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To Test or Not to Test…

Imagine you are finishing three years of training in a pediatric subspecialty. You have been preparing for months and are ready to take your initial subspecialty certification examination with the goal of becoming certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Then, just days before your testing date, you receive an email saying the exam has been canceled. Testing centers are closing; hospitals are filling up; people are going into quarantine.

The world is facing a pandemic.

MOC Credit Automatically Awarded for COVID-19 Learning and Practice

In the spring of 2020, pediatricians across the country were facing extreme upheaval to their personal and professional lives due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. They had to learn about COVID-19 transmission, symptoms, and treatments, and many were adapting their office triage processes and switching to telemedicine, seemingly overnight.

To recognize their efforts, the ABP made the unprecedented decision to award Maintenance of Certification (MOC) points to all board-certified pediatricians. No action or documentation was required.

Changes to MOCA-Peds

MOCA-Peds, the ABP’s online, non-proctored assessment platform, continued to evolve in 2020 by including four additional pediatric subspecialties and adapting to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic with even more flexibility.

The pediatric subspecialties added to the MOCA-Peds lineup in 2020 were Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Pediatric Nephrology, and Pediatric Pulmonology. Previously launched in 2019 were General Pediatrics, Child Abuse Pediatrics, Pediatric Gastroenterology, and Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

On the Road, On the Phone, Under a Tent — Pediatricians Innovate

Dr. Greg Gulbransen (left) from Oyster Bay, NY, after performing a swab test to see if his patient had COVID-19Few pediatricians had planned for a worldwide pandemic before the novel coronavirus led to quarantines and social distancing in March 2020. But suddenly, without much warning, the world changed. Parents feared bringing their children to pediatric appointments, yet the need for sick and well-child care continued. And pediatricians responded — with amazing resourcefulness.

Illness Increases Empathy with Patients

Dr. Sapna Kudchadkar with her son Kishen (15), daughter Asha (12), and husband RajSapna Kudchadkar, MD, PhD, has unprecedented insight into what her patients with COVID-19 are going through; she was one of the first 200 people in Maryland to contract the virus. Her symptoms started in March 2020, about a week after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.

Helping Children Understand COVID-19

Because of the CoronavirusA pandemic is scary for everyone, but especially for young children who don’t understand why they can’t play with their friends or visit their grandparents. Deborah Rotenstein, MD, a board-certified pediatric endocrinologist, believes that part of a pediatrician’s role is to help patients feel safe and cared for. To that end, she has written a book to explain the coronavirus to preschoolers.

Mental Health Crisis Magnified in 2020

A virtual ECHO Autism classroom

Photo: A virtual ECHO Autism classroom

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused health care chaos in many parts of the United States and world, another less-visible epidemic has been brewing under the surface for decades: the behavioral and mental health crisis among children and adolescents.

National Events Intensify ABP's Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion

In the spring of 2020, before George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, the U.S. public had already heard that Black people were disproportionately affected by the novel coronavirus.1 Pediatricians who have seen health inequities in their patient populations for years — due to the social determinants of health (SDOH) or systemic racism — were not surprised.

Preventing and Exploring Bias in Examinations

For years, the ABP has actively worked to diversify the membership of our committees and subboards. A more diverse group of volunteers will help ensure that pediatric exams are unbiased. But we also know that guarding against implicit (unconscious) bias requires a clear and ongoing prevention and evaluation strategy.

Engagement, Connections Guide ABP Improvements

To achieve its goal of continuous learning and improvement, the ABP frequently engages with pediatricians, trainees, and others to collect ideas and insights to make certification more relevant to both physician and patient.

“We see immense value in strengthening our connections with pediatricians — and learning from them how we can improve,” says Laurel Leslie, MD, MPH, ABP Vice President for Research.