Melissa Sears, Group Editor, Cutis ([email protected])

The American Board of Medical Specialties Program for Maintenance of Certification (MOC), adopted in 2000, was developed to ensure that board-certified physicians were remaining up-to-date on medical knowledge, self-assessment (SA), and practice improvement, and to demonstrate ongoing competency to the public. The MOC program consists of 6 core competencies and a 4-part framework to assess patient care and improve patient outcomes. The SA component allows diplomates to assess their skills and knowledge compared to their peers.

The American Board of Dermatology (ABD) offers several options for diplomates to earn SA credit. One avenue is journal-based SA. In the June 2017 Cutis guest editorial, ABD Executive Director Thomas D. Horn, MD, describes specifics of MOC certification for dermatologists, particularly SA. Cutis is one of the peer-reviewed journals approved to offer SA credits for 2 image-based quizzes that appear in print. Photo Challenge assesses a dermatologist’s ability to review a case description with a clinical image to answer a board-style multiple-choice question regarding the diagnosis, followed by an evidence-based discussion of the correct diagnosis and differential. Dermatopathology Diagnosis  follows a similar format but uses histopathologic images. After completing each activity in print, diplomates can visit the ABD website to self-report the credits; each quiz is eligible for 1 SA credit for MOC from the ABD. (The ABD website lists other ways dermatologists can obtain SA credits.)

Since 1965, Cutis has been a practical resource for dermatologists covering a range of topics from cosmetics to medical management of common skin conditions to cases of rare diseases. Overall, we seek to give readers what they need quickly and efficiently, which includes helping dermatologists demonstrate their ongoing competency through a resource they may already be using, our popular image-based quizzes. These activities are offered at no expense to the reader.

In his guest editorial, Dr. Horn stated that active participation in MOC is “an assurance to patients that the physician’s professional standing is sound, that the physician periodically self-assesses what he/she knows . . . It’s the right thing to do!” In the same vein, it’s the right thing for medical journals to participate in helping physicians assess their ongoing care of patients.


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