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President Charles Abrams to Offer Alternatives to Certification Examination

(WASHINGTON, May 6, 2016) – Yesterday, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced that it intends to offer, beginning in January 2018, a new assessment option in addition to the traditional 10-year examination for Maintenance of Certification (MOC). While full details will not be made available until the year’s end, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) is pleased that the ABIM is responding to concern about the MOC as expressed by many hematologists.

Alternatives to the examination that diplomates must pass every 10 years are long overdue. ABIM’s decision to offer an alternative option is a step in the right direction. However, hematologists uniformly note that any single exam or assessment does not recognize the diversification of career paths in the subspecialty. Additionally, tests or assessments without a link to education to improve knowledge and care are deemed as suboptimal. MOC assessments would encourage continued learning in medicine if certifying boards:

  • Allow for customization of assessments to fit the needs of individual practitioners by giving options of either broad or narrow scopes of content; and 

  • Link assessments to educational material already offered by specialty societies such as ASH. 

While ABIM’s announcement is a positive step forward, it is just one of many necessary steps in the process of modernizing the MOC. ASH is pleased with this new development and has already urged the ABIM to prioritize hematology in its roll-out of the new assessment option.

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. The official journal of ASH is Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online.


Sara Khalaf, American Society of Hematology 
[email protected]; 202-552-4925