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Physician Voice

Physician Voice

Pictured: Mercy Adetoye, MD; Quinn Bott, MD; Kultaj Kaleka, MD; Andrew Kim, MD; Candice Kim, MD; Carmen Reid, MD; Alyse Wheelock, MD; James Wu, MD at the "[Re]Building Trust: A Path Forward" conference on August 4, 2019

Over the last several years, we have spoken to more physicians about ABIM’s programs than ever. Physicians have advocated for more choice, flexibility and relevance in maintaining board certification and encouraged us to reaffirm our values as an organization by committing to promoting equity and inclusion in health care.

We have made a number of programmatic and policy changes to reflect the feedback we’ve received from the community—launching the new, parental leave clarificationsnursing mothers’ webinarwomen in ABIM leadership—but in a recent survey, many physicians told ABIM that the organization doesn’t "understand physicians like me."

Now more than ever, it is imperative that we bridge this gap and seek understanding.

In the fall of 2020, ABIM held listening sessions with early-career physicians, women physicians, and Black physicians in order to hear what they value, how to communicate more effectively with them, and how they would like ABIM to proceed with our diversity and health equity work. 

Some common themes emerged:

Physicians felt that their relationship with ABIM in the past had been transactional and only focused on issues specific to their board certification. They didn’t know that they could come to ABIM with concerns, because they didn’t know that anyone would be listening.
Physicians welcomed personal and authentic interaction with ABIM. They appreciated having a safe space to share their experiences and criticism, along with hopes and ideas for future direction.
Physicians recognized that ABIM is making an effort to shift programs and policies, especially by creating a longitudinal assessment option. They asked ABIM to continue taking the initiative to share updates and seek their feedback.
There are many more groups that ABIM wants to hear from, and we plan to continue holding listening sessions on a rolling basis. We recognize that no single invitation can reach every physician, and we invite you to share your thoughts, suggestions and feedback at any point.

What physicians told us in ABIM Listening Sessions

Women Physicians

In a session facilitated by ABIM Vice President of Medical Education Research, Lorna Lynn, MD, women physicians wanted to ensure that their colleagues just starting their career weren’t left behind. While new MOC options solved some issues, initial certification hasn’t changed much, and ABIM should “look at the cadence of women’s lives when they have children; postpartum depression, pregnancy loss, clinical depression.”

As a result of these impactful and constructive conversations, ABIM plans to continue speaking with groups of women physicians in 2022, particularly with women enrolled in the LKA and women who decided to register for the traditional, 10-year MOC exam instead of the LKA.

Early-Career Physicians

ABIM Board Member, Vineet Arora, MD, led a listening session with early-career physicians who shared similar concerns about the complexity of navigating their personal lives in combination with the start of their medical careers, complying with inconsistent or redundant training and documentation requirements across multiple medical organizations and the rising costs of living, practicing medicine and maintaining certification.

They would like ABIM to take a more supportive role in their educational journey. "It’s hard to say whether any organization cares about you. I agree with value of certification, but between the pandemic, childcare, and a new job, it makes it hard to think it’s worth it; is it worth it?" said one participant.

Black Physicians

Chair of ABIM’s DEI Committee, Robert Roswell, MD, led a listening session with Black physicians who said that they supported our desire to seek out the data that would uncover any potential bias and disparate outcomes in our exams. They also suggested we get in touch with affinity groups to make more inroads with physicians of color. This would give us the opportunity to invite more diverse voices to the table. “The voice of ABIM has to change. Right now, it sounds white and male,” said one participant.

ABIM is grateful to the Black physicians who gave time and energy to speak with Dr. Roswell, and will use the framework of that session to hold conversations in 2022 with Asian physicians and Latino physicians.

Create Something New:

Become an Item-Writing Task Force Member

If you have interest in health equity, we encourage you to get involved. ABIM established the Item-Writing Task Forces to help meet the increased demand for content associated with providing physicians new, more flexible assessment options. 


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