Supporting Early-Career Physicians

Research Funding Available: ABMS Visiting Scholars deadline is June 7

What is the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program?

The ABMS Visiting Scholars Program positions qualified early-career physicians and research professionals as active contributors to and future leaders in health care. The one-year, part-time program facilitates research exploring best practices and innovative approaches that address priorities for the certification community – physician learning and assessment, physician performance, continuing professional development, quality improvement, and patient safety. Focused areas of interest for the certification community include the following:

  • Diagnostic error
  • Competency-based medical education and assessment
  • Racial Equity and Diversity in health care
  • Engaging physicians in quality improvement

To date, 36 Visiting Scholars have participated in the program.

Why did you identify diagnostic error as one of the program’s focus areas?

ABMS has had a long-standing desire to move toward competency-based assessment and an abiding interest in new approaches to assessing diagnostic skills. The ABMS Member Boards community is involved in a broad spectrum of targeted efforts that support Goal 2 of the National Academy of Medicine report on Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare: Enhance health care professional education and training in the diagnostic process including lifelong-learning and self-assessment initiatives, formative assessment strategies that appropriately address diagnostic skill, individual case and log reviews, and inter-professional and patient communications skill development.

“The ABMS Community has a unique opportunity to support the work of the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis through our Member Boards continuing certification programming,” notes ABMS Senior Vice President, Certification Standards and Programs, Greg Ogrinc, MD, MS. “Encouraging our Visiting Scholars to focus research in that area further extends our support of the Coalition, placing a spotlight on the importance of improving diagnostic accuracy to advance quality, safety and patient outcomes through board certification.”

How have previous Visiting Scholars highlighted diagnostic quality and safety in their research?

ABMS’s 2020-2021 class of Visiting Scholars included three projects specifically focused on diagnostic quality and safety, both co-sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

  • Susrutha Kotwal, MD, Assistant Professor from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
    Research: “Real-world Virtual Patient Curriculum to Improve Diagnosis: Evaluating Validity Evidence”
  • Joel Willis, DO, PA, MA, MPhil, Faculty Physician from The George Washington University, Medical Faculty Associates
    Research: “Telemedicine in the Ambulatory Primary Care Space: Implications for Patient Safety, Diagnostic Error, and Preventable Diagnostic Harm”
  • Robert Hayden, MD, Resident Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School Research: “Racial Bias in Educational Simulations of Virtual Patients with COVID-19”

Previously, Visiting Scholars have focused on diagnostic quality and safety topics ranging from identifying diagnostic uncertainty in the electronic health record to validating online tools to assess diagnostic performance.

What are the expectations of the program?

Remaining at their home institutions and organizations, ABMS Visiting Scholars work with self-selected mentors, and participate in monthly interactive webinars with national leaders in such areas as medical education, critical thinking and diagnosis, assessment, professionalism, research and improvement methodologies, and big data. Traditionally, ABMS Visiting Scholars present their research findings before a national audience at the annual ABMS Conference while attending in-person leadership meetings. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these in-person meetings and presentations may be hosted virtually.

Who is eligible for the program?

Early-career physicians, junior faculty, fellows, and residents are eligible as well as individuals holding master or doctorate degrees in public health, health services research, educational evaluation and statistics, public health policy and administration, or other relevant disciplines. Veterans Affairs trainees and staff also are welcome to apply. Visiting Scholars will receive an award of up to $12,500 to support the direct costs of research and travel expenses associated with program participation. To date 37 individuals representing nine medical specialties have participated in the program. Learn more.

The American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) is accepting applications for the 2021-2022 ABMS Visiting Scholars Program through June 7, 2021.

Applications must be received by 5 pm CT on June 7, 2021.

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