with earnest discussions regarding the board’s obligation to serve our mission to patients and the public. It would be impossible to summarize a week’s worth of overlapping meetings in this piece, but here are some of the highlights.

Board members are excited by advances made in the development of the new myABR platform, scheduled for a stepwise release in 2024. After logging in, candidates and diplomates will see tailored content that corresponds not only to their specialty but also to their position in the certification process (progressing through qualifying exams, certifying exams, and Continuing Certification including Online Longitudinal Assessment).

Click HERE to read more.


From the Board of Trustees

ABR Seeks New DR and MP Trustees for 2024-2027 Term

By Kalpana M. Kanal, PhD, and Stephen F. Simoneaux, MD, ABR Trustees; Matthew B. Podgorsak, PhD, ABR Board of Trustees Chair; Mary S. Newell, MD, ABR Associate Executive Director for Diagnostic Radiology; and Geoffrey S. Ibbott, PhD, ABR Associate Executive Director for Medical Physics


By Kalpana M. Kanal, PhD, and Stephen F. Simoneaux, MD, ABR Trustees; Matthew B. Podgorsak, PhD, ABR Board of Trustees Chair; Mary S. Newell, MD, ABR Associate Executive Director for Diagnostic Radiology; and Geoffrey S. Ibbott, PhD, ABR Associate Executive Director for Medical Physics

The ABR is in the process of soliciting three new trustees. Members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) have specific specialty and subspecialty expertise, reflecting major areas of current clinical practice. The BOT consists of 20 trustees, 10 of whom specialize in diagnostic radiology, three in interventional radiology, three in medical physics, and four in radiation oncology.

Trustees play a crucial role in the decision-making processes of the Board, specifically related to the administration of exams. The trustees are responsible for advancing the quality, relevance, and effectiveness of the ABR’s exams for initial certification, subspecialty certification, and continuing certification across all disciplines of radiology and medical physics. The BOT makes recommendations to the Board of Governors regarding assessment structure including, but not limited to, exam format, content, assembly, delivery, scoring and feedback.

Click HERE to read more.


Focus on DR

Volunteer Opportunities on DR Oral Exam Will Begin in 2026

By Desiree E. Morgan, MD, ABR Governor


Earlier this year, the ABR announced that beginning in 2028 and first applying to DR residents completing training in June 2027 (entering their R1 year in July 2023), the certifying exam for DR will be the new DR Oral Exam. Many of you have expressed interest in serving as oral board examiners, and we are grateful for your enthusiasm! Hundreds of volunteers will be needed for successful remote administration of the new exam.

Optimal implementation of the new DR Oral Exam in 2028 will require technical infrastructure enhancements, creation of new oral case writing committees, and organization of candidate preparation and examiner training materials, in addition to the critical recruitment of hundreds of oral examiners. In the spring of 2024, the ABR will survey current and former diagnostic radiology volunteers regarding their interest in serving as oral board examiners. Interested diplomates will be recruited to officially apply in 2026, with formation of oral exam committees in 2027. Please be sure to check future Beam issues and the ABR website for details as these important junctures occur.


Combating Shortages in Radiation Oncology Staffing Requires Long-Term Investment, Creativity

Michael Yunes, MDBy Michael Yunes, MD, ABR Associate Executive Director for Radiation Oncology


For the past several years, our radiation oncology colleagues have been discussing challenges facing the clinical workforce. In addition to the discussion surrounding physician supply, these conversations have focused on the real or perceived undersupply of clinical physicists and dosimetrists available for employment. It was therefore somewhat surprising that the dialogue recently changed, and many hospitals and clinics are now also dealing with a shortage of radiation therapists.

In 2022, the Radiation Therapy Staffing and Workplace Survey was published, and although the response rate was only 4.3%, there were several interesting findings that corroborated what was being experienced in human resource offices. Including all regions of the country, an estimated 10.7% of radiation therapy positions and 11.3% of medical dosimetry positions were unfilled. As expected, there was significant regional, facility, and personal demographic variability among unfilled positions. From 2020 to 2022, the overall estimated vacancy rate of radiation therapy and medical dosimetry positions rose by 3.5% and 1.8%, respectively. Per linear accelerator, the mean number of radiation therapists was 2.4 and medical dosimetrists, 1.1.

Click HERE to read more.


A Young Mom’s DABR Triumph

By Mallory Carson Glenn, PhD, DABR®, MOM*


Several years of graduate study, two years of residency, and three board exams. These are the hurdles we medical physicists must overcome to earn the title of DABR, our proof of clinical competency and ability to provide quality in patient care. Many would say that the long course of study is decorated with our own blood, sweat, and tears, but we must pause to recognize its greater impact around us, too.

Yes, even for me there were many tears shed in this process – not just mine, but also that of my 9-month-old son. It’s hard enough being a working physicist studying for exams. It’s also hard enough being a new parent. Put the two together and you’re juggling torches while walking a tightrope, a delicate balancing act and colossal test of determination.

My journey toward ABR certification began long before my son’s arrival, and I had been well acquainted with intense studying as a student. But as Part 3 approached and motherhood set in, early mornings and late nights became my allies – my only moments of uninterrupted quiet. I often had to sacrifice precious quality time with my budding family. Fortunately, my husband understood and took over with boundless patience when I needed these precious moments to pore over task group reports. I had to trust in the process with my two most supportive cheerleaders at my side.

Click HERE to read more.


Volunteer Spotlight header

Nuclear Medical Physicist’s ‘Hobby’ Helps Improve His Field

Patrick Byrne, PhD
Patrick Byrne, PhD

By Rodney Campbell, ABR Communications Manager


Patrick Byrne, PhD, has a unique way of thinking about his ABR volunteer work.

“If I spend a couple of weekends a year traveling to Tucson or Chicago or doing some committee work, I don’t feel too bad about it,” he said. “I approach it like a hobby in addition to my job.”

Volunteering isn’t his only hobby – he also enjoys hiking, traveling, and working on cars. He participates in those activities when he has free time, which doesn’t come often.

Dr. Byrne is a nuclear medicine consultant in Indianapolis and an adjunct lecturer at the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Radiology. Some of his time off is spent volunteering as an oral examiner and as a senior editor for nuclear medical physics OLA questions.

“I love nuclear medicine,” he said. “I’m a nuclear medicine nerd.”

Click HERE to read more.


In Memoriam header

Former ABR Neuroradiology Trustee Remembered for Service and Leadership

Robert D. Zimmerman, MD
Robert D. Zimmerman, MD

By Eric Russell, MD, ABR Volunteer


A longtime ABR trustee and committee member and my dearest friend, Robert D. Zimmerman, MD, passed away after a prolonged illness, in the presence of his beloved wife Ellen and his two children, Max and Molly, on October 5.

A magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University, he received his MD degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I met Bob in the residency program at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. When Bob returned as faculty after his fellowship at George Washington University, I was the chief resident and we hit it off. His infectious love for his specialty and his clinical excellence and dedication to teaching led me to follow in his footsteps, and we remained close friends for over 40 years.

Bob went on to a stellar career at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, and was a highly sought after expert as referring physicians came to rely on his opinions. His enduring interest in teaching and education led to many important roles, including residency and fellowship program director and vice chair for education and faculty development. Many of his trainees went on to become regional and national leaders. He was a productive researcher, with more than 115 peer-reviewed publications, including seminal research papers during the early days of CT and MRI. A gifted speaker, he was highly sought after for visiting professorships.

Click HERE to read more.

November 28 Blog

Assistant Professor Learning as ABMS Visiting Scholar

November 21 Blog

It’s Also the Season for Professional Gratitude

November 14 Blog

Visiting Scholar Has Quality and Safety on Her Mind

November 7 Blog

Expertise in Variety of Roles Earns Volunteer ABR Lifetime Award

October 31 Blog

Her Visiting Scholars Question: Why Aren’t More Women Interested in RO?

October 24 Blog

New BOG Member’s Experiences Help Her Better Relate to Patients





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