May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


ABPD: Pearls from the Past, Visions for the Future!

May 2012 Volume XLVIII Number 3

When I assumed the helm as Executive Director of the Board from Dr. Arthur Nowak on January 1, I knew it would be an exciting time for me. Thank you all for your warm welcome. I would like to take this opportunity to comment on our past successes and vision for the future.
This year, ABPD is celebrating our 70th anniversary, putting our diamond anniversary just around the corner! The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry has come far since it was founded in 1940 and incorporated in 1942.
The same year that we celebrate our 75th anniversary, the healthcare specialty board movement in the United States will be celebrating its 100th year. The American Board of Ophthalmology was first, in 1917.
While we’ve seen many accomplishments over the last 70 years, perhaps the biggest measurable change began just over five years ago, with the implementation of our new clinical examination format. This adjustment increased the percentage of eligible pediatric dentists who were board certified from the mid-20% range to well over 60%, as of this writing. With the new clinical examina-tion format and the recent incorporation of the four-part Renewal of Certification Process (ROC-P), we have rightfully aligned ourselves with a more progressive format, similar to that utilized by our medical specialty board colleagues. And of course, we can all be proud of the way Headquarters has brought the Board into the 21st century with multiple technology upgrades over the last decade.
Of the current 3,157 active ABPD Diplomates, the vast majority are Time-limited Diplomates (2,532 or 80%). The year 2011 was the first year that the Board required Time-limited Diplomates to com-plete ROC-P in order to maintain active status as a Diplomate. The result of that change is that 98% of our Time-limited Diplomates successfully completed the ROC-P the very first year it was required! Only 58 Diplomates were inactivated, and as of the date of my writing, 22 of those 58 Diplomates have already submitted reactivation forms.
I cannot tell you how proud the Board of Directors and I are of the Diplomates who successfully completed the Process this first year. This speaks highly of your continued interest in board certifi-cation, your professionalism, and your dedication to your patients and our specialty.
I suspect these accomplishments will not be enough for us as a Board, however, as society will continue to require us to improve and enhance the health care outcomes that we provide for our patients. In his article, "Future of Board Certification in a New Era of Public Accountability,"* Dr. Kevin Weiss, President and CEO of the American Board of Medical Specialties, asks whether maintenance of certification is sufficient to meet the public’s current needs and how it should grow and evolve to meet the needs of the future. He suggests that specialty boards are theoretically well positioned to influence quality, but that current certification programs may not meet the needs for physician accountability. He goes on to say that specialty-based board certification will have to focus on addressing patient centeredness, transparency, appropriateness of care, public input, and system-based practice.
I would suggest to you that this is the future for specialty board certification and in particular for us at the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. We most certainly will need to focus less on the credentialing aspect of board certification and much more on enhancing oral health outcomes for our patients. It’s those actions that will assure that we meet the needs of our society and continue to earn the public’s trust. We hope to accomplish this in concert with each of you and with our sponsoring organization, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. We look forward to your ongoing support and critical suggestions!
For comments or questions on this article, contact Jeffrey Dean at
* Weiss, KB: Future of board certification in a new era of public accountability. J Am Board Fam Med 2010;23:S32-S39.