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Comment and Controversy

Complaints about MOC reinforce negative view of ObGyns

June 2008 · Vol. 20, No. 06
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Recent complaints about Maintenance of Certification (MOC) reinforce negative clichés. To wit:

When I was in med school, the professors and deans generally did not consider students entering our specialty to be standouts. Naturally, there were exceptions. But the best and the brightest were lured into cerebral internal medicine subspecialties such as cardiology, heme-onc, and infectious disease. We who chose obstetrics and gynecology were to become the workhorses of the profession, while the geniuses became the thoroughbreds. The latter could quote any journal article on command and were easily identified by their dog-eared copies of the New England Journal of Medicine. They seemed comfortable with lifelong learning and viewed board certification as something to be periodically renewed, like a driver’s license. Many fellow ObGyns, on the other hand, considered the Boards to be a rite of passage, after which they were home free. Not so.

Yes, we are overburdened. Yes, we are frustrated. However, numerous studies show that doctors lose clinical competence without ongoing education, including MOC.1 By resisting recertification, ObGyns not only fall behind the times but risk reinforcing negative intellectual stereotypes.

We are not the stubborn pack mules of yesteryear. We are better, and smarter, than that.

David Shobin, MD
Smithtown, NY


1. Choudry NK, Fletcher R. Systematic review: the relationship between clinical experience and the quality of health care. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142:260-273.

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