ABFAS Statement on APMA Board Certification Summit

March 20, 2023

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) through its House of Delegates and the Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME) have long recognized that there are two distinct specialties in which to be board certified: medicine and surgery. The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) is committed to serving the podiatric community and protecting public health by advancing the art and science of foot and ankle surgery. We are proud that more than 10,000 podiatrists have earned ABFAS Board Certification by demonstrating specialized surgical competency and proficiency through their own surgical experience, with more joining our ranks each year.
We welcome discussion and effort to collectively ensure a strong future for our profession. This APMA Board Certification Summit, however, does not properly support such an important endeavor. The development of the summit was sudden, needed enhanced communication and collaboration to develop the objectives and process, and we are concerned that there are conflicting, unstated agendas. 
In particular, we believe that a serious conversation about board certification must acknowledge the damage ABPM has caused by its recent efforts to circumvent the CPME-approved certification process and sow misinformation and distrust within the broader medical community. We understand, however, that ABPM’s podiatric surgery CAQ will not be a discussion topic. ABFAS, APMA, ACFAS, CPME, podiatric colleges, and others in the profession have asked ABPM to suspend its CAQ until the Specialty Board Recognition Committee completes its guidelines, and ABPM has refused. We continue to believe that in order for there to be a truly productive discussion about board certification, ABPM should immediately withdraw its CAQ in podiatric surgery, which only creates more confusion and division. 
ABPM’s actions have divided us when we need to be united, costing all of us time and resources that could be better spent addressing more pressing challenges like student recruitment. Their recent announcement that they will file a misguided lawsuit against the Oregon Medical Board will cost the state association members, the state, and ABPM’s own members, and it will further divide the profession. 
For these reasons, the ABFAS Board will not attend the summit. In the spirit of collaboration, a representative will attend and listen to the community’s concerns so that we may continue to serve our profession and improve the certification process.
Finding solutions to help strengthen and grow the profession requires all of us working together in good faith. For our part, two-and-a-half years ago ABFAS updated and simplified our certification process with fewer exams to save candidates time and money. And we have a task force to further explore ways we can improve our process to better serve candidates and patients. We are always open to innovation. But we firmly believe that neither the public, nor the profession is served by lowering standards.
A commitment to surgical excellence and the highest standards of care are shared values that unite our community. Abandoning this commitment and risking a loss of public trust in our certification processes will ultimately weaken the entire profession. We all should commit to this discussion with that purpose in mind. If there is clear consensus within the profession that a single certifying board would serve that commitment, ABFAS has the infrastructure, resources, and proven history of effectiveness that make us uniquely positioned to serve that unifying role. 
The ABFAS Board of Directors 
Jeffery L. Giesking, DPM, D.ABFAS, President  
Nicole A. Bauerly, DPM, D.ABFAS, President-elect 
Michelle L. Butterworth, DPM, D.ABFAS, Secretary/Treasurer 
Amberly C. Paradoa, DPM, D.ABFAS, Immediate Past President 
Michael D. Dujela, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director 
Dustin L. Kruse, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director 
John T. Marcoux, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director 
Roland S. Ramdass, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director 
Diana E. Rogers, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director 
Katie M. Swanstrom, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director