Four years ago, I wrote a PDT article for the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD) about becoming a subcommittee member of the Examination Committee after years of being a Diplomate. I responded to parents’ questions about me taking time off for the board exams by explaining that as an examiner I was “sitting on the other side of the table.” In 2015, I was elected as a director of the ABPD, and now find myself “sitting at that table.” Of course, with each new role there has been greater responsibilities, but there have also been even greater rewards.

Since the first Oral Clinical Examination (OCE) was given in 2006, I have enjoyed being an examiner for the OCE. All of us who have been asked to participate as examiners have worked hard during the exam week, but enjoyed the time spent interacting with our colleagues and catching up with friends from across the country and around the world. 

As I furthered my involvement with the examination process by becoming a Part Leader for the Renewal of Certification Examination (ROC), part of Renewal of Certification Process (ROC-P), one of the benefits was seeing the infrastructure of the examination and working more closely with the board’s great staff members, Jasey Bratek and Linda Sojka. 

Prior to being a subcommittee member of the ROC, I was aware that my colleagues that started the board certification process more recently than I were required to complete additional learning tasks to remain board certified as Time-Limited Diplomates. Well, if they were board certified more recently and were more up-to-date, I decided that I, too, should participate in the ROC-P. What I found was that doing the Continuous Quality Improvement modules (CQIs) was not only an informal exercise for testing, but gave me the added benefit of discussing new ideas with staff and dental friends. For Unlimited Diplomates, participating in the ROC-P is one of the easiest ways to get involved with the ABPD, with the added benefit that you may learn something new along the way. 

So, now I was pretty well acquainted with the workings of 2 of the 3 exams and had served several terms as an Examination Committee subcommittee member and decided to apply for a director position. I wasn’t sure how much of a commitment this would be, but when I asked some current directors, they were helpful in explaining what would be involved and the personal commitment that was expected of a director. There are now monthly phone conferences, four board meetings annually, an annual Examination Committee Workshop, and the OCE, in addition to serving on numerous committees of the board. It sounded like a lot of work – and you do this for 6 years!

I have recently completed my first year as a director and am happy to report that the rewards have outweighed the increased workload. The best rewards are getting to meet new Diplomates and seeing colleagues that I have encouraged to become active members of the ABPD and enjoying their new adventure, as well as the camaraderie that is experienced by participating as an Examination Committee subcommittee member.

You too should consider applying for the Examination Committee. 

View the article as it appeared in Pediatric Dentistry Today

Leila Younger, MS, DDS