Bylaws and Policies

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Policies, Procedures, and Requirements

This document supersedes all previous publications of The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (ABOMP) (formerly The American Board of Oral Pathology) concerning its policies, procedures, and requirements for certification. All candidates for ABOMP certification are admitted to the examinations at the discretion of the Board. The admission of a candidate to an ABOMP certifying examination is governed by the policies, procedures, and requirements in effect during the current application period. The ABOMP reserves the right to make changes in its policies, procedures, requirements, and fees at any time.

Organizational History

The American Academy of Oral Pathology (AAOP) was officially organized in 1946 and, accordingly, a plan for an American Board of Oral Pathology (ABOP) was developed. At the third annual meeting of the AAOP on February 6, 1948, the formation of the ABOP was announced. It was incorporated in Washington, D.C. on November 8, 1948 with Drs. Joseph Bernier, Paul Boyle, Lester Cahn, Henry Goldman, Donald Kerr, Hamilton Robinson, and Kurt Thoma as the original Board of Directors. Officers were: Drs. L. Cahn, President; H. Robinson, Vice President; J. Bernier, Secretary-Treasurer. The first certifying examination was held in the Fall of 1949 and no members, save the founders, have become diplomates of the Board without examination. The ABOP was approved by the American Dental Association in 1950. In 1995 the ABOP became The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology in keeping with the official name changes of the specialty to Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and of the sponsoring organization to the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (AAOMP). The AAOMP continues to sponsor and have a close working relationship with the ABOMP and has as one of its objectives to “aid in maintaining and strengthening the America Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.” 



Title, Mission Statement and Objectives, Definition of Terms

Section 1. Title. The name of the Corporation shall be The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (ABOMP). The Corporation shall have a corporate seal bearing the name, “The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology,” and the words, “Incorporated in the District of Columbia 1948.”

Section 2. Mission Statement and Objectives.

Mission Statement:

The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology endeavors to represent the interest of oral and maxillofacial pathologists within the profession itself, in the dental and medical community, and to the public at large.

The objectives of the Board shall be:

  1. To encourage the study of oral and maxillofacial pathology.
  2. To protect the public interest by maintaining the standards and advancing the practice of the specialty of oral and maxillofacial pathology.
  3. To determine the competence of those wishing to practice the specialty of oral and maxillofacial pathology through evaluation of their credentials and the examination of eligible candidates.
  4. To issue certificates to those who successfully complete the certifying examination administered by the ABOMP.
  5. To serve the public, the dental and medical professions, hospitals, and dental and medical schools, by maintaining a list of diplomates of the ABOMP. A list of registered diplomates shall be prepared annually by the Secretary-Treasurer and submitted to the National Commission of the American Dental Association.
  6. To establish criteria for certification maintenance and conduct an on-going certification maintenance program.

The ABOMP does not seek special privileges for its diplomates, nor does it:

  1. Confer an academic degree.
  2. Confer a legal qualification or license to practice oral and maxillofacial pathology.
  3. Define hospital privileges.
  4. Define the scope of the diplomate specialty practice.
  5. Delineate who may or may not engage in the practice of oral and maxillofacial pathology.

Section 3. Definition of Terms.

  1. Oral and maxillofacial pathology is the specialty of dentistry and the discipline of pathology that deals with the nature, diagnosis, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is the science that investigates the causes, processes, and effects of these diseases.
  2. The practice of oral and maxillofacial pathology includes the diagnosis of disease using clinical, radiographic, biochemical, microscopic, molecular or other examinations; and the treatment and/or management of patients.
  3. Active Candidate in the Process of Certification: Applicants approved by the Credentials Committee of the Board of Directors shall be granted a period of qualification within which they are allowed to challenge the examination for certification.
  4. Diplomate. Candidates who successfully complete all of the requirements for certification are designated a “diplomate.” Candidates who obtained diplomate status prior to 2004 were issued a non-time-limited certificate. All candidates who obtained diplomate status in 2004 and after are issued a 10-year, time-limited certificate, which is contingent upon annual participation in Certification Maintenance (CM) activity. The 10-year cycle culminates in a CM examination administered by the Board, available in years 7-10 of the 10-year cycle. A roster of diplomates is maintained by the ABOMP office.
  5. Emeritus Diplomate. A diplomate who has reached the age of 65 and is not receiving any remuneration from the practice of oral and maxillofacial pathology may apply for Emeritus status. A diplomate who provides physician confirmation of a permanent disability may apply for Emeritus status prior to age 65 provided they are not receiving any remuneration from the practice of oral and maxillofacial pathology. To apply, a request must be made in writing to the Board. A form is available on the Board website under Login that states that the diplomate is no longer receiving any remuneration from the practice of oral and maxillofacial pathology, which must be signed and submitted. Upon approval by the Board of Directors, Emeritus diplomates shall pay no annual registration fee but shall retain all of the privileges previously enjoyed.


Board of Directors

Section 1. The membership of the Board shall be composed of and limited to seven Directors.

Section 2. The Directors of the Board, each of whom shall be fully compliant with current Certification Maintenance guidelines, shall be elected in staggered terms by the Fellows of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (AAOMP).

Section 3. Following presentation of the initial slate by the Nominations Committee of AAOMP, the Executive Director of the ABOMP will provide each individual nominated the requirements associated with the nomination as stipulated below and allow them the opportunity to withdraw their name prior to finalizing the ballot for Director of ABOMP. The Board will only comment on the eligibility of a nominee.

The individual nominated by the Fellows of the AAOMP must be a diplomate of ABOMP in good standing. They must upload 40 hours of approved continuing education (CE) for every two-year couplet, to include completion of at least one ABOMP approved slide exchange program per year, for the past 10 years. Copies of certificates validating this participation from the last two years must be uploaded within 30 days following their nomination. The Board office must be notified when all supporting documentation has been uploaded to the certification maintenance (CM) site. If validation is not received within 30 days, the Nominations Committee of AAOMP will be informed that, as per ABOMP Bylaws, the nominee is not eligible.

Once elected, the incoming Director must submit a completed application for the CM examination to the office of the Board within 30 days following election. The application will be reviewed by the ABOMP Credentials Committee.

Section 4. The official term for each Director shall begin at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting of the ABOMP that follows the election of the Director.

Section 5. A vacancy for any unexpired term shall be filled by appointment of the Executive Council of the AAOMP from a slate proposed by ABOMP.

Section 6. Directors shall not participate as an organizer, director, or chairperson, or in an advisory capacity for any oral pathology review course during and for three years after completion of their term on the Board. This includes contributing to or developing any publication or online resource that is promoted as a Board review or Board preparation course. This designation “Oral Pathology Review Course” is interpreted as meaning any course designed primarily for oral pathologists or other physicians preparing for an ABOMP examination, such as comprehensive lecture series reviewing foundational and current concepts in oral pathology. Not included in this definition are single lectures, seminars, or workshops that are limited to current developments in a single field of oral pathology. 


Officers and Standing Committees

Section 1. The officers of the Board shall consist of a President, Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer, and shall be elected annually for one-year terms by the Directors. The Board will employ an Executive Director to assist the Secretary-Treasurer in the administrative functions of the Board. The ABOMP has a total of 7 Directors who serve a total of 7 years.  The last year of service is the Presidential year. The Director Designate becomes the incoming Director at the end of the business meeting when the current President concludes their term.

Section 2. The President shall appoint from among the Directors the following standing committees:

  • Credentials Committee
  • Test Construction Committee
  • Certification Maintenance Committee

Section 3. All appointments to standing committees shall be subject to approval by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

Section 4. The President may appoint ad hoc committees to carry out activities of the Board that require special attention.

Section 5. A Director and/or officer of the Board may resign by submitting a written resignation to the Secretary-Treasurer.

Section 6. A Director and/or officer of the Board may be removed from the Board by unanimous written ballot of the remaining Board of Directors present and voting at two successive annual or special meetings.


Duties of Officers

President. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board. They appoint committees (Article II, Sections 2, 3, 4) and their chairpersons and shall be an ex officio member of all committees. They shall submit an annual report to the Executive Council of the AAOMP and represents the ABOMP at all times.

Vice President. In the absence of the President, the Vice President shall perform the duties of that office. 

Secretary-Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer, with the assistance of the Executive Director, shall be responsible for development and maintenance of minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors and maintenance of other correspondence and records relating to affairs of the Board. They shall be responsible for the conduct of all business relative to examinations as directed by the Board and the President, including notification of time, candidates’ status before and after the examination, and such other business as the Board may find necessary in this regard. They shall supervise and be responsible for all records and correspondence relating to annual registration, continued competency assurance, and certification maintenance. The Secretary-Treasurer shall receive all moneys and pay all indebtedness authorized by the Board. They shall serve as the chairperson of the Test Construction Committee.


Duties of Committees

Section 1. Credentials Committee. The Credentials Committee shall evaluate the  credentials of all candidates and shall recommend to the Board those candidates who are eligible for examination.

Section 2. Test Construction Committee. The Test Construction Committee shall have responsibility for reviewing, revising and approving certifying examination questions.

Section 3. Certification Maintenance Committee. The Certification Maintenance Committee shall make recommendations to the Board of Directors concerning the development, institution, and operation of a certification maintenance program for ABOMP diplomates.



Section 1. Annual Meeting. An annual meeting will be held at the time and place designated by the Board of Directors.

Section 2. Mid-Year Meeting. A mid-year meeting will be held during the annual AAOMP meeting.

Section 3. Special Meetings. Special meetings may be called by the President or upon written request by two or more Directors of the Board.



Section 1. A majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

Section 2. Meetings of the Board for transaction of business shall be according to the latest edition of “Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised”.



Section 1. Income. The income of this organization shall consist of fees for examinations, annual registration, ABOMP Quarterly Head and Neck Case Review Program, verification fees, gifts, bequests, and return on investments.

Section 2. Disbursements of Funds. The Secretary-Treasurer shall disburse funds for the necessary and reasonable expenses incurred in the ordinary operation of this Corporation. This being a not-for-profit Corporation, no funds shall accrue to any of the Board of Directors other than for reimbursement of reasonable and necessary expenses incurred directly in the furtherance of this Corporation’s activities.

Section 3. ABOMP’s Financial Viability. Upon written request, diplomates may receive a copy of the ABOMP’s financial viability.  The ABOMP’s financial status is presented annually to the membership at the AAOMP meeting.

Section 4. Dissolution. In the event this Corporation is dissolved, the Board of Directors shall, after paying or making provisions for the payment of all the liabilities of the Corporation, transfer all assets of the Corporation to the AAOMP.


Amendment of Bylaws

Section 1. Amendments of these bylaws shall be made at the Annual Meeting providing notice of the proposed amendment(s) and a copy of the proposed amendment(s) shall have been received by each Director of the Board at least thirty days prior to the Annual Meeting. Under exceptional circumstances the thirty-day requirement may be waived with the unanimous approval of the Board of Directors.

Section 2. Proposed amendments to these bylaws must be seconded by two Directors of the Board.

Section 3. An affirmative vote of five or more Directors of the Board shall be required for the adoption of the amendments.


Requirements, Procedures, and Fees for Certification of Diplomates

Section 1Requirements. To be considered for certification as a diplomate, each candidate must:

1. Submit by September 1, an official certificate of completion for a full-time course of study of not less than three years’ duration in an advanced training program in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the United States (CODA) or Canada (CDAC).

2. Submit a completed application and the nonrefundable application/examination fee by the appropriate deadline and be approved by the Credentials Committee.

3. Achieve a passing score on the certification examination.

Section 2. Procedures.

  1. Each candidate shall submit a completed current application form. A link to the candidate/diplomate platform is available on the ABOMP website. Each candidate shall create a candidate profile and complete and submit the current application form with the application-examination fee.
  2. The application shall be accompanied by a current curriculum vitae and a copy of the official university certificate of successful completion of an advanced training program in oral and maxillofacial pathology from the appropriate institution(s). If the official certificate has not been issued by the application submission deadline, a copy must be received no later than September 1st. A confidential reference form will be sent by the Board to the program director(s) under whom training was received.

Section 3. Appeal Procedure. An applicant who has been determined to be ineligible to take the certifying examination may appeal the decision by making a written request for reconsideration to the Secretary-Treasurer within thirty days of the date such ruling was mailed.

Section 4. Fees. All application, examination, and other fees are determined by the Board and are nonrefundable. As of 2023, the examination fee is $1,500.

Section 5. Advanced Training Outside the United States and/or Canada. In exceptional circumstances, an applicant who has not met the requirements outlined in Article X, Section 1. a. may appeal to the Board for special consideration. Applicants in this category will be expected to have completed a full time course of study in oral and maxillofacial pathology of not less than three years duration {in a non-Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA/CDAC) OMP program} and to have spent an additional year in an advanced training program in oral and maxillofacial pathology approved by the CODA/CDAC. The unanimous approval of the Board of Directors is required for such applicants to be admitted to the certification examination. Requirements of Article X, Section 1. b. and c. also apply.


Candidates with Disabilities

Section 1. Policy. The ABOMP will provide qualified candidates who have documented disabilities reasonable accommodations in the administration of its examination, including auxiliary aids and services, where appropriate. Such accommodations must not, however, fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge the examination is intended to test or result in an undue burden.

Section 2. Documentation of Disability. Candidates requesting accommodation due to a disability must provide documentation of the disability and the appropriateness of the requested accommodation for the documented disability. Such documentation must include a specific diagnosis of the disability and medical records or other documentation of the diagnosis of the disability by an appropriate medical professional. The ABOMP reserves the right to verify the disability and to request additional documentation as necessary. All required documentation acceptable to the ABOMP must be received no later than the application deadline.

Section 3. Type of Accommodation. Candidates requesting accommodation must identify the type of accommodation requested. The ABOMP, however, will determine the type of accommodation to be made for a candidate with a verified disability. Accommodations that fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge the examination is intended to test will not be offered.

Section 4. Application Deadline. Candidates requesting accommodations are urged to contact the ABOMP as far in advance of the examination as possible. Requests for accommodation and documentation of disability must be received no later than the application deadline.


Qualification Period for Examination

The ABOMP does not recognize or use the term Board eligible and does not issue statements concerning Board eligibility. An applicant is declared qualified for examination only after an application has been received and approved by the Credentials Committee. Candidates who have been qualified for examination will be permitted to take the examination during a period of five years after being declared qualified to take the examination. At any time after declaring an applicant qualified for examination, the Credentials Committee, at its discretion, may withdraw such qualification or, as a condition, may require satisfaction by the applicant of specific conditions. If it is determined that an applicant has (a) falsified information or has withheld material information in connection with their application or in any other representation to the ABOMP or any committee thereof, or, (b) misrepresented to any third party their status as a diplomate of the ABOMP and/or (c) engaged in irregular behavior, the applicant will not be approved for the certifying examination and will be ineligible for a period of up to three years before being permitted to file a new application.


Irregular Behavior

In the interest of protecting the integrity of the ABOMP and its certification examinations, the following irregular behaviors may be sufficient to bar a person from qualification, terminate participation in an examination, invalidate the results of a candidate’s examination, cause the withholding or revocation of scores or certificates, or merit other appropriate action by the ABOMP:

  1. The giving or receiving of aid in the examination as evidenced by observation or by statistical analysis of candidates’ answers.
  2. The unauthorized possession, reproduction, or disclosure of any ABOMP examination-related materials, including, but not limited to, examination questions or answers, before, during or after the examination.
  3. The offering of any benefit to any agent of the ABOMP in return for any right, privilege, or benefit that is not usually granted by the ABOMP to other similarly situated candidates or persons.
  4. Possession of notes, books, or any other examination aid in the vicinity of the examination room.
  5. Engaging in irregular behavior in connection with the administration of the examination, including, but not limited to:
  1. referring to notes, books, or any other examination aid at any time during the examination, including breaks.
  2. transferring or receiving information relating to the contents or answers of the examination to or from another candidate or a third party before, during or after the examination. This prohibition includes any transfer of information between a candidate and another person at any time during the examination, including breaks, and any reconstruction of examination questions and answers and the transfer of information concerning the same after the examination.

In addition, the ABOMP may withhold a candidate’s scores and require that the candidate retake one or more portions of the examination if presented with sufficient evidence that the security of the examination has been compromised, notwithstanding the absence of any evidence of the candidate’s personal involvement in such activities.

Policy on Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology that all Directors, consultants, examiners, and employees are responsible for assuring that the work place and examination process is free from sexual harassment. Because of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology’s strong disapproval of offensive or inappropriate sexual behavior, all Board members, consultants, examiners, and employees must avoid any action or conduct that could reasonably be viewed as sexual harassment including:

1.  unwelcome sexual advance.

2.  requests for sexual acts or favors.

3.  other verbal or physical conduct of a sexually harassing nature.

Any complaint of sexual harassment shall be made to the Executive Director, except if the complaint is directed against the Executive Director, it shall be made to the President of the Board. All complaints will be addressed promptly and with sensitivity to the privacy interests of both the complainant and the accused individual.

The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology will take appropriate corrective action, including disciplinary measures when justified, to remedy all violations of this policy. 



Section 1. Schedule. The certification examination is given annually at such times as directed by the Board of Directors. All examinations are administered at Pearson VUE Professional Centers in the continental United States. Advanced notice shall be published in appropriate dental journals and on the ABOMP website. The final filing dates for receipt of applications or registrations for initial examination applicants and repeat examination participants is May 15. Under extreme or unusual circumstances applications may be accepted until June 1 although an additional late fee of $250 will be assessed. Submission of the initial application constitutes intent to sit for the current examination. If the candidate cancels an appearance for the examination or does not appear for the examination, the entire application-examination fee is forfeited with the following exception: Personal illness at the time of the examination, validated by the candidate’s personal physician. In this case, the examination fee will be refunded minus a $100 administrative fee. Other extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis.

Section 2Content. The certification examination shall consist of the following sections:

  1. Surgical Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Diagnosis of virtual microscopy slides of diseases or lesions of the head and neck region, including exfoliative and fine needle aspiration cytology. (This constitutes 55% of the examination score.)
  2. General Surgical Pathology. Diagnosis of virtual microscopy slides of diseases or lesions in general pathology. (This constitutes 10% of the examination score.)
  3. Clinical and Radiographic Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Diagnosis or differential diagnosis of clinical and radiographic photographs of oral and maxillofacial and systemic diseases. (This constitutes 25% of the examination score.)
  4. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and General, Systemic and Clinical Pathology. A comprehensive written examination covering pathology, including forensic pathology, histochemistry, immunochemistry, cytology, and electron microscopy. Also included are related basic sciences (embryology, anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, molecular biology, and microbiology) and clinical sciences (genetics, immunology, epidemiology, medicine, radiology and diagnostic imaging, and oncology.) (This constitutes 10% of the examination score.)

Section 3. Grading. The Board of Directors shall determine the success or failure of all candidates; however, candidates must pass both the Surgical Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology section and the Clinical and Radiographic Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology section in order to pass the examination.

Section 4. Issuance of Certificate. All certificates issued by the ABOMP after January 1, 2004, will be contingent upon meeting the requirements for Certification Maintenance.  Certificates issued prior to that date are not restricted by Certification Maintenance requirements. The ABOMP does not issue duplicate certificates. If a certificate is lost or destroyed, the diplomate must request a replacement in writing, stating the reason for replacement of the original certificate. The replacement will indicate that the certificate is a replacement and the date of the replacement. A fee of $50 must accompany the written request.

Section 5Appeal Procedure. A candidate who fails a certification examination may request that the examination score be recalculated to determine whether mathematical errors were made at the time of grading. Such requests must be made in writing within thirty (30) days of the date of mailing of the results of the examination to the candidate. Members of the Test Construction Committee will recalculate the candidate’s score and report the results to the Board for its action. The report of the Test Construction Committee will be considered final and a second recalculation will not be considered. A $500 administration fee will be charged for the review. A request for the reinterpretation of a candidate’s responses and rescoring of the examination will not be considered. Regrading of individual answers will not be performed.

Section 6. Re-examination. For candidates who fail a certification examination, admission to a repeat examination is permitted, but any reexamination must occur within the period of qualification. The applicant must submit an examination registration form by the appropriate deadline and pay the examination fee according to the current fee schedule before another examination can be taken.

Section 7. Unsuccessful Candidates. Once the initial period of qualification has terminated, candidates may apply for one additional period of qualification based on successful completion of the AAOMP Fellowship Examination. In addition, 40 hours of oral pathology-related CE during the most recent two-year period, to include participation in at least one but no more than two slide programs per year, must be uploaded to their candidate profile. Once these requirements have been met, a new application and examination fee must be submitted and approved by the Credentials Committee.

Section 8. Expiration of Period of Qualification. A candidate who does not sit for the initial certification examination during their period of qualification must submit a new initial application and application fee to establish a new period of qualification.



Section 1. Diplomate Certificate. A certificate bearing the Seal of The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and signed by its Directors shall be awarded to candidates who pass the certification examination.

Section 2. Annual Registration Certificate. Diplomates wishing to maintain specialty registration must pay the annual Board certification renewal fee by January 31 each year and will be issued a current registration certificate. Diplomates failing to pay the annual Board certification renewal fee by March 30 will be considered delinquent and will be so notified. Delinquent diplomates will be dropped from the active roll if their annual Board certification renewal fee and a late payment fee are not received by June 30.

Section 3. Reinstatement. Reinstatement requests must be approved by the Board of Directors. Without exception, applicants must have fulfilled and properly documented all CM/slide course requirements at the time of applying for reinstatement. Regardless of the date within the year a diplomate is dropped, that year is considered year one. Reinstated, time-limited diplomates (both Emeritus and non-Emeritus), will continue with the 10-year cycle they were initially certified under.

a. Within thirty days: Former diplomates must submit a letter requesting reinstatement to the Board along with payment of all indebtedness and a reinstatement fee of $100.

b. After thirty days and within five calendar years for non-time-limited diplomates: Former diplomates with lifetime certificates must submit a letter requesting reinstatement to the Board along with payment of all indebtedness and a reinstatement fee of $100. 

c. After thirty days and within five calendar years for time-limited diplomates: For former diplomates with time-limited certificates, the payment of the $100 reinstatement fee must accompany documentation of certification maintenance (CM) requirements. All reinstatement requests must be received by November 1st of the fifth calendar year. If the ten-year cycle has passed without the completion of the certification maintenance examination, the examination must be taken and passed before reinstatement will be considered.

d. After five calendar years: Reinstatement is no longer an option. All former diplomates must submit an application and examination fee and must pass the initial Board certification examination within their new period of eligibility.

Section 4. Reactivation. An Emeritus diplomate may be reactivated as a full diplomate if approved by the Board of Directors:

a. Within thirty days of receiving Emeritus status: Reactivation is achieved by payment of all indebtedness to the Board and a reactivation fee of $50.

b. After thirty days and up to end of current dues year: A letter requesting reactivation must be submitted to the Board with payment of all indebtedness and a reactivation fee of $100.

c. After 1 year: The Emeritus diplomate must submit a letter requesting reactivation to the Board with payment of all indebtedness and a reactivation fee of $200 and, if applicable, successfully complete all certification maintenance (CM) requirements which must be updated appropriately.  In addition, the applicant must successfully pass the CM examination if the 10-year timeframe has expired.

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