ABO Newsletter Now Digital
We welcome you to the inaugural online issue
of the ABO Newsletter! New editions will be available at www.abop.org, with notice of
publication sent out through e-mail. Click here to join our e-mail list.
Message from the Chair
Welcome to the inaugural edition of the digital
version of the ABO Newsletter. With this change in format, you can
expect more frequent and timely communication highlighting
important information about Certification and Maintenance of
Certification activities and policies.
I began my term as a Board Director in 2006, the same year that
the Board launched Maintenance of Certification (MOC). As a
practicing glaucoma specialist in my seventh year with the Board
and now serving as Chair, I have had the opportunity to work with
my colleagues on the Board to improve the MOC process in value to
both the public and to the diplomate. Through this experience, I
have learned to appreciate how an organization primarily made up of
practicing ophthalmologists can impact the nation's overall eye
The ABO consists of mostly volunteer practicing
ophthalmologists, including 19 ophthalmologist Board Directors and
hundreds of oral examiners, written item writers, oral exam item
writers, MOC item writers, and exam content development committee
members. The Board also includes two members of the public who
serve as Board Directors and represent the voice of the
We're pleased to report robust usage of the new and improved ABO website, with
25,927 site visits from February 15 to May 15 of this year.
A highlight of the new website allows patients to easily
determine whether their ophthalmologist is Board Certified.
Although Gallup poll research shows that 70 percent of patients are
interested in knowing if his or her physician is Board Certified,
finding that information is often difficult. In 2012, the Board
introduced an easy-to-use public search feature on its website. This search feature
allows patients to search for an ophthalmologist and learn about
ABO Certification and Maintenance of Certification. A search
provides the patient with the following information:
- Physician Name, Location
- Board Certified (or not)
- Date of Certification(s)
- Participation in MOC
Users can look for a particular doctor or search for a list of
Board Certified doctors in their area. It's simple, it's free and
it's easy to use and understand. Users do not need to register or
log on. We want it to be easy for patients to access this important
information. When a patient searches for a Board Certified
ophthalmologist, the results include an explanation not only of the
rigorous standards necessary for the achievement of Board
Certification, but also of the dedication to excellence and
improvement demonstrated through maintaining Certification. Despite
being brand new, the "Verify a Physician" page has received 4,503
page views in the last three months.
The next phase of this search functionality will allow you, the
diplomate, to add additional information for the public to see,
including your contact information, your picture, and a link to
your website. Expect to hear more about this later this year.
The Board is also working to make your participation in MOC easy
to navigate. MOC has always been a flexible program which includes
on-demand activities that can be self-selected based on your type
of practice. In 2012, the ABO provided even more choices,
flexibility, and value, including:
- a menu of options that are suited for either comprehensive or
- the option to pay a low annual fee for use of most MOC
- the ability to meet multiple requirements through participation
in single MOC activities;
- the ability to elect to participate in the PQRS MOC incentive
program (look for more on PQRS coming in our next newsletter, later
in the summer).
The ABO is ophthalmology's self-governing body responsible for
setting the standards for excellence and assessing those standards
over a lifetime of practice. The ABO's mission is to serve the
public. Your participation in Board Certification and MOC
demonstrates your commitment to the very best eye care for your
patients. The Board is proud of the efforts of both ABO volunteers
and diplomates to uphold the highest standards of excellence. We
will continue to work to inform patients of the tremendous
importance of Board Certification.
Wallace L.M. Alward. M.D.
Chair, American Board of Ophthalmology
Changes to Policy and Timeline of Board Eligibility
In 2012, the ABO is instituting a new Board
Eligibility policy that requires successful completion of Board
Certification requirements within seven years of residency
graduation. This policy impacts all candidates for Board
Certification as follows:
- All candidates for Board Certification who complete residency
in 2012 and beyond must successfully complete the written and oral
examinations within seven years of finishing residency.
- All candidates who completed residency prior to 2012 must
successfully complete the written and oral examinations within
seven years of the 2012 implementation of this policy (by December
Changes to Maintenance of Certification (MOC)
Beginning in 2012, newly-certified diplomates and diplomates
starting a new MOC cycle will participate in MOC on an annual
basis. They will pay an annual fee of $200 for participation in MOC
activities. This fee will cover all MOC activities for the
Diplomates already in the midst of an MOC cycle will continue to
follow their current MOC timeframe, which includes completion of
the four parts of MOC in designated years over the ten year period
of their certificate, as well as minor changes to CME requirements.
The 2012 fees for MOC will be $1000 for the Part 4 Practice
Assessment activity; no charge for three online self-assessment
tests; and $1000 for the Part 3 MOC Cognitive Examination.
Diplomates will also have the option of paying an annual fee based
on fees paid to date; this feature will be fully implemented by
late summer 2012.
Please click here for a dates and deadlines reference chart about
changes to MOC.
For more information about
Maintenance of Certification, please click here.
2012-2013 Dates and Deadlines
The spring 2012 Oral Examination will be held
June 1-3 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California.
Candidates' session assignment information was mailed in early
March; for important
information on re-registration and candidates' assignments, please
The fall 2012 Oral Examination will be held October 12-14 at the
Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California. The registration
deadline for this examination is July 15, 2012. For more information on the
Oral Examinations, please click here.
The 2013 Written Qualifying Examination (WQE) is currently
scheduled for April 9, 2013. The deadline to register for this
examination is August 1, 2012. For more
information on the WQEs, please click here.
For full year-by-year examination statistics,
please click here.
Upcoming Dates and Deadlines At-a-Glance
Fall 2012 Oral Examination: October 12-14,
July 15, 2012
2013 Written Qualifying Examination: April 9,
$1950 (late registration)
August 1, 2012
October 1, 2012 (late registration)
Spring 2013 Oral Examination: June 7-9,
To Be Announced
February 15, 2013
Fall 2013 Oral Examination: October 25-27,
To Be Announced
July 15, 2013
Transitions: Directors Emeritus
Please join us in reflecting on the distinguished records of
service of Dr. Marilyn B. Mets and Dr. James C. Orcutt.
Marilyn B. Mets, M.D.
By Nancy A. Hamming, M.D., ABO Director
The ABO shall miss Dr. Marilyn Mets as she rotates
off an eight year term as a Director. Through her dedication,
warmth, kindness, and commitment, she has been an exemplary role
model in her service on the Board. Despite her incredibly busy
schedule, she always has time to listen to the views of others and
is open to diverse opinions.
Dr. Mets has served on numerous committees of
the ABO, including Chair of the Finance Committee, Oral Prop
Captain, Nominating/Governing Committee, Hearing Committee, Oral
Committee, and very importantly, as the ABO's representative to the
American Board of Medical Specialties. In her role with the ABMS,
she was elected Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Monitoring
of Maintenance of Certification and Chair of the Patient Safety
In addition to her ABO and ABMS activities, Dr. Mets has been very
active in AAPOS, AAO, AOS, and the Costenbader Society, holding
numerous positions and receiving many awards from these
organizations. Her many publications, book chapters, presentations,
and awards are too numerous to cite here.
Dr. Mets has been the Division Head and Professor at Children's
Memorial Hospital in Chicago from 1990 to the present. She also
serves as Director of the Electrophysiology Lab at Northwestern
University Department of Ophthalmology.
Originally from Rhode Island, Marilyn earned an MS from the
Harvard School of Public Health before entering medical school. She
graduated with an MD from George Washington University Medical
School. After her residency at the Cleveland Clinic, she completed
a Pediatric Ophthalmology fellowship with Marshall Parks, followed
by another fellowship in Ophthalmic Genetics with Irene
Although a dedicated clinician, researcher, leader, and volunteer,
Marilyn has always made her family a priority in her life. Her
husband, Dr. Laurens Mets, and their three children, Becca, Dave,
and Cass, have been the center of Marilyn's life. Her daughter
Becca has followed in her footsteps and is now a practicing
pediatric ophthalmologist--a true testament to Marilyn's importance
as a role model.
Although the ABO will miss her as a Director, we know that Marilyn
will continue her involvement with her many contributions to our
field of ophthalmology--and maybe have a little more time for
sailing and travel. She is truly a remarkable woman and
James C. Orcutt, M.D., Ph.D.
By Anthony C. Arnold, M.D., ABO Director
Dr. James C. Orcutt completed his tenure as a
Director for the ABO in December of 2011. He served as an Associate
Examiner beginning in 1985, advancing to work on development of
Oral Examination Patient Management Problems (PMPs) as a Special
Associate Examiner in 1994, until his appointment as a Director in
Jim began his career by earning a PhD in
Pharmacy from the University of Colorado, followed by an MD from
the same institution, a residency in ophthalmology at University of
Washington Seattle, and fellowship training in neuro-ophthalmology
and orbital diseases in London. With these powerful credentials, he
returned to Seattle, where he has been Director of the
Neuro-Ophthalmology Division since 1984. He subsequently
distinguished himself as an academician, with an extensive
bibliography and frequent presentations at the national and
international level. His expertise and leadership skills eventually
led to major leadership positions in the Veterans Administration,
where he served as National Ophthalmology Program Director for
Patient Care Services from 2000 to 2011.
Jim has been a force on the Board from the
beginning. He immediately became the leader of the
neuro-ophthalmology and orbit section of the Oral Examination,
later graduating to Chair of the Oral Exam Committee and, during
his last year of service, Chair of the Board. He is the ultimate
leader by example: never flashy, never loud, just almost always
right. We have come to know and respect Jim's opinions on a wide
range of topics, which are always clear and well thought-out. He
has been a strong and steady voice of reason for our group.
But for those of us who know Jim, his most
important quality is his genuine warmth and enjoyment of life and
nature, whether hiking, fishing, or enjoying that other wonder of
nature, the fermented grape. We have spent countless hours in
conversation, and as one who has learned much from these, I'd like
to join the Board in thanking Jim for his service and for his
friendship. He will certainly be missed.
Transitions: Meet the Newest ABO Directors
We're pleased to welcome Dr. Harold
Ellis Shaw Jr. and Dr. Bhavna P. Sheth to the ABO Board of
Directors. These two ophthalmologists began their first terms as
directors of the American Board of Ophthalmology on January 1,
Harold Ellis Shaw, Jr., M.D.
Greenville, South Carolina
Dr. Shaw is a private practitioner
specializing in neuro-ophthalmology with the Jervey Eye Group, P.A.
Dr. Shaw studied medicine at the Medical University of South
Carolina and completed his residency at Duke University. Following
residency, he completed a fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, FL. Dr. Shaw is the author of
numerous peer-reviewed publications, is a fellow of the American
Academy of Ophthalmology, and is a member of several specialty
societies. Dr. Shaw is also very active in civic
Bhavna P. Sheth, M.D.
Dr. Sheth is Professor of
Ophthalmology and Program Director of the Ophthalmology Residency
Program at the Department of Ophthalmology at the Medical College
of Wisconsin where she has practiced for 15 years. She completed
medical school and ophthalmology residency at the Medical College
of Wisconsin. Dr. Sheth is the recipient of the American Academy of
Ophthalmology's Achievement Award and is a member of several
professional societies. In addition to authoring numerous
peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, Dr. Sheth is
currently a June 2012 MBA candidate at the Kellogg
School of Management at
Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
About the Board of Directors
Directors are selected from a pool of
nationally-prominent practicing ophthalmologists. Two non-clinician
public directors hold seats on the board to represent the voice of
the patients and public. Directors are tasked with setting the
organization's strategic goals and executing the overall mission of
the ABO. They are elected to a maximum of two four-year terms and
volunteer significant time to the development of the certification
and Maintenance of Certification processes.
For more on the ABO Board of Directors, please click
2011 Examiner Acknowledgements
The ABO sincerely thanks its 2011 roster of
Examiners and Item Writing Committee Members for their commitment
Examiners are diplomates selected to serve as Examiners for the
oral examination, item writers for the written and oral
examinations, and special committee members in the development of
examination materials. Examiners are selected based on a rigorous
evaluation and their demonstrated dedication to the provision of
quality ophthalmic care.
The ABO is grateful to the many current Examiners who assist in
the examination process and who do so without compensation. The
costs associated with preparing and administering a national
standardized examination are high. For many years, to help offset
these costs, the ABO has been the recipient of this extraordinary
act of beneficence by hundreds of ophthalmologists throughout the
country. Without this voluntary participation, the candidates'
expenses would be considerably higher.
In recognition of their contribution, the ABO would like to
recognize and thank those who served as Examiners in 2011 and
specially recognize those Examiners who have shown unwavering
commitment to the ABO by examining at more than 15
Click here for the 2011