News from the ABR

The BEAM May 2020

May 27, 2020 | Volume 13, Issue 3

Executive Director Valerie Jackson, MD, talks with candidates outside the ABR Exam Center
Executive Director Valerie Jackson, MD, talks with candidates outside the ABR Exam Center.
From the Editor

by J. Anthony Seibert, PhD, ABR Governor


In this edition of The BEAM, President Brent Wagner discusses the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the adjustments the ABR continues to make regarding volunteer activities and exam scheduling for all disciplines. Please visit the ABR website for the latest information and ABR policies concerning these issues.

From the Executive Director – Valerie Jackson, who is retiring in July, reminisces about her professional career and the many opportunities that volunteering and serving the radiology profession, particularly with the ABR, has provided.

From the Board of Governors – Robert Barr, the secretary-treasurer and newly named president-elect, discusses his thoughts on present plans and future directions of the ABR.


Click HERE to read more.


ABR, Stakeholders Remaining Flexible During Uncertain Times

by Brent J. Wagner, MD, ABR President


The current challenges facing the world have impacted our families, our friends, and ourselves in ways we would have struggled to imagine as recently as late last year. Medical professionals have continued to exercise their invaluable talents in the care of their patients while adapting to unusual and evolving circumstances. This includes residents and fellows across all specialties who must balance, as part of their training, the demands of both requisite clinical duties and self-directed learning.

For the ABR, as it became clear that standard exam development activities would not be effective in the short term, staff and volunteer content experts quickly made adjustments: test assembly activities for upcoming exams were revised to use remote conferencing software. While this is often not optimal for the volunteers, the modification to the process promised to support continued success in exam creation that would be relevant and cost effective.


Click HERE to read more.


Serving Radiology Field Was Opportunity of a Lifetime

by Valerie P. Jackson, MD, ABR Executive Director


This July, I will close a huge chapter in my life – my professional career. I am often asked how I got where I am today, and I know it has been through good luck, great mentors, and an open mind. When I was in college, I had 11 different majors and a lot of uncertainty about what I should do with my life. I decided on medicine and ultimately diagnostic radiology. I have never regretted my decision! This was absolutely the right thing for me.

Like many radiologists of my era, I didn’t plan to become a breast radiologist. It was assigned to me, a bit against my will. However, it turned out to be a great opportunity. I loved the patient interaction, the ability to do research in a relatively young field, and the chance to pass on my knowledge to many residents and fellows during my 32 years on the faculty at Indiana University. 


Click HERE to read more.


Lessons Learned Will Help Guide New President-Elect

by Robert M. Barr, MD, ABR President-elect


I am excited to be named president-elect of the American Board of Radiology. As a private practice radiologist, this is not a role I had ever imagined myself in before joining the Board of Governors several years ago. At the time, I didn’t know what to expect.

Since becoming involved, I have found that I believe even more strongly in the ABR’s mission. What we do is not perfect, nor is it an exact science. But it serves an important role and it matters that we do it as well as we possibly can. The value of the public’s ability to rely on the knowledge, skill, and understanding of healthcare workers has been highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, our medical colleagues rely on us as trusted partners.


Click HERE to read more.


Impact of COVID-19 on IR Training and Certification

by M. Victoria Marx, MD, ABR Trustee


The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having a profound effect on all aspects of undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education in all specialties. The new primary specialty of interventional radiology (IR) is no exception. There is likely to be variability in medical student access to IR electives/selectives in the coming months – at the time of year when many fourth-year students interested in IR typically choose to participate in an IR clerkship. The breadth and volume of patients cared for and procedures performed in IR divisions may be lower than normal, limiting the educational experience available to residents. The most dramatic effect to most residents, however, has been the necessity for the ABR to cancel the June 2020 Core Exam.


Click HERE to read more.


Preparing for Non-Interpretive Skills Portion of ABR Exams

by David Larson, MD, MBA, ABR Trustee


Preparing for the Non-Interpretive Skills (NIS) section of ABR exams used to be a source of anxiety for some examinees, who were uncertain what material would be covered and questioned the relevance of the content. Significant changes have been made to NIS content on the Core and Certifying exams over the past several years to make it more predictable and relevant. Following is some of the thinking behind those changes.

The first task facing developers of NIS content for the ABR is determining what material examinees should be expected to master and at what level of detail. The scope of potential NIS topics is large; knowing what to exclude may be just as important as knowing what to include.


Click HERE to read more.


His ‘Marathon’ Complete, Former Volunteer Savors Rewards

Dr. Madsen

by Rodney Campbell, ABR Communications and Marketing Manager


After 17 years of long days and challenging work, Mark Madsen, PhD, stepped down last year from his duties as an ABR volunteer. He doesn’t regret a second of that time working as a committee member and examiner.

“Putting the exams together often required marathon sessions where hundreds of questions were reviewed,” he said. “Even though the days were long, the discussions associated with improving the quality of the exam material were very educational, and I learned a lot that I never would have been exposed to in my routine work.”


Click HERE to read more.


Spring Brings Record OLA Participation


Early spring was a busy time for Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) participation. During these challenging times of COVID-19, diplomates have stayed involved with OLA, setting single-day records for participation and questions answered in four consecutive weeks bridging March and April. The marks were set each Monday, the day OLA questions are issued to diplomates.

OLA started in January 2019 for diagnostic radiology and DR subspecialty diplomates. Interventional radiology, medical physics, and radiation oncology diplomates began participating in January 2020.


Click HERE to read more.



Two New AEDs Beginning Their Work in July


Starting July 1, the ABR will have two new associate executive directors (AEDs). Geoffrey Ibbott, PhD, will be replacing Donald Frey, PhD, for medical physics, and James Spies, MD, will take over for Anne Roberts, MD, for interventional radiology.

Both will act as liaisons to the board and other stakeholders. The ABR employs four AEDs as part-time staff, including those for diagnostic radiology and radiation oncology.


Click HERE to read more.


May 19 Blog

Diplomate Stays Fresh by Participating in MOC

May 12 Blog

Diagnostic Radiology IC Advisory Committee Improving Communication Between ABR, Candidates

May 5 Blog

Pandemic Bringing Changes to Residency Education

April 28 Blog

Radiology’s Vital Contribution to Patient Care During U.S. Epidemics

April 24 Blog

MOC Participation Agreement Gets Update

April 21 Blog

Radiology World Scrambling to Help Face Down Pandemic







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