Letter from the chair

The following was published in the March 2024 issue of the AOBFP newsletter.

By Gregory James, DO, MPH, FACOFP-distinguished

Greetings colleagues!

Dr. James

The American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians is looking forward to continued progress in 2024, as we enter another year in the longitudinal assessment program. I am grateful for the 60+ volunteers who have lent their time, knowledge and experience to write and review questions for future AOBFP initial certification exams and the longitudinal assessment (LA). They are creating an innovative alternative to the traditional high-stakes exam. This would simply be impossible without such an amazing group of family physicians!

This year, AOBFP will continue our work to increase awareness of the value of AOBFP certification using social media. We are also increasing our collaboration with the American College of Family Physicians (ACOFP) and family medicine program directors.

Early entry certification

We are promoting the Early Entry Initial Certification (EEIC) program available to residents in their final year who have completed two osteopathic in-service exams produced and administered by ACOFP (please view full details on eligibility). To relieve some of the financial burden for residents entering the field, the ACOFP Foundation is offering grants worth up to $1,400 to cover AOBFP exam fees and travel expenses to residents who do not have complete funding support from their program.

Championing AOA certification

I was appointed by AOA leadership to serve on an AOA Certification Taskforce created by AOA president Ira Monka, DO. Our group was tasked to help develop long-term strategies to increase awareness of the value of AOA Board Certification. Our primary recommendation was to strengthen the quality and validity of our exams while making sure that the information on how to take them was available to everyone.

In February, I attended the AOA Midyear Business Meeting in Clearwater, Florida. At this meeting, I was able to be sure that our Family Medicine and OMT certification continues to be fully recognized as board certification in our specialty.

OCC reminders

AOBFP is dedicated to ensuring that the osteopathic continuous certification (OCC) requirements and other AOBFP programs support our diplomates in their pursuit of lifelong learning and improvement. As we enter a new year of OCC, I want to take time to highlight some important reminders for diplomates regarding components 3 and 4.

As all AOBFP diplomates transition to longitudinal assessment, the simplest way to understand your specific OCC requirements is to know your expiration date. You can find your expiration date by logging into the AOA Physician Portal.

Component 3:

Participating in AOBFP’s 2024 LA is mandatory for certificate holders expiring between 2024 and 2031.

The assessment includes three segments that are available at specific times during the year. The first segment will close on March 31, so don’t wait to participate. You can participate in the remediation segment (Oct. 1 – Dec. 1) for a second chance at any incorrect answers, and to raise your score. Be sure to review your previous assessment before participating in remediation.

Note: Diplomates who choose to not maintain OMT certification will become certified in Family Medicine only.

To maintain your OMT certification: Diplomates who have AOBFP/OMT certification can choose to maintain their OMT certification by completing one of the following to fulfill the OCC Component 3 requirement to maintain their OMT certification:

  1. Successfully pass one performance examination every nine years, and complete and pass one OMT longitudinal assessment module every three years; or
  2. Complete eight hours of AOBFP-approved OMT hands-on training every nine years, and complete and pass one OMT longitudinal assessment module every three years.

Component 4:

Diplomates expiring through 2026 are required to complete four modules. One QI attestation completed in the past three years can count towards the four required.

Diplomates expiring 2027 and beyond will no longer be required to complete modules. You are required to complete one Quality Improvement Activity every three years. There is no additional fee.

Upcoming activities

Once again, this year, AOBFP will be working collaboratively with ACOFP to provide timely updates to program directors and residents. We’ll be attending the ACOFP Conference in April in New Orleans, and we’re looking forward to meeting our diplomates in person. Please stop by our booth in the exhibit hall! AOBFP certification specialists are ready to answer your questions about initial certification and continuing certification.

New AOBFP officers

In 2024, we will be welcoming new officers to our board. In August, I will be rotating to the immediate past chair and Joan Grzybowski, DO, will assume the position of AOBFP chair. I am excited to announce that Kenneth Heiles, DO, will serve as vice chair.

Speaking on behalf of the board, we are gratified that each year we are privileged to serve with an eminently qualified group of family physicians who represent all AOBFP diplomates. Together we bring a wide variety of experience including leadership, business knowledge, creativity, problem-solving and project management. Board members also serve as subject matter experts who review and approve items that are included in AOBFP exams, review exam results and serve as examiners for the OMT performance exam. I have been fortunate to serve on the AOBFP in several roles and committees during my time on this board.

I believe this board to be one of the most dynamic and dedicated teams I’ve ever been involved with. It is an honor to continue to serve as the AOBFP Chair for the remainder of my term, and I eagerly look forward to further advancing the value of AOBFP certification and creating a lasting impact.

With best wishes for happiness and good health in 2024,

Gregory James, DO, MPH, FACOFP-distinguished
Chairman, AOBFP