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ABS Hosts Inaugural Meeting of Surgical Council on Resident Education

December 6, 2006 Media Contact: Christine Shiffer, 215-568-4000

  • The American Board of Surgery (ABS) hosted on November 20 the inaugural meeting of SCORE, the Surgical Council on Resident Education, whose task is to examine the current state of surgical training and develop a new curriculum for use by all surgery residency programs in the United States. SCORE is composed of representatives from the principal organizations involved in surgical education - the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the American Surgical Association (ASA), the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS), the Residency Review Committee for Surgery (RRC-Surgery), and the Association for Surgical Education (ASE), in addition to the ABS. The meeting was organized by ABS Assistant Executive Director Richard H. Bell, Jr., M.D., as a first step in developing a comprehensive program for improving the training of U.S. surgeons.

    Original SCORE Representatives

The ABS is committed to the development of a new curriculum for surgery residency training and to the use of the Internet and other innovative tools for curriculum delivery. Through its examinations, the ABS has seen first-hand an undesirably high degree of variability in the breadth and depth of knowledge among graduated surgery residents. In the fall of 2004, representatives of the aforementioned organizations met at the ABS office and voiced unanimous support for the creation of a nationwide surgery curriculum to address this issue. Dr. Bell, then chair of the ABS General Surgery Residency Committee, was recruited in June 2006 to oversee this project and the organization of SCORE.

At the November 20 meeting, SCORE representatives reviewed the past and current work of its member organizations in improving surgical education and the attractiveness of surgery as a career choice. The representatives discussed the proposals of the ASA Blue Ribbon Panel on the restructuring of surgical training, published in January 2005, and ultimately decided that SCORE would focus on opportunities for improving the traditional five-year surgery curriculum rather than restructuring the curriculum into a shorter time frame. They also learned about the surgical skills curriculum being created in a separate project by the ACS and APDS, and the ACS' development of a basic curriculum for the first year of surgical residency. The council was enthusiastic about both of these projects and agreed to their integration into the new curriculum.

SCORE also examined recent work in prioritizing the procedures, diseases and conditions in which general surgery residents should be competent upon graduation. Through feedback from the ABS Residency Committee and the APDS, SCORE has established 40 key subject areas that are considered to constitute mandatory knowledge for a graduating resident. The ABS staff also demonstrated at the meeting a prototype of a residency curriculum website to serve as a focal point for learning and assessment by residents and program directors.

The members of SCORE will continue to meet on a regular basis and draw upon the resources and input of their respective organizations to develop a curriculum that results in better, more consistent surgical training. For further updates on the SCORE project, see the ABS newsletter or visit www.surgicalcore.org.

Richard Bell, M.D.
Timothy Flynn, M.D.
Frank Lewis, M.D.
Robert Rhodes, M.D.
Barbara Bass, M.D.
Patrice Blair, M.P.H.
Gary Dunnington, M.D.
Ajit Sachdeva, M.D.
Joseph Cofer, M.D.
John Potts, M.D.
R. James Valentine, M.D.
Carlos Pellegrini, M.D.
Hiram Polk, M.D.
Donald Risucci, Ph.D.
L.D. Britt, M.D.
J. David Richardson, M.D.

About the ABS

The American Board of Surgery is an independent, non-profit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying surgeons who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge. Surgeons certified by the ABS, known as diplomates, have completed a minimum of five years of surgical training and successfully completed a written and oral examination process. The ABS currently certifies surgeons in the following fields: general surgery, pediatric surgery, vascular surgery, surgical critical care, and surgery of the hand. The ABS is one of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.