ABMS Selects Eight Visiting Scholars for the 2020–2021 Class

On November 24, 2020

Top Row: Susrutha Kotwal, MD; Alison Huffstetler, MD; Melvin Makhni, MD, MBA; Joel Willis, DO, PA, MA, MPhil
Bottom Row: Jacquelyn Dunahoe, MD; Robert Hayden, MD; Michelle Chen, MD, MHS; Justin Berk, MD, MPH, MBA


Eight physicians receive financial awards for research in physician assessment, continuing professional development, and practice improvement

CHICAGO – November 24, 2020The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has selected eight outstanding individuals to participate in its 2020–2021 Visiting Scholars Program. Launched in 2014, the one-year, part-time Visiting Scholars Program supports early-career physicians and researchers in scholarship and leadership development in the fields of physician assessment, continuing professional development and practice improvement, initial and continuing board certification, and related health policy issues.

ABMS Visiting Scholars are selected based on the quality of their proposed research project, the relevance of their research to the ABMS mission and the certification community, and the likelihood of making substantial progress on the project during the scholar year. Applications that address priorities and challenges for the certification community or are developed in collaboration with one or more ABMS Member Boards may receive priority.

“It is easy to see why a record-setting number of Visiting Scholars were named this year,” stated Richard E. Hawkins, MD, ABMS President and Chief Executive Officer. “These research projects get to the heart of some of the most critical issues the health care field is facing, from patient outcomes and racial bias to remote exams. We are pleased to have these talented physicians be part of this program and join a growing alumni of dynamic physician leaders.”  

To date, 36 Visiting Scholars have participated in the program. During the yearlong program, ABMS Visiting Scholars remain at their home institutions, work with self-selected mentors, and participate in monthly interactive webinars with national leaders in such areas as medical education, assessment, professionalism, research methodologies, and big data. They traditionally attend three in-person leadership meetings and present their research findings before a national audience at the annual ABMS Conference. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these in-person meetings and presentations may be hosted virtually.

The 2020–2021 Visiting Scholars and their projects are:

  • Justin Berk, MD, MPH, MBA, Assistant Professor, Rhode Island Hospital of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island)—The Role of Medical Education Podcasts in Continuing Professional Development
  • Michelle Chen, MD, MHS, Lecturer/Fellow, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan)—Competency Assessment amongst Residents in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Training Programs (Co-sponsored by the American Board of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery)
  • Jacquelyn Dunahoe, MD, Resident Physician, University of Washington (Seattle, Washington)—The Impact of Orthopaedic Surgical Training and Practice Characteristics on Patient Reported Outcomes
  • Robert Hayden, MD, Resident Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Boston, Massachusetts)—Racial Bias in Educational Simulations of Virtual Patients with COVID-19 (Co-sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation)
  • Alison Huffstetler, MD, Assistant Professor/Clinical Researcher, Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Virginia)—Family Medicine Certification Status and Quality of Care Provisioned in Virginia
  • Susrutha Kotwal, MD, Assistant Professor, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, Maryland)—Real-world Virtual Patient Curriculum to Improve Diagnosis: Evaluating Validity Evidence (Co-sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation)
  • Melvin Makhni, MD, MBA, Spine Surgeon/Instructor, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Boston, Massachusetts)—Perspectives and Economic Impact of Transition to Virtual-Based Orthopaedic Board Examinations (Co-sponsored by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery)
  • Joel Willis, DO, PA, MA, MPhil, Faculty Physician, The George Washington University, Medical Faculty Associates (Washington, DC)—Telemedicine in the Ambulatory Primary Care Space: Implications for Patient Safety, Diagnostic Error, and Preventable Diagnostic Harm (Co-sponsored by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation)

“ABMS is grateful to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery for their tremendous support of five members of this year’s class,” said Dr. Hawkins. “Their sponsorship helps us to sustain this program and offer more early-career physicians access to this opportunity.”

Applications for the 2021-2022 Visiting Scholars Program will be available January 2021 on the ABMS website at visitingscholars.abms.org

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About ABMS Established in 1933, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is the leading not-for-profit organization overseeing physician certification in the United States. ABMS supports 24 Member Boards that develop educational and professional standards and programs of assessment to certify physician specialists, all dedicated to improving the quality of care to the patients, families and communities they serve. More than 920,000 physicians are certified in one or more of 40 specialties and 87 subspecialties offered by the ABMS Member Boards.  For more information about ABMS, visit abms.org or call (312) 436-2600.

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