Organizational Name Change: American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS) to American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) sign now

The American Board of Podiatric Surgery has built an unparalleled reputation for establishing and maintaining high standards of foot and ankle surgical excellence, stability, and continuous improvement in the certification process since its inception in 1975. As such, this board stands as the single most important organization in our profession, defining our competency and surgical scope. Despite these great strides and the universal acceptance of our Certification by hospitals and many legislative bodies, there continues to be a lack of clarity of our surgical scope due in large part to having the term Podiatric in the organizational name. We understand that 23 of the living Past Presidents of the ABPS have petitioned the Board of Directors to enact a name change from the American Board of Podiatric Surgery to the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. We stand with the Past Presidents and echo their request.


In 2000, the Board of Directors voted to obtain trademark and web name rights to various alternative names, including the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, to allow for various future contingencies. Since that time, the landscape of practice within the orthopedic and podiatric specialties of foot and ankle surgery continues to evolve, compelling us to take the next step to ultimately clarify the true scope of our Board and of our Certification by enacting this name change. The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery correctly reflects the advancement of our surgical specialty from what it proudly was, to what it has progressively achieved and since become. The name change more clearly aligns the name of the Board with the realities and Certifications that are actually offered by the Board. Furthermore, the name more accurately defines our scope to the insurance carrier, medical, legislative, and lay sectors. In turn, the name eliminates the ambiguity of "podiatric" terminology, and can contribute to adverse misinterpretation of the scope of practice, the scope of the Certification, and our residency training requirements. Clearly, the step of enacting a name change to the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery by the Board of Directors does a service to its present and future Diplomates, the organization itself, and other interested entities that seek to understand the scope and breadth of our foot and ankle surgical care and qualifications.

On top of these vital immediate benefits, the name change lays the cornerstone for potential future development. It could contribute positively to efforts in developing a national practice act. Hospitals, State legislatures, insurance organizations, and the lay public will be more inclined to recognize parity between allopathic, osteopathic, and podiatric foot and ankle surgeons. Moreover, it opens future avenues of recognition to widen the national and international sphere of influence of the Board.


Name change of professional medical-surgical organizations is not without precedent. Growth, maturation, and refining clarity of purpose is a natural, even necessary, process for all professional medical-surgical organizations. In 1977, this very organization underwent a name change from the National Board of Podiatric Surgery to the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. In 1978 (32 years after their inception), the American Board of Oral Surgery made its transition into the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to also more effectively reflect the scope of their specialty. Likewise, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) has undergone two name changes to properly reflect our status as medical physicians with commensurate training and practice. The American College of Foot Surgeons moved forward in 1991 to likewise identify its sphere of practice changing to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

In fact, the Council of Podiatric Medical Education (CPME) document 230, anticipates the need for periodic name changes of specialty boards. Based on discussion with reliable sources and a review of CPME 230, it is likely that the name change would be approved by the Joint Committee on the Recognition of Specialty Boards (JCRSB), given the fact that name change does not constitute a modification "in the definition and scope of the specialty area or the original intent of the board". We also have confirmed with reliable sources, that a name change to the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery is likely to affect nothing more than an Administrative pass-through of the name in those States and hospitals in which the name American Board of Podiatric Surgery is written into State practice acts or hospital by-laws. After carefully considering these issues and more, we strongly feel there are no real obstacles that should deter the Board of Directors from enacting this name change. Nevertheless, we expect that Board of Directors will perform their own due diligence in these areas, which may also include the financial costs and benefits of such a name change.

After their due diligence, we request that the Board of Directors begin the process of enacting the change without delay. While the subject has been discussed by prior Boards of Directors, only preservation of status quo was elected. However, the time to enact the change has now come to maturity. The benefits to the Board and its present and future Diplomates are clear. Inaction at this point merely allows the forces that methodically misinterpret the ambiguity of "podiatric" terminology in the current name to grow.

In closing, we the undersigned believe this change will improve the authority, the name recognition, and mission of the Board, and serve the quality interests of the public, the community of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, other legislative and governmental agencies and interested entities going forward. We request that the Board of Directors take timely action on our request.

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Fanny JohnsBy:
SustainabilityIn:
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The Board of Directors of the American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS)

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