ABMS Visiting Scholars Program Helps Shape Future Health Care Leaders

On March 16, 2022

The American Board of Medical Specialties Visiting Scholars Program (ABMS Visiting Scholars Program™) may last a year, but its impact lasts a lifetime.

“This one-year, part-time program facilitates the development of early-career physicians, medical and surgical specialists, and research professionals by supporting their research while encouraging their engagement with the ABMS community, which includes the 24 Member Boards that comprise ABMS as well as its Associate Members, and the broader certification community,” noted Greg Ogrinc, MD, MS, Senior Vice President of Certification Standards and Programs at ABMS.

“But it’s really about fostering the next generation of health care leaders,” he said. The program has helped Visiting Scholars advance their research aspirations, develop their leadership skills, and shape their career path. It also has afforded them opportunities to interact with national experts and thought leaders in health care and health policy, network with professional colleagues across the specialties, forge long-term friendships, and have their work nationally recognized and disseminated across the certification community. Some Visiting Scholars have subsequently chosen to serve on ABMS and Member Board committees, task forces, or councils to have a greater role in impacting the future of certification.

Launched in 2014, the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program promotes research that explores best practices and innovative approaches addressing priorities for ABMS and the broader certification community. Current research priorities are:

  • Diagnostic excellence within and across specialties
  • Competency-based medical education and assessments across the medical education continuum
  • Racial equity and diversity across the health care continuum
  • Physician engagement in quality improvement and patient safety initiatives
  • Research areas of interest to co-sponsor organizations, including the American Boards of Orthopaedic Surgery and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

“The topics have evolved over the years to reflect the most pressing issues in health care and certification,” Dr. Ogrinc said. “All of them, however, will result in deepening our understanding of how to best help physicians develop their skills and gain experience, which will positively impact the quality, safety, and value of patient care.”

Some Visiting Scholars have focused on medical education, for example, competency-based medical education and Entrustable Professional Activities. Others have targeted the certification process by assessing professionalism and professional conduct and the predictive validity of certification examinations; evaluating the use of patient-reported outcomes and simulation; and engaging physicians in lifelong learning and self-assessment as well as quality improvement. Other Visiting Scholars have tackled quality and performance measures, diagnostic excellence, and health equities across the health care continuum. Results from Visiting Scholars’ research is contributing to the growing medical literature that supports the development and ongoing assessment of specialists.

To date, 43 Visiting Scholars have participated in the program. During the year-long program, the Visiting Scholars remain at their home institutions and work with self-selected mentors. They also participate in monthly interactive webinars with national leaders, subject matter experts, and Visiting Scholar alumni who collectively offer guidance on their respective research projects and discuss such topics 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. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery have sponsored several select Visiting Scholars throughout the years.

“By participating in the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program, early-career physicians and researchers can turn one year in a medical career that spans thirty-plus years from ordinary into extraordinary,” Dr. Ogrinc concluded.

© 2022, American Board of Medical Specialties

Read more about the Visiting Scholars program.

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