Important Notice Regarding Academic Pathway

The ABNS recently announced that it is implementing a new demonstration program that will provide a pathway for neurosurgeons with exceptional qualifications who were not trained in an ACGME accredited residency program (e.g., trained abroad) to become ABNS Certified.   This pilot program is intended to recognize extraordinary contributions of widely acknowledged luminaries from non-ACGME training backgrounds (typically non-US training programs) to the training of neurosurgical residents and fellows.

Note that the program is NOT intended to serve as an alternative path to ABNS certification for those who started but did not complete an ACGME-accredited residency program, or for individuals who applied for but were not accepted into an ACGME program.  Consequently, this program is NOT intended to replace the need for training within an ACGME approved program for the vast majority of candidates for ABNS Certification.

Further, the review process to determine whether an individuals is eligible under the pilot program will be arduous and all aspects of the candidates training and service history will be critically reviewed.  It was always (and continues to be) the ABNS’ expectation that very few candidates will qualify for approval along this pathway.

After the program was announced, it became immediately apparent that some individuals and programs were interpreting the pathway as much broader than was intended.  Consequently, the program has been put on temporary hold while the ABNS considers changes to the qualifying criteria that will more closely match the ABNS’ intent.  We hope to announce the revised criteria shortly.  In the interim, any submitted applications will be put on hold for processing and the ABNS will not be accepting additional applications.

We continue to stress that this is a pilot program subject to change or expiration at any time.  Candidates and programs are strongly discouraged from making decisions regarding hiring, job changes or relocations based on this demonstration  program.  

The ABNS is implementing a new demonstration program that will provide a pathway for neurosurgeons with exceptional qualifications who were not trained in an ACGME accredited residency program (EG trained abroad) to become ABNS certified. This pilot program is intended to recognize the meaningful contribution of widely acknowledged experts from non-ACGME training backgrounds (typically non-US training programs) to the training of neurosurgical residents and fellows.  The program is NOT intended to serve as an alternative path to ABNS certification for those who started but did not complete an ACGME-accredited residency program, or for individuals who applied for but were not accepted into an ACGME program.  Consequently, this program is NOT intended to replace the need for training within an ACGME approved program for the vast majority of candidates for ABNS Certification.   The review process to determine whether an individuals is eligible under the pilot program is arduous and all aspects of the candidates training and service history will be critically reviewed.  It is anticipated that very few candidates will qualify for approval along this pathway.  Candidates should also realize that this is a pilot program subject to change or expiration at any time.

 

 

Interested in applying?

Individuals applying through this pathway are not considered Board Eligible or Tracking to Board Certification. While in the process of applying and submitting the required case log these individuals may not refer to themselves as Board Eligible.

Once an individual completes the entire process, including passing the oral exam, they will be listed on the ABNS website as ABNS Certified and must comply with all ABNS Continuous Certification Requirements.

Application Requirements:

  • Documentation of at least 5 years employed as a full-time teaching faculty member in an ACGME or CAST accredited neurological surgery residency program or recognized fellowship training program.
  • Current curriculum vitae.
  • Documentation of satisfactory completion of a neurological surgery residency program outside of the United States, including a signed attestation by the Program Director and institution. All documentation must be in English (or English translation).
  • Documentation of having successfully passed the applicable certification examination in the candidate’s country of education and prior practice. All documentation must be in English (or English translation).
  • University documentation of rank of Associate Professor or higher at a University with an ACGME accredited Neurosurgery Residency (current or prior)
    • If not currently associated with an ACGME neurosurgery residency a letter from the chair of neurosurgery is required along with 2 additional references from ABNS certified neurosurgeons.
  • Letter of support from Department Chair that conducts ACGME accredited Neurosurgery Residency Program at which applicant is a faculty.
  • Detail the candidate’s excellence in clinical care, teaching, research and contributions to the field of neurosurgery.
  • Letters of support from 3 Chairs of either an ACGME approved Neurosurgical Residency Program or from a Department of Neurosurgery that has an affiliated residency program. These 3 references should attest to the candidate’s academic and clinical qualifications and come from outside the candidate’s academic institution or residency program.
  • Extensive academic productivity reflected by CV reflecting significant peer-reviewed publications and record of active presentations for at least five years at national or international meetings.
  • Payment of a non refundable application fee.

Steps to complete the process:

  1. Complete the application and pay the non-refundable application fee.
  2. The candidate must then prepare a 125 case log (standard for all US applicants) for review using ABNS POST according to guidelines in place for all ABNS applicants.
  3. Upon review and approval of the application and case log, the candidate will be invited to register to take the oral examination.
  4. Pass all three sections of the ABNS oral examination.
The candidate will have three attempts to pass the oral examination within 3 years.
A new 75 case log will be permitted after the first failure and, if not submitted after the first failure, would be required after the second failure.
After three failures, or if the candidate does not pass the examination within three years of application approval, the candidate would “time out” and cease to be eligible to become ABNS Certified.

Maintaining ABNS Board Certification:

Once “Board Certified,” as with all ABNS Diplomates, awardees will be required to participate in the ABNS Continuous Certification program.