Development and Results of the First Certification Examination in the American Board of Medical Specialties Neurocritical Care Subspecialty

Steven L. Lewis, Linjun Shen, Dorthea Juul, Alejandro Rabinstein, Vineeta Singh, Isaac Li, Kristin O’Brien, Larry R. Faulkner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reviews the development of the American Board of Medical Specialties subspecialty in neurocritical care (NCC) and describes the requirements for certification and the results of the first certification examination administered in October 2021. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) is the administrative board, and the sponsoring boards are the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM), American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), and American Board of Neurological Surgery. The American Board of Medical Specialties approved the subspecialty in 2018, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education developed and approved the training requirements in 2021. The fellowship programs are either 12 or 24 months in length and may become available in Academic Year 2022–2023. The first NCC examination was developed by a multispecialty group of subject matter experts following established test development procedures and was successfully administered to 1,011 candidates in October 2021. There were 406 (40.2%) ABIM candidates, 356 (35.2%) ABPN candidates, 208 (20.6%) ABA candidates, and 41 (4.1%) ABEM candidates. The end-of-test survey indicated that most examinees were satisfied with their test taking experience, and the.92 reliability index indicated that the test scores were reliable. An established process was also followed to set the criterion-referenced passing standard, and the resulting pass rate of 72.7% was judged to be reasonable. In summary, the combined efforts of representatives from the ABPN, ABA, ABEM, ABIM, and American Board of Neurological Surgery yielded a quality assessment instrument to identify physicians who possess the expertise required to be certified in NCC. The test development committee will continue to expand and improve the pool of test questions for the next examination, which is scheduled for October 2022.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-615
Number of pages5
JournalNeurocritical care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Board certification
  • Fellowship training
  • Graduate medical education
  • Subspecialty certification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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