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Certification of added qualification in otology and neurotology. (Editorial).

The question of subcertification in narrow areas of interest within our specialty by the American Board of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ABOto) has been controversial for both the rank and file of practicing otolaryngologists and our leaders. The issue was discussed extensively during the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) Board of Governors (BOG) meeting in Washington, D.C., March 9-10, 2003.

Gerald B. Healy, MD, ABOto executive vice-president, explained that since he had not been notified by the leadership of either the American Otological Society (AOS) or the American Neurotology Society (ANS) that their membership opposes such subcertification, the ABOto was proceeding to offer its first examination in April 2003. Dr. Healy pointed out that the ABOto would only establish such Certification of Added Qualification (CAQ) if members of the AOS and ANS wanted it. He explained that of the four major groups within Otolaryngology, the Head and Neck Surgeons had decided against subcertification, subcertification of Pediatric Otolaryngology had been tabled by ABOto, and Facial Plastic Surgeons had refused ABOto subcertification and had gone on to form their own Board.

Newton J. Coker, MD, president of the ANS, presented the results of a poll of ANS members to both the BOG and to Dr. Healy, indicating overwhelming opposition of the membership to CAQ. Concerns raised by those who are opposed, such as Michael M. Johns, MD, (1) K.J. Lee, MD, (2) and Moises A. Arriaga, MD, (3) were emphatically recounted by Fred D. Owens, MD.

The BOG unanimously passed a resolution that no tests be offered by the ABOto for CAQ in Otology and/or Neurotology; that a letter be sent to the ABOto and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) indicating the Academy's desire not to endorse the CAQ for Otology/Neurotology; that the BOG of AAO-HNS requests that the Academy place on the ballot of the election a referendum of the Academy membership regarding the membership's wishes for or against CAQ in Otology and/or Neurotology; that the Academy advise the ABOto that the CAQ exam and CAQ process for Neurotology be postponed pending full review by the full AAO-HNS, ANS, and AOS membership; and that the AAO-HNS president call a special meeting of the Board of Directors.

The coming months will bring interesting developments. Your ENT JOURNAL expects to cover this subject in detail.





(1.) Johns MM. The time has come to reform graduate medical education. JAMA 2001;286:1075-6.

(2.) Lee KJ. Respect for the American Board of Otolaryngology certification. AAO-HNS Bulletin 2002;23:5.

(3.) Arriaga MA. Certificate of Added Qualifications. Otol Neurotol 2002;23:626-8.
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Publication:Ear, Nose and Throat Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2003
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