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Summary Report: Fall 2019 Infectious Disease Board Meeting

October 21, 2019  |  Posted by ABIM  |  ABIM Governance, News

George M. Abraham, MD
Chair, Infectious Disease Board

Our fall meeting focused on the announcement by ABIM to develop a longitudinal ​assessment option for Maintenance of Certification (MOC). We also discussed a number of related issues for ABIM and the infectious disease (ID) community, and received important updates from ABIM leadership. The following is a report on the highlights of our meeting.

The Future of Assessment

Richard J. Baron, MD, ABIM President and CEO, addressed the Infectious Disease Board and provided an update on the announcement of the longitudinal assessment pathway and reactions from ABIM’s key stakeholders. He also described ongoing planning activities related to the development of the new pathway and efforts to solicit input from our society partners and ABIM diplomates. Capturing feedback from the community is extremely important to ABIM and you can share your comments here.

ABIM staff also gave presentations on the proposed longitudinal assessment option, and discussed logistical and technical issues related to the development process.

Following the presentations, a discussion ensued about the new longitudinal assessment pathway and how it would work for infectious disease specialists.

  • Questions were asked about the number of proposed questions and the security measures that would be implemented to make sure that the questions remain confidential.
  • There was also interest in 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 due as a result of performance on the longitudinal assessment.

ABIM is currently exploring the answers to all of these questions, in addition to the question of when the new pathway will be available to diplomates.


IDWeek was October 2-6, and members were looking forward to networking with their colleagues to share the news of the longitudinal assessment pathway and then to bring back what they hear to the ID Board.

MOC Exam Blueprint

Randall S. Edson, MD, Chair of the ID Exam Committee, joined the meeting to discuss revisions made to the MOC examination blueprint to remove select lower frequency content areas and emphasize that some topics could appear in more than one content category. The Specialty Board had previously requested that the Exam Committee review all of the test content for this purpose and members agreed that the revisions make the blueprint descriptions more clear to examinees. The Exam Committee is continuing to review the relevance and currency of all of the questions on the exam.

Update from IDSA

Christopher D. Busky, CEO of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), was a guest at the meeting and provided an overview of the society’s draft strategic plan, which was subsequently approved by IDSA’s Board of Directors during IDWeek.

IDSA’s strategic plan consists of four strategic initiatives:

  1. Optimize the development, dissemination and adoption of timely and relevant ID guidelines
  2. Facilitate the growth and development of the ID workforce
  3. Advocate for the value of ID physicians to increase professional fulfillment and compensation
  4. Develop a tool to serve as the leading US benchmark to measure and drive national progress on antimicrobial resistance

Inclusion and diversity

  • Mr. Busky also spoke about IDSA’s Inclusion, Diversity, Access and Equity guiding principles and corresponding Task Force, which was created in 2018. They were designed with a goal of ensuring IDSA governance and leadership reflects the overall membership of IDSA and of patients treated.
  • He and several of the IDSA leaders/former leaders on the ID Board cited ABIM as an example of an organization that is demonstrating the ability to recruit and retain diverse leaders and governance members.

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 infectious disease-specific questions that all diplomates maintaining certification in the discipline will be asked.

Procedural Competencies

The Infectious Disease Board held an in-depth discussion of procedural competencies internal medicine residents should demonstrate in order to transition successfully to an infectious disease 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. As a next step, ABIM will send a request to IDSA’s Training Program Directors Committee to discuss what pre-fellowship procedures, if any, would be relevant to include for future infectious disease fellows.

In Closing

The Infectious Disease 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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