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Professional Agencies and the Competence of Physicians

William D. Holden, MD
JAMA. 1974;230(3):441-443. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240030059032.
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The publication of the Report of the Committee on Goals and Priorities (GAP) of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) has evoked a wide spectrum of response, ranging from naive total acceptance to criticism of the National Board as an arrogant, self-serving agency attempting to impose its convictions on the medical establishment. In the midst of the somewhat strident literary offerings on this subject, there has been an evident lack of understanding of the responsibility that various professional agencies have for education and evaluation, and to whom they are accountable.

The authority that these agencies have to make and implement decisions is always delegated, either formally or tacitly, by the medical profession, the educational institutions, or the public via legislation. Frequently, it is forgotten that the education of a physician is a means to an end, ie, service to the public. All agencies concerned with evaluation assessment of competence,


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