Passing board certifications can be a daunting experience for any new physician, but psychiatry and neurology residents can rest assured they are in good hands.
Dr. Noor Pirzada, professor of neurology and the neurology residency program director at The University of Toledo, has been named vice chair of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, which oversees the certification exam for all psychiatrists and neurologists in the United States.“I’m really happy,” Pirzada said. “It’s the culmination of many years of working with them, and it’s gratifying. I feel happy that, being part of The University of Toledo, I’m able to put Toledo on the map because my colleagues there are from many prestigious institutions throughout the country.”
The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology is under the American Board of Medical Specialties, the largest physician-led specialty certification organization in the country. Because it is tasked with administering the board certification exams for all neurology and psychiatry residents in the nation, the board has an immense impact on those professions.
“The residents take the exam to get certified, but it’s important that the board keeps track of what people are doing after they’re in practice,” Pirzada said. “Are they keeping up with recent advances? Are their skills or knowledge declining? In a way, we’re measuring and ensuring quality of care.”
Pirzada has been involved with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for years. For quite some time, the certifying examination was a live exam where the residents saw patients; for eight years, he served as an examiner who would sit in and observe and evaluate those taking the exam.
Pirzada also has served on the board of directors for the last seven years. Though he will continue to serve on several committees within the organization, his year as the vice chair will be his last on the board of directors.
As vice chair, Pirzada will coordinate all policy meetings, which are an important aspect of the organization because they discuss all issues in regard to certification and maintenance of certification.
“This mostly has to do with the examinations, like how we should modify the examination, how is the question writing process, is it going well, is it statistically valid and reliable, what’s the feedback from the field,” Pirzada said. “There’s a lot of controversy in every specialty about maintenance of certification.”
Pirzada also will assist the board as a liaison to other professional organizations and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education with financial matters, hiring new directors, and serving on several committees. He said that he’s excited to take on this responsibility and make a real impact on the field.
“This was a great opportunity because it’s a chance to influence education — not just for residents, but even for practicing neurologists and psychiatrists by incorporating their feedback,” he said. “I encourage maintenance of certification because I strongly feel that your initial certification is only the start of a lifetime of learning. Medicine is a fast-changing profession, and people need to be up-to-date.”