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The American College of Radiology (ACR) is deeply troubled by implications of a recent CNN report involving the American Board of Radiology (ABR) certification examinations. While the ABR and the ACR are separate and independent organizations, the College is comprised of board-certified radiologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians and medical physicists, and therefore has a legitimate interest in the CNN portrayal of radiology board certification.  

The most troubling aspect of this report is the implication that all radiologists who pass these examinations are "cheaters." The allegation of cheating not only involves an unspecified and unidentified number of individuals, but smears the entire specialty with a broad and unjustified brush.

Whether one considers the sharing of mentally recalled questions to be unethical, or simply a type of study aid, board certification represents significantly more than passing an exam, and should not be impugned simply on the basis of examination methodology. The College is confident that the ABR and its examinees will each make the necessary efforts to reach a solution that reaffirms the high level of integrity for which our members are so widely recognized.

The achievement of board certification requires many years of rigorous clinical education and training and results in a level of expert patient care that has saved millions of lives through early accurate diagnosis and effective sophisticated treatment. The board-certified individuals who comprise this specialty are "examined" on a daily basis by the complex clinical challenges they face. They pass that examination by providing continuous excellent patient care.

Radiologists have played a large role in the reduction of cancer death rates, improved care for other life-threatening illnesses, and their clinical services have been identified as a primary factor in increased life-expectancy for Americans. The public can, and should, have the utmost confidence in the integrity of board certification and of the profession of radiology.

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