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American board of vascular surgery: the first 7 years.

  • Stanley, James C
  • Veith, Frank J
Published Article
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2004
PMID: 15127850


The American Board of Vascular Surgery (ABVS) was incorporated in 1996 with a vision of improved training standards and certification of vascular surgeons. At that time, 91% of those holding American Board of Surgery Certificates of Added Qualifications in Vascular Surgery supported the formation of the ABVS. Subsequent events have led to a clear definition of specific educational issues important to the vascular surgery community. Unresolved issues relate to the need to complete a general surgery residency before beginning a vascular surgery fellowship, the continued inclusion of vascular surgery as a primary component of general surgery training, and the absence of a designated Residency Review Committee for Vascular Surgery. These issues have persisted since the inception of the ABVS. An application for the ABVS to become an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) primary board was submitted in 2002 with a preliminary hearing before a liaison committee composed of American Medical Association and ABMS members. The American Board of Surgery (ABS) and a minority of the vascular surgery community vigorously opposed the application. The perceived divisiveness created by their actions contributed to the application's initial rejection and the necessity for an appeal. Certain ABS directors have recently stated that they would consider approving multiple track-type training that could allow single certification in vascular surgery, following 5 to 6 years of postgraduate training after medical school. The ABVS cautiously supports this action, recognizing that this radical change for the ABS may not be feasible given the broad-ranging interests of general surgery and restrictive ABMS guidelines for certifying medical specialists. The impact of not resolving the critical issues facing vascular surgery in a timely manner is that there will be inadequate numbers of competent vascular surgeons to provide for society's needs. An independent ABMS-approved ABVS provides a clear opportunity to resolve the recognized failings of the status quo.

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