College of American Pathologists
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American Board of Pathology names new EVP

August 2003
Ruth Mack

The American Board of Pathology recently announced its selection of a new executive vice president, Betsy D. Bennett, MD, PhD, to replace the retiring William H. Hartmann, MD. In her new role, Dr. Bennett will oversee the ABP as its top executive and administrator.

Dr. Bennett assumes her new responsibilities Nov. 1. She is currently vice dean for student affairs and medical education and university distinguished professor of pathology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Mobile.

“I’m very excited about the position. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be involved in a variety of activities related to the education and training of pathologists,” Dr. Bennett says.

Dr. Hartmann held the executive vice president post for 11 years. He first announced his retirement four years ago, he says.

“When I announced my retirement, it didn’t seem to attract too much attention,” Dr. Hartmann says. “Very few candidates came forward at that time, so I withdrew my retirement. A year ago last May, I wrote a poem called ‘It’s Time To Go.’”

Dr. Hartmann attributes the initial lack of interest to the job’s demands. He calls it a “full-time and a half” position.

Dr. Bennett, however, is ready for the challenge. She describes the position as a natural extension of her current academic administrative responsibilities and looks forward to returning to her roots in pathology. “A few people whose opinions I respect suggested I might want to look at this position based on my previous experience,” she says. “While I have not been totally out of pathology, I’ve really missed my involvement in pathology. The idea of going back to it, particularly in that role, was very attractive to me.”

The ABP’s primary function is to provide certification to pathologists, determine competency criteria for pathologists, and help set criteria for pathology residency programs. The executive vice president works closely with other directors of the member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties. One of Dr. Bennett’s first priorities will be to develop a maintenance-of-certification process and examination for pathologists to renew their certification.

“Demonstration of competence is always a hot issue with training,” she says. “That is, how do you ensure the test is appropriate for all pathologists and as fair as possible for everyone who has to take it?”

Stephen Allen, MD, ABP president and a member of the executive vice president search committee, says Dr. Bennett was selected because of her experience in pathology education and in administrative and leadership roles.

“She has an outstanding background and interest in graduate medical education with experience at the national level,” says Dr. Allen, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis. “She has a good working knowledge of the ways in which the ABP interacts with its cooperating societies, and she’s a good communicator, articulate, a tactful facilitator, and a consensus builder.”

Dr. Bennett has held her distinguished professor appointment since 1995. She was named vice dean for student affairs and medical education in 1999. Before joining the University of South Alabama faculty in 1981, she was an assistant professor and director of clinical chemistry at Vanderbilt University/Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Dr. Bennett has a broad background in test development. She has served as a member of the ABP’s Test Development and Advisory Committee for Chemical Pathology and chaired several U.S. medical licensing examination committees.

She received her medical and doctoral degrees from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Dr. Hartmann has mixed emotions about leaving the organization he has led since 1993. He says he’s considering a few proposals but mostly looking forward to focusing on hobbies like fishing and woodworking, and doing “damn little.”

“I’m not really sure what I’ll do,” he says. “I have another poem about that.”

Ruth Mack is a writer in Hoboken, NJ.