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Dear Dr. Nasca:

The American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC), the certification board of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), certifies individuals with doctoral-level degrees in the practice of clinical chemistry, toxicological chemistry, and molecular diagnostics. The federal government, and many state governments, recognize ABCC certification as an essential criterion for laboratory professionals to demonstrate their competency to direct clinical laboratories.

In addition to directing high-complexity laboratories, ABCC Diplomates serve as instructors in Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited pathology residency programs. Although many PhD, DABCC certified individuals teach in these residency programs, they are barred from serving as “Core” faculty by ACGME. By ACGME rule, only physicians can serve as Core faculty in an ACGME certified residency program.

Exclusion as Core faculty is a significant concern for ABCC Diplomates since it raises questions from administrators regarding dedicated teaching time for non-Core faculty and in some cases, eliminates graduate medical education salary adjustments that cover time spent teaching. While this rule may be appropriate in certain specialties (e.g., internal medicine), it is not justified for pathology residency programs where board-certified clinical chemists are an integral part of the faculty.

Education in pathology residency programs is a team effort, not strictly the purview of physician faculty. In fact, ACGME requires residents in anatomic and clinical pathology programs to participate in a clinical chemistry rotation—a rotation that is generally under the supervision of an ABCC diplomate. The continued participation of PhD, ABCC Diplomates in these programs is vital to training the next generation of clinical pathologists. We request that ACGME recognize the contributions of ABCC certified clinical chemists in the training of pathology residents by allowing them to serve as Core faculty members.

AACC is a global scientific and medical professional organization dedicated to clinical laboratory science and its application to healthcare. AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of laboratory medicine to advance healthcare collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation.

We look forward to working with you on this important matter. If you have any questions, please email Vince Stine, PhD, AACC Director of Government Affairs, at [email protected].


Michael J. Bennett PhD, FRCPath, FACB, DABCC
President, AACC