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President's Message


Michael R. Nelson, MD, PhD

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your new president. Today I would like to provide you some initial impressions following my first 6 months.

I am also including an update on initiatives that complements the outstanding CAP update provided by your 2019 Chair of the Board of Directors, Dr. Ted Freeman in his communication this month.
Let me begin by recognizing my predecessor, Dr. Steve Wasserman, who leaves ABAI with a tremendous legacy that I hope to build upon with your assistance and our immensely talented Chair and Directors. In ten short years, he expertly led ABAI propelling our board to the forefront of all 24 American Board of Medical Specialty Member Boards in the transformation of our MOC program to include the implementation of CAP and novel part IV quality improvement professional activity recognitions implemented in 2018. His tenure includes the certification of more than 1,500 allergists and immunologists, advanced relationships with the ACGME and specialty societies, and service as a specialty advocate and leader among peers in the national board certification community.

Here are some of my initial impressions:

• ABAI is filled with dedicated Directors and office staff led by Mr. Larry Vapniarek who are masters in their own areas of expertise and remain committed to the core missions of ABAI.
• With tremendous stewardship and countless dedicated time and talent of volunteer ABAI Directors, MOC was successfully transformed without additional 10 year costs to diplomates.
• ABAI has dramatically better relationships with diplomates, ACGME, ACAAI, AAAAI and the ABMS than most other boards have with their analogous organizations. We look forward to expanding relationships with CIS, WAO and our regional and state organizations to find even more ways to support allergist-immunologists nationwide.
• The CAP 2018 rollout from a technological standpoint was nearly flawless and is flourishing as a very well-received product. The approach to maturing the program using feedback directly from diplomates and societies demonstrated ABAI’s dedication to listening and responsiveness. Feedback has been positive from the start and grows with each block as feedback is used to implement program enhancements.
• The Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future Commission final report and recommendations serve as both a badge of honor for ABAI and source of new challenges. It was a tremendous honor to serve as one of only three Board Executives on this 27 member Commission representing not only our board but the entire board community. It is also a great honor to now serve on the ABMS Oversight Committee that ensure implementation of Commission recommendations across all Boards. As Dr. Freeman articulated in his post, ABAI is indeed already doing a lot of what is called for in the 2019 final commission report. This is a testament to our specialty and its many visionary leaders.

The Board was hard at work during the spring meeting held in San Antonio, TX that included an aggressive strategic issue filled agenda and the critical review of a record number of items that will appear on future initial certification and CAP assessments. Highlights included:

• Elimination of the communication module as a requirement for all diplomates
• Initiation of a blueprint review subcommittee for the initial certification exam as part of our ongoing commitment to assure assessments are aligned with evolving specialty practice and initial fellowship training
• Approval of revised regaining eligibility (re-entry) pathways for initial certification and MOC/continuing certification for those without current eligibility
• Piloting an external assessment writing committee providing new opportunities for ABAI participation by diplomates
• Design of a novel CAP progress meter that will empower individual diplomates to track block by block progress throughout each 5-year cycle (launch anticipated by early fall)
• Acting on diplomate feedback to deconflict CAP start and end dates with major holidays

I will close with welcoming our new Directors for 2019, Dr. Princess Ogbogu and Dr. Jeffrey Stokes, who join the board following the distinguished service of Dr. Steven Tilles and Dr. Chitra Dinakar, and thanking you again for the opportunity to serve you and our dedicated Board of Directors.

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