Annual Reports

The 2018 Annual Report from the American Board of Pediatrics is now available. This issue focuses on the work of nearly 400 board-certified pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists who volunteer countless hours making the certification process work. 

Featured articles include:

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Have you ever wondered who writes the certification exam questions for pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists? For that matter, who decides which topics are included in exams? And who decides what the passing score is?

The answer is pediatricians themselves who are maintaining their certification and who represent a variety of practice types, geographic locations, ages, races, and genders.

More than 400 board-certified pediatricians volunteer at the ABP. Fewer than 110 full-time staff members work for the ABP — and only five are physicians. Consequently, the responsibility for certifying that pediatricians are up to date and can competently care for children is in…

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Dr. Anna Kuo

Anna Kuo, MD, started volunteering with the ABP nearly two decades ago when she was invited to submit two questions to be considered for the certification exam.

“A couple of months later, I received a letter from the ABP inviting me to join the Pilot Testing Committee. I guess I did OK!” laughs Dr. Kuo, a general pediatrician and 2019 Chair of the ABP Board of Directors.

Dr. Kuo is one of seven general pediatricians at Peachtree Park Pediatrics, one of the oldest pediatric practices in Atlanta.…

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Pamela Simms-Mackey, MD, volunteers on both the ABP General Pediatrics Examination Committee and the Maintenance of Certification Committee.

“I think it’s important for the Board to have a wide range of physicians, with respect to ethnic background, age, practice setting, and geography, on its committees,” says Dr. Simms-Mackey, a general pediatrician practicing in Oakland, CA. “The diversity helps ABP volunteers create the tools that we use to assess and evaluate our physicians.”

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Volunteers and ABP Staff Work Many Hours to Ensure Board Exams Reflect Knowledge Base Necessary for Practice

For many pediatricians, board certification is synonymous with examinations. For both initial certification and continuing certification, exams are a major component of assessing whether pediatricians have the knowledge that their peers have determined is essential for the safe practice of pediatrics.

But creating valid and reliable exams for General Pediatrics and 15 subspecialties — and then scoring them — is not as simple as it might seem. The test development and scoring processes are rigorous and the underlying science is complex, but ultimately, these methods…

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When seeking volunteers, the ABP is committed to including pediatricians from as many practice settings and types as possible so that the exams they write and policies they set will reflect the reality of modern pediatrics.

Therefore, raising awareness within the pediatric community regarding volunteer opportunities available at the ABP is a priority.

Dr. Rasheed Gbadegesin

"I consider it a unique privilege to be given the opportunity to have a say in the training of pediatricians and in…

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Science and medical care are advancing at previously unseen rates, with no signs of slowing anytime soon. There are also more demands on physicians’ time than ever before. A web-based survey conducted in 2008 with a random sample of adults found that most believe it is important for doctors who care for children to be assessed on their quality of care (95 percent) and pass a written test at regular intervals (88 percent).1

So, how does assessment of clinical knowledge and judgment fit into the world in which we live today?

The American Board of Pediatrics began to explore new assessment options back in 2015. Three years of extensive research, building, and pilot testing…

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Global health is big these days. So, you may be asking, what is “big?”

Geographically, it covers the entire world — including the United States. Socially, it goes well beyond working in a remote village in a low-income country for a few weeks or even years. Global health issues walk into nearly every pediatrician’s office every day.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about one in four children under age 18 in the United States has at least one foreign-born parent1. Nearly 44 million people in the United States are immigrants, and more than 1 million arrive in the United States each year2. It is increasingly likely that a child will come to a U.S. pediatrician with an…

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Dr. Heather McLeanWhen Heather McLean, MD, was appointed Vice Chair for Quality in the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University in 2015, she was eager to expand Duke’s quality efforts to improve care for pediatric patients.

However, “it seemed that only a few faculty members were excited to drive change,” Dr. McLean, also Associate Professor in the Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine, recalls. “The barrier is that everyone is busy!”

Dr. McLean’s sentiment is not uncommon. It seems that everyone…

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Research shows that physician burnout takes a toll on patient care and outcomes, and nearly half of all U.S. pediatricians surveyed in 2014 (n=683) reported burnout — up from 35 percent for general pediatricians and 40 percent for pediatric subspecialties in 2011. Comparatively, the overall prevalence of burnout for the general U.S. working population was 28.4%.1 Physician burnout has been tied to decreased productivity, lower quality of care, decreased patient satisfaction, and problems with patient safety.2

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