Updates From the ABU

Updates From the ABU
May 2021


The Trustees of the American Board of Urology (ABU) have been working diligently in the COVID-19 environment to continue to update our testing and assessments, evaluate the diversity and inclusion of our Board and exam committees and work within our Board’s communities on behalf of you and the public.  Toward that end, we have made changes in our oral examination that will affect future exams. Candidates have expressed discomfort examining in a hotel and previous concerns have been voiced as to the equity of the exam environment given the conference room environment downstairs and the hotel rooms on the other floors.  Although we have always tried to deliver a fair and equitable exam to all candidates, we recognize the optics and are sensitive to the concerns but have not had a suitable solution. 


We are happy to report that beginning in 2022 we will change our oral exams to the American Board of Anesthesia Testing Center in Raleigh, NC.  This will give all applicants the same testing environment and allow for expansion of the exam process in the future.  Further, to ensure a fair and equitable environment, all rooms have the capability to record the exam for review by the Trustees and real-time monitoring during the exam by a control center.  Additionally, examiners and examinees will be housed in different locations to avoid unnecessary and uncomfortable comingling.  We feel that the change will be a welcome upgrade for examiners and candidates.  Multiple restaurant options are available within walking distance which will be an additional benefit over our previous testing environment.  The following article, written by a General Surgery Diplomate, highlights many of the concerns we have heard in the recent past (https://journals.lww.com/annalsofsurgery/Citation/9000/Hotel_Room__1438.93573.aspx?s=09)


The Board of Trustees has recently evaluated the diversity of the Board as well as its various committees to see how they compare to the constituents we serve.  We recognize the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion and the positive effects that diverse management teams bring in improving governance and fostering innovation, empathy, and effective communication.  A recent manuscript, soon to be published in Urology Practice Journal, highlights a recent review by our Board and plans moving forward.  Additionally, the Board has created a standing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, chaired by Dr. Cheryl Lee, to continue our commitment to fostering these values and expanding our efforts.


Finally, we remain an active Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).  This organization consisting of 24 member boards oversees the certification of over 900,000 Diplomates.  It is through the ABMS that we are able to offer certification and meet established standards of continuing certification.  The ABMS is a very large organization with a multitude of committees, subcommittees, and task forces.  I am happy to report that many members of the Board of Trustees for the ABU are involved in critically important committees of the ABMS representing your and the public’s best interest.  The following members of the ABU are members of the following ABMS committees:


Martha K. Terris, M.D., Section Chief Professor at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia – Health Policy and Strategy Committee (HPSC) – The HPSC Committee provides guidance on issues related to health and public policy as well as supporting the strategic advancement of ABMS board certification through research, analysis, and external engagement.


Cheryl T. Lee, M.D., Chair, Department of Urology, Professor of Urology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, Ohio – Database and Information Technology Advisory Committee (DITAC) – The DITAC Committee provides oversight and guidance on policies and procedures related to the ABMS database and information technology.


David B. Joseph, M.D., Professor, Chief of Pediatric Urology, Vice-Chair of Academic Affairs at The University of Alabama Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama – Committee on Continuing Certification (3C) – 3C develops, proposes, revises, and enforces the standards, policies, and programs for the maintenance of certification (continuing certification) programs of the Member Boards.

Ann Gormley, M.D., Professor of Surgery, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire – Committee on Certification (COCERT) – COCERT develops, proposes, revises, and enforces ABMS standards, policies, and programs of certification and sub certification by the Member Boards.

Brantley Thrasher, M.D., Executive Director, The American Board of Urology in Charlottesville, Virginia – Committee on Certification (COCERT), Executive Committee – The Executive Committee is a standing committee with corporate authority, responsible for acting with full authority on behalf of ABMS in the interim between meetings of the Board of Directors.



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