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The President’s Message – A Promise Made Is a Promise Kept

The President’s Message

A Promise Made Is A Promise Kept

Dr. Bradford Johnson

Dr. Bradford Johnson, D.D.S., M.H.P.E.
President, American Board of Endodontics

My commute to work each day is mostly by train and, although it’s a long ride, it gives me time for reflection – sometimes wide awake and brimming with random thoughts and half-baked ideas, other times, not so much. For the past six years serving as a Director of the American Board of Endodontics, the greatest honor of my professional career, my thoughts have often turned to the ABE. In particular, how can the ABE encourage more endodontists to pursue Board certification while keeping our promise to all current and future Diplomates to maintain the rigor and relevance of this meaningful achievement?

Have we kept our promise to you? This year we will honor 74 new ABE Diplomates at the Grossman Ceremony on Thursday of AAE24. You are all welcome to attend and join us in congratulating our new Diplomates. In 2023, the ABE examined 196 Oral Exam candidates and reviewed 94 Case History Portfolios. The Written Exam was administered to 223 candidates through Pearson Vue on May 16, 2023. In addition, 81 ABE Diplomates completed their recertification requirement in 2023.

My sincere thanks to our dedicated group of past directors who continue to volunteer to serve as examiners for both the Oral Exam and Case History Portfolio. We simply could not examine this number of candidates each year without their help and support. We are also extremely fortunate to be supported by our incredibly dedicated and tireless ABE staff, Ivana Bevacqua, Patricia Scaletta, and Kerri Hannen. They have made my job much easier and do it all with intelligence, humor, and never a complaint. It has been a pleasure working with all of you.

One of our major projects for 2023, was a deep dive review and revision of our Case History Portfolio Examination Guidelines. Many changes were made after careful consideration and input from program directors, current Diplomates, and those on the path to Board certification. The entire Case History Portfolio committee, especially the Chair, Dr. Kent Sabey, and co-Chair Dr. Meetu Kohli, deserves special thanks for pushing to finish this project in time for the May 1, 2024 Case History Portfolio Exam submission date.

Our major project for 2024 is a complete Job Task Analysis (JTA) for all three exam components to ensure ongoing validity of the exam. The goal is to make sure our assessment process and content accurately reflects current endodontic practice and the best available evidence. Dr. Garry Myers is chairing the JTA committee (essentially the entire Board and Counselors, and a few outside content experts).

Although I have identified a few Directors by name for specific projects, it’s really the selfless work and synergy of the entire ABE Board of Directors that makes this organization so exceptional. Thank you to the entire Board and Counselors: Drs. Avina Paranjpe (incoming President), Brian Bergeron, Sami Chogle, Anibal Diogenes, Scott Doyle, Melissa Drum, Joseph Dutner, Meetu Kohli, Neville McDonald, Garry Myers, Frank Portell, Kent Sabey, and Renato Silva. I would also like to welcome our two newest Board members: Drs. Keith Boyer and Paul Falcon (beginning after AAE24). The Board has a self-nomination process that allows any Diplomate to nominate themself to serve on the Board. It is a huge commitment, but something you will always remember.

Now back to our promises kept theme: Let’s see a show of (virtual) hands — Did you, at any point in your endo specialty training, or even as early as the interview process, promise your program director that you would become Board certified? Yes? If you kept your promise – congratulations and thank you! If not, why not now? The best gift you could give your program director is to become Board certified (second best, possibly a new Porsche).

Some of you may be familiar with the classic children’s book and animated movie, The Little Engine That Could. For those that have forgotten the tale, it’s a story about a small, but very determined, train that helps a much larger broken-down train make it over a mountain pass for a very special delivery, when other trains would not. It’s a lesson about the value of optimism and hard work (Reference: Wikipedia – my favorite non-evidence-based source). It could also be a metaphor for the pursuit of Board certification. It’s not easy – if it were, it would have no value – but I’m confident that anyone interested and motivated enough to read this letter has what it takes to become Board certified.

For real life stories about the journey to ABE certification from a wide range of new Diplomates, please see the “All A-Board” series in the AAE Communique.

There is always more room on the ABE train – I promise you won’t regret the journey!