Benefits of ABMS Visiting Scholars Program Go Beyond Research

On March 16, 2022

For Co-sponsoring ABMS Member Boards

Research may top the list of benefits for the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Member Boards that co-sponsor the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program™, but it’s not the only one.

The ABMS Visiting Scholars Program facilitates the development of early-career physicians, medical and surgical specialists, and research professionals by supporting their research and advancing their leadership skills. During the one-year, part-time program, the Visiting Scholars engage with the ABMS community, which includes 24 Members Boards and Associate Members, and the broader certification community.

Brian Nussenbaum, MD

The American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (ABOHNS) became a sponsor to facilitate and promote research and assessment of certification, which is a priority for the Member Boards, said Brian Nussenbaum, MD, MHCM, ABOHNS’ Executive Director. “This is a great opportunity to collaborate with ABMS and facilitate this type of research especially for smaller boards, like ours, that don’t have the resources to do this work internally,” he added.

Visiting Scholars’ research projects have contributed to the medical literature that supports the development and ongoing assessment of specialists who positively impact the quality, safety, and value of patient care. Some Visiting Scholars have focused on medical education, for example, competency-based medical education (CBME) and Entrustable Professional Activities. Others have targeted the certification process by assessing professionalism and professional conduct and the predictive validity of certification examinations, and engaging physicians in lifelong learning and self-assessment as well as quality improvement.

David F. Martin, MD

Some of the seven Visiting Scholars co-sponsored by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) have evaluated the role of simulation in teaching surgical skills, and the correlation between anatomic knowledge and surgical competency, noted David F. Martin, MD, ABOS’ Executive Medical Director. “These projects add to the growing body of literature about teaching surgical skills,” he said.

ABOS has been collecting patient reported outcomes (PROs) as part of its surgical case lists for the last three years. The purpose is to engage the patient in the board certification process and familiarize orthopaedic surgeons with PROs and their relationship to board certification, Dr. Martin explained. Two Visiting Scholars have started to evaluate the PRO data. Thomas Utset-Ward, MD, MBA, a 2021-2022 Visiting Scholar, is conducting a pilot study on the use of the ABOS Knowledge, Skills, and Behavior (ABOS KSB) Program, which is an assessment tool used to measure CBME in residency programs in real time. Dr. Utset-Ward will try to determine how the ABOS KSB Program informs the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Milestones 2.0.

For her research project, 2020-2021 Visiting Scholar Michelle Chen, MD, MHS, assessed competencies of otolaryngology residents. ABOHNS has been working with Dr. Chen on follow-up research now being conducted internally. “The research she has done is a great head start, but it raised new and different questions that we believe are important to follow-up on,” Dr. Nussenbaum said.

As important as the research is engaging with the next generation of health care professionals, Dr. Nussenbaum noted. “The program allows us to interact with a population of physicians we normally don’t have the opportunity to because they are either just completing the board certification process or are in the midst of it,” Dr. Martin added.

The program introduces the Visiting Scholars to the board certification process and explains how ABOS interacts with ABMS, other Member Boards, Associate Members, and ABOS’ specialty and subspecialty societies,” he said. They know ACGME but not necessarily the other Associate Members, Dr. Martin added. Additionally, co-sponsoring the program since 2015 led ABOS to conduct resident focus groups, which led the board to form its Resident Advisory Panel in 2021.

A program co-sponsor since 2019, ABOHNS has supported two Visiting Scholars, to date, and is eager to co-sponsor more. “We’re very committed to this program,” Dr. Nussenbaum said. “It’s a well-organized, structured, and effective program.”

Dr. Martin concurred. “We have found the program to be very valuable,” he said. “The individuals involved in it are tomorrow’s leaders. These young scholars are the people we depend on to understand the value of board certification and physician self-regulation into the future.”

© 2022, American Board of Medical Specialties

Read more about the Visiting Scholars program.


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