VA/ American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Visiting Scholars Program - Office of Academic Affiliations
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VA/ American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Visiting Scholars Program

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VA/ American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Visiting Scholars Program

Please note that the ABMS has decided to postpone the Visiting Scholars Informational Webinar and extend the application deadline.  Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), the informational webinar about the 2020-2021will take place on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. The application Stage 1 deadline for the 2020–2021 ABMS Visiting Scholars Program has been extended to Wednesday, June 17, 2020  and Stage 2 application deadline has been extended to Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm (CT). Please note that it is expected that the Visiting Scholars will be named by July 31, 2020 or shortly thereafter.

VA has an agreement to include VA-nominated Fellows as a participation ‘track’ in The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Visiting Scholars Program. (ABMS) Visiting Scholars Program is a one-year, part-time program that positions early career physicians and others with relevant advanced degrees as future health care leaders and facilitates their research in areas relevant to physician assessment, quality improvement, certification, and continuing certification.
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Visiting Scholars Program provides early career physicians and others with relevant advanced degrees with exposure to the fields of:
  • Physician assessment and continuing professional development
  • Quality improvement (QI)
  • Regulatory policy, assessment, and the performance improvement work of ABMS and Member Boards
  • Health services research and scholarship in areas that improve patient care, quality, and physician performance
Visiting Scholars conduct research in collaboration with mentors from their institution and liaisons from ABMS and its Member Board, that is relevant to Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC)/Continuing Certification. Through their research and program engagement, scholars help inform the fields of professional development, physician self-regulation, and quality improvement. Scholars participate in the program remotely, remaining at their home institutions and organizations and attending three in-person meetings during the year.

Visiting Scholar Benefits

  • Scholars pursue professional goals through relationships with the ABMS Member Boards leaders, other national healthcare leaders, and each other;
  • Scholars remain at their home institutions, participating in three 3-day, in-person programs during the year, primarily in monthly leadership development seminars via videoconference with health care leaders related to continuing professional development, health policy, quality improvement, and health services research; and
  • Scholars conduct projects of value to their programs, organizations, and to the ABMS Member Boards Community.
  • Travel and other specified expenses will be provided by the American Board of Medical Specialties Research and Education Foundation.

Please see following link for full detailed announcement: Program Announcement

Who Should Apply?

  • Early career VA physicians, advanced fellows, and or other VA staff holding Master’s or Doctorate degrees in public health, health services research, public health policy, administration or other relevant disciplines.
  • Applicants should have a project that is ongoing or ready to begin and an institutional mentor selected. The project may build on existing research at the applicant’s institution.
  • Scholars are selected based on the quality of their proposed project, the likelihood of making substantial progress on the project during the scholar year, and on their project’s relevance to physician assessment, patient care quality improvement and performance improvement. Applications developed in collaboration with one or more ABMS Member Boards may receive priority.
  • VA Fellows must be nominated by the Office of Academic Affiliations and will be selected by the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program a national competition.
  • A paid VA appointment is required prior to starting the VA Track of the ABMS Visiting Scholars Program but is not required at the time of application. Part-time VA appointments are acceptable to meet eligibility criteria. Applicants may be VA staff or trainees (e.g. Advanced Fellows). The VA track in this program is a curriculum enrichment opportunity and does not include any supplemental salary support for the Fellow’s time or effort. All applicants to the VA track must demonstrate that their underlying VA position will allow them the time to participate in this program.

Application Process for VA Track

There are two stages for application to this program.

Stage 1: Eligibility Determination

Only VA trainees/and employees who are determined to be eligible will be considered for participation as an ABMS/VA Visiting Scholar. VA trainees/employees interested in applying to must first receive determination of eligibility from VA OAA. OAA shall provide eligibility determination to applicants generally within 3 working days of its receipt of all required materials.

To request an eligibility determination, the elements below must be submitted at one time via email to Dr. Karin Daniels ( at any time but not later than Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Messages offering partial documentation, even if over time all required materials may have been submitted, will not be considered. The request for eligibility determination shall include:

  • Cover letter from candidate stating interest in program and describing the following:
    • The paid VA appointment that the applicant will have at the time the program begins in Fall, 2020.
    • Local VA leadership support, and commitment for protection of time needed to participate in program 
    • Current contact information including physical address, e-mail address, and telephone number.
    • Brief (<40-word) description of research to be completed during tenure as an ABMS/VA Visiting Scholar and relevance of proposed project to initial and continuing certification, physician assessment, performance improvement or quality improvement. (Research may be underway.)
  • Letter(s) of support with signatures from local VA mentor approved through Service Chief, VAMC Designated Education Officer (or ACOS/Education) and Facility Director. The letter(s) of support shall address at least:
    • Local VA mentor background, including prior mentorship experience
    • Local VA mentor time commitment to support this application
    • Institutional commitment for participant's time, space, travel (please see details about travel funding below) and equipment required for program participation
  • Applicant CV

Stage 2: Application to ABMS

Upon determination of eligibility for VA track, VA applicants must submit a complete application to ABMS through the program website*. That application will include:

  • A description of the applicant’s research project including research questions, research plan, budget, expected outcomes, and timeline
  • A personal statement describing the applicant’s interests and goals
  • Current CV
  • Letters of support from: (1) the faculty member or other institutional leader who will serve as the scholar’s research mentor, and (2) the applicant’s department chair, associate dean/assistant dean, residency program director, or other supervisor

Applications to ABMS are due by 5:00 pm CT on Friday. July 1, 2020; notification of acceptance will be made in early July 2020 and program participation will begin in September 2020.

To download a copy of the program application, go to:*

Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the infomational webinar about the 2020-2021 Visiting Scholars Program will take place on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. 

You will learn about the program, hear firsthand experiences from recent alumni, and have time to ask questions. To register for the webinar, or for additional information, visit Webinar Registration*. Email any questions to:

For more information please contact the Advanced Fellowships Office:

Director: Stuart Gilman, MD, MPH  
Administrative Officer: Deborah Ludke, MHA
Management Analyst: Kimberly Uhl, MBA
Office of Academic Affiliations (10A2D)
Advanced Fellowships and Professional Development
Telephone 562-826-5996


* External Link Disclaimer: Links marked with an asterisk ( * ) are external links. By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website. The link will open in a new window.