In an effort to explain how the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto) functions, ENTtoday will publish a series of informational articles over the next few months. We hope you find this information helpful, and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact the ABOto office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-850-0399, or visit aboto.org.
The American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto) consists of 18 directors who meet twice a year, once after oral exams and once in the fall. The ABOto makes decisions and sets policy through a variety of committees, composed of the directors, and develops proposals for the full board to review on the last day of the meeting. Additionally, some of the committees also meet by conference call throughout the year.
The committees include:
- Credentials and Ethics;
- Exam/Group Leaders;
- Examiner Selection;
- Information and Liaison;
- Maintenance of Certification (MOC); and
Credentials and Ethics Committee
The Credentials and Ethics Committee is charged with the oversight of issues that concern eligibility for and retention of certificates issued by the ABOto. The committee comprises five directors, with the ABOto leadership participating as ex-officio members.
The committee reviews and approves applications to sit for the certification and subcertification processes. Upon request, the committee will consider and make reasonable accommodations for candidates with documented disabilities, because the ABOto supports the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The committee also periodically reviews applications for consideration as a “specially qualified individual.” These individuals must meet the ABOto requirement of having served seven years of continuous participation as a full-time otolaryngology faculty member in an American school of medicine recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges, along with active engagement in the teaching of otolaryngology residents in an otolaryngology training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Details of this pathway are available from the ABOto.
Certificates are issued to an individual physician with the clear understanding that the certificates are the property of the ABOto. The committee reviews the very few adverse state medical licensure actions that reach the threshold of potentially impacting the diplomate’s certificate, as well as other diplomate issues that come to the attention of the board. Some of the causes for review include:
- Making a material misstatement or withholding pertinent information in his/her application or any other representation to the board;
- Conviction by a court of any felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or, in the opinion of the board, having a material relationship to the practice of medicine;
- Revocation or limitation of a license to practice medicine;
- Failure to maintain appropriate professional standards in the practice of the specialty of otolaryngology; and
- Failure to comply with the MOC process for those who are required to participate in it.
Several policies have recently been recommended by the Credentials and Ethics Committee, and adopted by the board of directors:
- Individuals who have lost their certification can use the ABOto MOC program as one component to re-establish certification.
- Adoption of the American Board of Medical Specialties board eligibility policy on the use of the term “board eligible.” An individual may use the term “board eligible” for a period no longer than five years after completion of ACGME-accredited training for the primary certification exam. For those completing a subspecialty ACGME accredited fellowship in neurotology or sleep medicine, however, this time period is six years from the date of completion. The policy will be effective with those individuals entering training in 2013.
- Clarification of the program director’s responsibility in approving a graduating resident’s eligibility to sit for the ABOto examinations.