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Updates for 2021 Credentials Applicants and Small Animal Residents

April 1, 2021

Dear Program Directors, Resident Advisors, and Residents, 

ACVS is aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact ACVS residency training programs. After carefully reviewing the results of the recent survey of Program Directors and keeping with the directives of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS), the ACVS Board of Regents has approved adjustments relating to credentials deadlines and requirements in order to address the ongoing concerns due to the pandemic. Please read this email in its entirety.

The ABVS stated the existing minimum requirements for credentialing, as found in the Residency Training Standards and Requirements cannot be changed/waived as a result of the pandemic. However, deadline dates can be altered. Item #3 below addresses an exception to this policy.

The Board of Regents Approved the Following Accommodations

  1. Credentials applications must be submitted by August 1, 2021. However, residents in the final year of their training who cannot fulfill the minimum requirements by August 1 will have until September 1, 2021, to fulfill any unmet requirements. These residents must submit additional documentation with their credentials application that states how they plan to complete their remaining requirements within that one-month period of time. Both the Program Director (PD) and the resident must sign this document. These specific resident logs will not be completed and closed, so that residents can still add their unmet requirements during that one month, and the Resident Advisor (RA) and PD can sign off on them. Due to this change, credentials application fees must arrive at the ACVS office on or before September 1, 2021. This change applies only to applicants submitting credentials in 2021.
  2. Due to the challenges related to the pandemic, the extension for logging of surgical cases during non-surgical activity weeks has been extended through August 1, 2021 for all residents, regardless of year of training. The Resident Credentialing Committee (RCC) will be flexible with the interpretation of the term “curriculum-essential surgeries” since, during this time, all surgeries, including elective surgeries, could be considered curriculum-essential due to current low caseloads. This interpretation will allow residents to continue to log cases toward their total case numbers, which is “essential” in itself to meet the minimum total requirements.
  3. The Orthopedics - Joint Replacement requirement for small animal residents has been expanded to allow for additional procedures to count toward fulfillment of the existing requirement of three cases. The core curriculum category has been renamed to “Orthopedics – Advanced Procedures.” This is a permanent change for all small animal residents. In addition to the joint replacement procedures, residents may also count certain advanced corrective osteotomies (bone plate, circular fixator, linear external fixator, and triple/double pelvic osteotomies) as well as certain limb-sparing procedures (limb sparing with allograft, limb sparing with bone transport, limb sparing with custom implant, partial pelvectomy, and scapulectomy). Any residents with these procedures already logged who wish to reclassify the existing entries to apply toward this requirement should contact Jeff Melia (jmelia@acvs.org) with the details of those cases. Procedures which were previously logged in a different category are not required to be reclassified into the updated category. Residents who have already fulfilled the joint replacement requirement may log any of these additional procedures in the Orthopedics - Other category.
  4. The RCC will again offer all final-year residents who are intending to submit their credentials this year a preliminary review opportunity. Final-year residents may submit their training logs by June 1, 2021, for preliminary review, and the RCC will review and return them within two weeks. Our goal is to give residents in their last year of training some clarity and reassurance on what is acceptable and what minimum requirements remain outstanding to submit a complete credentials application. This will require submission of a Semi-Annual Review (with an end date before June 1) by the RA and PD. The resident must acknowledge the review (as with any other log review deadline). This extra review is not mandatory. Regardless of whether the resident opts in for the June log review, they will still need to submit their training logs and credential application by the August 1 deadline, as discussed above in #1.

As a reminder, the allowance for diagnostic imaging rotations to be completed via telemedicine was previously extended through June 30, 2021.

We hope that these changes and recommendations will help many residents during this difficult time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Jeff Melia at jmelia@acvs.org.


Eric J. Parente, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
ACVS Director of Certification

Sabrina Brounts, DVM, MS, PhD
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons - Large Animal
Diplomate, European College of Veterinary Surgeons
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
Director, ACVS Resident Credentialing Committee