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Obstetrics and Gynecology and Subspecialty Certification Standards - COVID-19 Policy

Posted on March 13, 2020



We appreciate that obstetricians and gynecologists and subspecialists are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 as they care for patients. The patients and families they serve should be their focus, and their health and safety are our highest priority. Residents, fellows, and certification candidates should make the best choices for their personal health and safety regarding quarantines, and ABOG will work with them to help meet certification standards.

Residents and fellows may be concerned with how the coronavirus public health emergency might impact completion of residency or fellowship programs and eligibility for specialty or subspecialty certification. 2019-2020 academic year graduates may be concerned about interruptions in planned study and preparation for this year’s OB GYN and subspecialty Qualifying Examinations.  Graduating fellows may be concerned about interruptions in research months that may prevent or delay completion of required research, completion of their thesis, and presentation of their thesis before graduation.


Residents, fellows, and program directors should be aware of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) guidance statements and program requirements regarding education and training considerations.

ABOG issues the following guidance and policies regarding our certification standards for all residents, fellows, graduates, and residency/fellowship programs:


  • Time spent by residents or fellows in mandated COVID-19 quarantine, social distancing, or working from home will be considered clinical experience. Residents, fellows, and their programs can arrange to complete academic, research, or study activities.
  • Time spent by residents or fellows caring for a family member, partner, or dependent in mandatory COVID-19 quarantine, social distancing, or working from home may be considered clinical experience. This is a local decision based on local program requirements and institutional policy. Residents, fellows, and their programs can arrange to complete academic, research, or study activities.
  • Residents and fellows who miss training time because they are infected with coronavirus should count this time as part of the current ABOG Residency and Fellowship Leave policies. Time spent in quarantine after acute infection may be considered as clinical experience by the program (see above).
  • ABOG will consider special requests for excused absences on a case-by-case basis from residents and fellows with COVID-19 infection who miss training for an extended period due to severe coronavirus-related illness.
  • ABOG will monitor public health recommendations and COVID-19 trends over the next months and will make thoughtful decisions regarding the 2020 OB GYN and subspecialty Qualifying Examinations administration. Based on current information, these examinations will continue as scheduled in June.
  • Any resident or fellow that wishes to postpone their 2020 Qualifying Examination to 2021 due to issues related to COVID-19 may request to do so without an additional fee. Contact us at exams@abog.org.
  • Any 2020 graduating resident who is unable to complete the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) certification standard due to COVID-19 should contact us at exams@abog.org.
  • The eligibility period for certification will be extended by one year for any resident, fellow, residency graduate, or active candidate who requests such an extension due to extenuating circumstances due the COVID-19 public health crisis. Please contact us at exams@abog.org.
  • Subspecialty programs and fellows may request an extension of the requirement to complete their research, present the research to their subspecialty division, and complete a written thesis before fellowship graduation. The program director should contact us a fellowship@abog.org.
  • The program has the final authority to make decisions about the duration and completion of a residency or fellowship. This includes verification that a resident or fellow has met the program’s requirements, ABOG’s certification eligibility standards, and is capable to practice independently and without supervision in OB GYN or a subspecialty.


The COVID-19 public health crisis is evolving, and recommendations may be changing based on infection trends and their effects on institutions and the health care system. ABOG appreciates the important role that residents, fellows, faculty, and their programs play in the success of the nation’s response to this pandemic and the personal care that you provide to women and families that we all serve.

Please feel free to contact us at communications@abog.org with any questions or if there are issues that may not have been addressed in the above policy information.


Policy date: 3/13/2020






The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) recognizes that patients have diverse gender identities and is striving to use gender-inclusive language in its publications, literature, and other printed and digital materials. In some instances, ABOG uses the word “woman” (and the pronouns “she” and “her”) to describe patients or individuals whose sex assigned at birth was female, whether they identify as female, male, or non-binary. As gender language continues to evolve in the scientific and medical communities, ABOG will periodically reassess this usage and will make appropriate adjustments as necessary. When describing or referencing study populations used in research, ABOG will use the gender terminology reported by the study investigators.   


Updated June 2021