SNMMI rejects plan to dissolve ABNM

By Wayne Forrest, AuntMinnie.com contributing writer

October 2, 2015 -- The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging's (SNMMI) board of directors has unanimously rejected a proposal to dissolve the American Board of Nuclear Medicine (ABNM) and fold its functions and training programs into the American Board of Radiology (ABR).

The decision comes after a survey of U.S. and international physician and technologist members of SNMMI, who expressed dissatisfaction with the plan intended to prepare nuclear medicine trainees for a perpetually difficult job market with a new, broader certification for imaging specialists and nuclear medicine physicians.

SNMMI received 547 replies (a 20% response rate) from physicians and 457 responses (a 12% response rate) from technologists. Approximately 55% of physicians were against the proposal, while 29% expressed support. Among technologists, 69% rejected the proposal and 31% were in favor of it.

The primary concerns of the members were the dissolution of ABNM, the subsequent loss of primary specialty status, and the creation of a single training pathway that may prohibit nonimaging specialists from enrolling in nuclear medicine training, according to a September 30 letter from SNMMI President Dr. Hossein Jadvar, PhD, to ABNM and ABR.

SNMMI also objected to allowing diagnostic radiology trainees with four months of training to still practice "the full scope" of nuclear medicine, as this "would have established two parallel but very different pathways for nuclear medicine clinical practice," the communiqué stated.

In June, a joint ABR-ABNM task force released the outline of a dual pathway in which trainees could receive education and certification in both nuclear medicine and diagnostic radiology at the same time, rather than having separate tracks that force imaging specialists to pursue cross-certification on their own.

The SNMMI board did not shut the door completely on revising the current structure of nuclear medicine training.

SNMMI is forming a task force to assess the current job market and work with other organizations, including ABR and ABNM, on ways to address the issues.

"We will soon reach out to these entities and hope to establish a firm and rigorous dialogue to move forward, leveraging the valuable input from all these stakeholders," Jadvar wrote.

The goal, he added, is to "form a partnership to come up with one or more pathways that optimize high-quality value-driven practice of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging."


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