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June 15, 2009

Report of the American Board of Surgery

Arch Surg. 2009;144(6):591-595. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2009.85

The American Board of Surgery met in Cancun, Mexico, for 5 days under the direction of Russell Postier, MD, Chair. The following issues were addressed (Table).

The American Board of Internal Medicine has proposed to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) that a new procedure for the recognition of expertise in a focused area of practice be developed for use in maintenance of certification. This would be specifically targeted to areas in which expertise is developed after residency as a result of a specific practice environment and would allow explicit recognition of subspecialty areas of practice for which the focus has narrowed. Such areas would be distinguished from, and would not overlap with, areas in which subspecialty certificates are offered, because they would not necessarily require additional fellowship training after residency, nor would any subspecialty examination be given. The principal impetus for this has come from medical hospitalists within the American Board of Internal Medicine, who normally receive no training beyond basic medical residency but who limit their practice to the hospital environment. The ABMS held a 2-day task-force meeting in early December to discuss whether to proceed with this initiative, and several problems became evident. The initiative was considered to be a way of providing recognition for specific expertise that develops as a result of practice, rather than fellowship training, but the task force also felt that it would be confusing to the public and would be difficult to distinguish from subspecialty certification. The ABMS has not yet taken a final stance on the issue.

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