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Johns to help guide PM&R certification process

Apr. 12, 2018, 8:57 AM


Jeffery Johns, MD, medical director of Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital, has been elected to the board of directors of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Johns begins a six-year term in August. The board oversees the certification process for physiatrists, physicians who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation and its seven subspecialties. In addition to serving on the board, Johns will also be at the helm of another professional organization — he was elected president of the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Specialists in September 2017.

Jeffery Johns, MD

Both leadership roles carry busy agendas. The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is reevaluating how it recertifies physiatrists. The Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, a multidisciplinary national society, is holding its annual conference in Nashville next year.

“Currently, the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has a written examination that has to be taken every 10 years,” Johns said. “That process is coming into re-evaluation. We’re asking is that really the best way to assess board-certified practicing physicians about their knowledge base. There may be a better way to do that. Another way to do that is real-time content analysis.”

Other specialty boards are converting from traditional testing protocols for recertification that require cramming for long examinations to a format that keeps physicians up to date through abbreviated constant learning exercises conducted on an ongoing and regular basis, he said.

The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is composed of 14 physicians and one public member. Johns, who is eligible for a second term, can serve up to 12 years.

The Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals was formed in 2009 when four professional organizations — representing physicians, nurses and psychologists/social workers and therapists — all focused on improving treatment merged. They had held their annual meetings at the same time before merging.

The association’s 10th anniversary conference, which will be held in Nashville Sept. 2-4, 2019, is an opportunity for Vanderbilt Health to highlight its spinal cord clinical and research initiatives, said Johns, who has a subspecialty certification in spinal cord injury medicine.

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