Eligibility of Osteopathic Physicians for ABNS Certification

Osteopathic Physicians Trained Solely in ACGME Accredited Programs

Osteopathic physicians who successfully complete 84 months in a residency training in a program that was accredited for the entire period of their residency by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (the “ACGME”) are eligible to become ABNS certified.  Residents in this category participate in the ABNS certification process on the same basis and through the same procedures as any other resident who successfully completes an ACGME-accredited training program in neurological surgery.

Osteopathic Physicians Trained Solely in AOA Accredited Programs

Osteopathic Physicians who complete residency training in programs that were not accredited by the ACGME at any point during their residency are not eligible to become ABNS certified unless they complete 84 months of training, at least 54 months of which must be in an ACGME-accredited program.  This can only be accomplished through additional years at an ACGME-accredited program.

Osteopathic Physicians Trained in Transitioning Programs

For Osteopathic physicians who began residency training in an American Osteopathic Association (“AOA”) accredited residency program which, during the resident’s training period, transitioned to become ACGME accredited, the following applies:

The ABNS requires 54 months of core neurosurgery training in an ACGME accredited residency program with 30 months of elective time for a total of 84 months of training.  Residents who began training in AOA accredited programs that transitioned to ACGME accreditation and spent a minimum of 54 months in the program after it became ACGME accredited (and 84 total months of training), are considered to have fulfilled the core neurosurgical training requirement and may participate in the standard ABNS certification process without complying with the additional conditions below.  Residents in this category participate in the ABNS certification process on the same basis and through the same procedures as any other resident who successfully completes an ACGME-accredited training program in neurological surgery.

This leaves a small number of residents who began training in AOA accredited programs three to six years prior to conversion to ACGME accreditation of their program.

It is recognized that the AOA accredited programs that have successfully converted to ACGME accreditation devoted significant effort to programmatic improvement in the years prior to ACGME accreditation and that a resident’s participation in the program in the years leading up to ACGME accreditation has educational value that should be acknowledged for ABNS certification purposes.  The ABNS has determined that residents who spend at least 24 months in their program once it has received ACGME accreditation be allowed to participate in the ABNS certification process, subject to the following conditions:

  • The resident must complete a total of 84 months of training in his/her program which includes 54 months of core neurological surgery training.
  • The resident must have spent the entirety of his or her training at the program that converted from AOA to ACGME accreditation.
  • The resident must meet or exceed all ACGME neurological surgery case minimum requirements and pass the ABNS written examination during residency.
  • The resident must provide a letter from the ACGME program director to the ABNS describing the educational background of the candidate and attesting to the candidate’s suitability regarding knowledge, technical skills, patient safety and professionalism to participate in the ABNS certification process.
  • The ACGME program director must also communicate with the ACGME Residency Review Committee for Neurological Surgery that the request to ABNS has been made.
  • This exception only applies to residents in AOA programs that convert to ACGME accreditation on or before June 30, 2020.

Finally, residents who began training in an AOA accredited program and spend less than 24 months in the program following ACGME accreditation can become eligible for ABNS certification only by completing at least 84 months of total training, at least 54 months of which must be in an ACGME-accredited program.  This can be accomplished through additional years either at their newly ACGME-accredited program or at another ACGME-accredited program.

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