Spring 2019
Vol Bulletin Photo Collage
In this Issue:

Follow Us on Social Media for Latest 
ABR News

Want to keep up on the latest news from the American Board of Radiology? Follow us on our new  Facebook and  Twitter pages.

Hundreds of people from the radiology field have already joined. When visiting our pages, they have found extensive updates on the ABR's new Online Longitudinal Assessment system, an important notice about a scam certification letter, recognition of several of our outstanding volunteers, and numerous other newsworthy posts.

For more information on our social media, contact Rodney Campbell at  rcampbell@theabr.org or (520) 790-2729. Please pass along our information to your friends and colleagues. We would enjoy hearing your thoughts and sharing your views and events on our social media platforms.
Final Bell Marks Second Successful IR/DR 
Oral Exam  Given in Tucson, Arizona

Robert. G. Dixon, MD, rings the final bell after the ABR's IR/DR Oral Exam in Tucson, Arizona.

to Satisfy Part 3 of MOC

When candidates take their initial and certification exams and diplomates participate in Maintenance of Certification (MOC), they take tests developed by their peers. Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA), which rolled out in January for diagnostic radiology and its subspecialties, was the result of extensive hours spent by radiology professionals crafting the new, flexible way to satisfy Part 3 of MOC.

More than 1,500 diplomates participated in OLA's development. Some created content and others tested the application, including ease of use and efficiency of creating practice profiles, dashboards, progress graphs, practice questions and tutorials.

OLA's success is directly related to the work that subject matter experts put into its development. OLA took approximately three years to finalize, and much of that time involved ABR staff teaming with men and women from the radiology field. We couldn't have met our objectives without them, and we appreciate the assistance they give us as we develop products that help radiologists improve the care that patients receive.

For more information on OLA, please visit our website. After a prelaunch period this fall, OLA starts in January 2020 for interventional radiology, radiation oncology, and medical physics.
The DR Certifying Cardiac Committee Meets
in Tucson, January 2019

Left to right: Subha Ghosh, MD; Andrew J. Bierhals, MD; Brian Haas, MD; Isabel B. Cortopassi, MD (Chair); Dhiraj Baruah, MD; and Anna S. Bader, MD.
Item-Writing Tip - How to Avoid 
Unfocused Stems

All standard  multiple-choice exam items need to pass the "cover test." This means that even if the options are covered, the candidate will know what the question is about and be able to come up with a possible answer from reading just the stem. If the candidate cannot do this, the item is unfocused.

Which of the following is true?

The most glaring type of unfocused stem is "Which of the following is true?" Not only can the candidate not answer which statement is true without reading the options, he or she also won't even know what type of answer to look for. For example, if the stem is "Which of the following statements about metastatic lung disease is true?" the answer could be about incidence, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, etc. In this example, the options might be as follows:

A.   Lymphangitic spread of breast cancer in a lung can be
      arrested if the involved lobe is resected. 

B.   Patients with metastatic lung disease from soft tissue
      sarcomas have been shown to benefit from surgical
      removal of the metastatic disease.

C.  A nuclear radiology lung scan is the most effective 
     radiographic study to detect and follow patients who are
     candidates for resection of pulmonary metastases.

For a survival advantage to be seen, the pulmonary
      metastatic disease must be limited to only one lobe of
      one lung.

If you have a "Which of the following is true?" item, the best way to rework it is to start with the answer and rewrite the question based on that answer.

How would you rewrite this item?

If you look at the answer (option B), you can see that the question is not about metastatic lung disease in general, but about the treatment of a specific type - that arising from soft tissue sarcomas. So you should make that the question:

"Metastatic lung disease from what type of primary tumor is most effectively treated by resection?"

With this new option list:

A.   Invasive breast carcinoma
B.  Soft tissue sarcomas [Key]
C.  Ovarian cancer
D.  Brain cancer

This is testing exactly the same knowledge component, but it's not making the candidate go hunting for the question. The revised question also does not test the candidate on three other knowledge components. That is, in the original item, he or she has to read and consider the validity of each of the distractors. Each item should be testing only one concept.

What vs. Which of the following

A "what" question is generally more focused than a "which of the following" question. "What" is used when there is only one possible answer to the question. For example, "What is the most common presenting symptom of X illness?" There can be only one presenting symptom that is "most common" and the knowledgeable candidate can think of that symptom without looking at the option list.

On the other hand, if you ask the same question this way: "Which of the following is associated with X illness?" the candidate won't know you are asking for a symptom until he or she looks at the options. The question could be about a concomitant illness, a genetic risk factor, or a variety of other things. It is important to clarify in the stem what type of answer is required. For another example, if you are testing whether the candidate knows what type of artifact is shown in an image, rather than asking "Which of the following statements about the image is true?" ask "What type of artifact is shown?"

In summary: 1) don't write "which of the following is true?" questions, 2) try to use "what" in the stem rather than "which," and 3) cover the option list to test if your item is focused.
In this issue, we introduce you to ABR volunteer Rakesh C. Navuluri, MD, an interventional radiologist and associate professor from the University of Chicago. Dr. Navuluri also is program director of the IR residency and fellowship program in vascular and Interventional radiology.
Dr. Navuluri has been an ABR volunteer since April, 2014. He is a member of the VIR Core Exam Writing Committee who enjoys writing questions for the Core Exam which are then vetted by his colleagues. He also helps review questions submitted by others. As a group, they meet once a year in Chicago to assemble test questions for the VIR section of the exam.
When we asked Dr. Navuluri his reasons for volunteering, he said, "I remember my experience taking the physics, written, and oral board exams. More so than even graduating medical school or residency, passing each exam gave me a profound sense of accomplishment and validation that I was up to the standards set by thousands of others who preceded me. It was an honor to have the opportunity to give back and help set the standard for the current generation of radiologists."

Dr. Navuluri (second from left) and residency colleagues after receiving letters indicating that they had passed the oral board exam in June 2008.
To Dr. Navuluri, the best part of volunteering is the people. "Working with such accomplished interventional radiologists, educators, and all-around wonderful individuals from across the country has been an absolute pleasure," he said. "The relationships I have developed have even led to collaborations on academic projects outside of the ABR. During our meetings I enjoy discussing and debating the subtle nuances of every question and answer choice. It's quite the challenge to create semantically and factually bulletproof questions. And, of course, I can't turn down the peanut M&Ms stocked in the conference room!"
One aspect of interventional radiology that drew Dr. Navuluri to the field was the ingenuity of the procedures and the creativity need to solve unusual medical problems - and he has not been disappointed! "One thing I didn't realize as a medical student or even early in my residency was how passionate the IR community is about the specialty. This passion has exceeded my expectations and is truly inspiring."
In Dr. Navuluri's opinion, board certification is the standard of care. "It means that one has achieved a level of expertise in one's specialty that meets the expectations of our patients and our peers in the medical community."
Dr. Navuluri is most proud that he has been able to share his passion for interventional radiology with the next generation of medical students via the annual Midwest Interventional Radiology Medical Student Symposium. "MIRMSS is the first and largest regional symposium in the country, with 200-plus attendees from over 40 different medical schools across the country," he said.
In his spare time, Dr. Navuluri enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and watching his favorite Detroit sports teams.  

Dr. Navuluri in Iceland
Volunteer Resources

  Study Guides 

Eva Wilson
Communications Coordinator

Did You Know. . . ?
If you have a friend who would like a copy of this
Volunteer Bulletin or any other ABR electronic communications, he or she can sign up on the home page of our website at www.theabr.org.

Thank You! 
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. . ."   -- Aristotle