Summary Report: Fall 2019 Medical Oncology Board Meeting

Summary Report: Fall 2019 Medical Oncology Board Meeting

New Members of the Specialty Board

Robert D. Siegel, MD | Chair, Medical Oncology Board; Member, ABIM Board of Directors

At our fall meeting of the Medical Oncology Board, we were pleased to welcome four new members:

  • Linda S. Ahn, MSN, is a Clinical Trials Nurse Practitioner in the Thoracic Medicine Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City.
  • Emily Bennett-Taylor is a Stage IV lung cancer survivor, athlete and nonsmoker who is working to change the public perception of who gets lung cancer to achieve better funding, better research, and better outcomes for patients. She serves as a volunteer Spokesperson/Patient Advocate for the Go2 Foundation for Lung Cancer.
  • Ann S. LaCasce, MD, is Program Director of the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care Fellowship, which is the largest hematology/oncology training program in the country. She is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
  • Olatoyosi Odenike, MD, is a board certified medical oncologist, and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Dr. Odenike’s clinical research and medical practice is focused on myeloid malignancies, including acute and chronic leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes and chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms. She has a particular interest in new drug development in these diseases.

Meeting Highlights

During the day’s discussions, the announcement by ABIM regarding the development of a longitudinal assessment option for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) was a primary focus. We also touched on a number of other key issues for ABIM and the medical oncology community, and received important updates from ABIM leadership. The following is a report on the highlights of our meeting.

About the Longitudinal Assessment

Richard J. Baron, MD, ABIM President and CEO, addressed the Specialty Board and provided an update on the announcement of the longitudinal assessment pathway, and reactions of society partners and diplomates. He also described ongoing planning activities related to the development of the new pathway and efforts to gain input from the many stakeholders in the physician community.

Additional information on the development of the longitudinal assessment option and a timeline for its development will be provided at a later date. You are invited to share comments and suggestions here.

Following Dr. Baron’s update and presentations from other ABIM staff on the proposed longitudinal assessment option, the Medical Oncology Board shared their thoughts on the new pathway, and how it would work for oncologists.

  • The Specialty Board was interested to know how the new pathway will affect physicians with time-unlimited certificates and how content could be streamlined for those maintaining multiple certificates.
  • Members also discussed how diplomates would know their performance is ‘on track’ in the new pathway, and how they would know if they are required to take the traditional MOC exam as a result of performance on the longitudinal assessment.

Collaborative Maintenance Pathway Update

ABIM’s Chief Medical Officer, Richard G. Battaglia, MD, and Helene M. Brooks, ABIM’s Director of Strategic Alliances, provided an update on the collaboration with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) that has resulted in the 2020 rollout of the ABIM/ASCO Medical Oncology Learning & Assessment. This new Collaborative Maintenance Pathway provides Medical Oncologists with the option to take a shorter assessment every two years. Due to the close collaboration with ASCO, it will also more closely reflect the specialization and expertise of oncologists with topic-focused exam modules and related educational materials provided before, during, and after exams. This assessment pathway provides an alternative to the traditional 10-year MOC exam and takes the place of ABIM’s Knowledge Check-In in Medical Oncology.

Specialty Board members were interested in what level of specificity the Learning & Assessment questions would have in each of the customized assessment modules. The intent is for the majority of questions within the assessments to focus on a specific condition (e.g. breast cancer, hematological malignancies) that a general oncologist, who treats a predominance of patients with these conditions would be able to answer. Lisa J. Johnson, ASCO’s Division Director of Digital Education, was a guest at the meeting and emphasized ASCO’s desire to have questions that are truly current and relevant to practice.

With the upcoming development of the longitudinal assessment option, ABIM remains committed to its partnership with ASCO. Plans are for the two organizations to work closely together as the aforementioned collaborative effort transitions to a longitudinal pathway.

Pre-Fellowship Procedures

The Medical Oncology Board discussed procedural competencies internal medicine residents should have an opportunity to perform before they transition successfully to an oncology fellowship, i.e. pre-fellowship procedures. The concept of “pre-fellowship procedures” came out of the Internal Medicine Board’s decision that all residents must do some procedures, but not all residents must learn the same procedures and Program Directors must make opportunities available to become competent in practice-specific procedures needed for their next level of training.

Exam Committee Update

As part of ABIM’s organization-wide effort to enhance the connection between Exam Committees and their corresponding Specialty Boards, the Medical Oncology Exam Committee Chair, Pamela N. Munster, MD briefed the group on how the Exam Committee work is evolving to meet the demand for more questions for ABIM assessments while maintaining the same quality and rigor. This entails collaborating with ABIM Item-Writing Task Forces whose work contributes to developing content by utilizing an innovative, model-based approach. The Task Forces’ question development techniques involve establishing a set of specifications for creating exam questions for a given content area. These specifications are then used to produce many high-quality questions in a given subject area.

Diplomate Professional Profiles

The Diplomate Professional Profile is currently being updated to include specialty-specific questions.  Once it is finalized, diplomates will be asked to complete a periodic survey about the characteristics of their professional activity so that ABIM can assure relevancy of our programs and assessments based on what physicians see in practice. Members reviewed the questions that all diplomates answer on the survey, regardless of specialty. In addition, they reviewed and offered refinements to the oncology-specific questions that all diplomates maintaining certification in medical oncology will be asked.

In Closing

The Medical Oncology Board welcomes feedback and commentary from diplomates, society partners and the greater medical community. We hope you find this report to be valuable and informative.

Do you have any questions? Are you interested in how to get involved?

If you have questions after reading this report, please connect with us through the following channels:

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