Membership and Credentialing Committee


Membership and Credentialing Committee

Membership and Credentialing Committee


Gerry Celia, Ph.D., HCLD/TS(ABB)

Traditionally, Fall is seen as the time when things wind down and nature begins it’s long winter slumber. For me however, Fall is more a time to focus on the tasks at hand.  I think we all lose a little direction in the Summer, with our minds centered on vacations, beaches and suntans. Now, even as an adult, I see Fall as “back-to-school” time (and I don’t even have children!). It’s a time to get ourselves in order, and that is exactly what we hope to do with the Membership and Credentialing Committee (MCC in the shorthand I proposed last newsletter).  

To begin, I would like to thank the members of the 2013-2014 committee – Victoria Burruel, PhD, HCLD/ELD/ALD(ABB); Grace Centola, PhD, HCLD/ALD/CC(ABB); Mary Ellen McAsey, PhD, HCLD/ELD/ALD/CC(ABB); Susan Tarchala, TS(ABB); and Jennifer Witmer, TS(ABB), for all of their hard work. Our primary goals for last year were to open up more opportunities for our members to acquire CEUs, work with the ABB to keep the examinations current and relevant, and encourage certification and interest by our membership. These are all ongoing tasks, but I believe we have made some significant strides. With respect to educational opportunities, we have presented a valid case for expanding recognition of sessions at ASRM beyond the strictly “benchtop” themes we are used to. The rational behind this is to acknowledge the growing roles of ART laboratorians and their need for education in areas ranging from patient counseling to drug and hormone interactions. We no longer dwell strictly in the laboratory and are called upon much more often to answer questions that go beyond ICSI and assisted hatching. It is only right, therefore, that we should be encouraged to educate ourselves on these issues, and I believe that offering CEUs is a great way to do that. So far, the reception to this effort has been very positive. With the incoming committee members I hope to finalize guidelines for CEU approval to be submitted to the board. 

Another great way that we, as members, can work toward expanding our opportunities is to investigate alternative conferences and programs for ourselves. On the AAB website there is a detailed explanation of how to go about applying for CEU credit for such programs. Having worked through the process a few times myself - for conferences such as the ISFP meeting - I can honestly say that it is pretty painless. As an added benefit, the more often we show our faces at these events, the more exposure we offer for the CRB. With more exposure comes more interest in membership, and that is also one of the main goals of the MCC – to expand our membership.  

With regard to keeping our exams up-to-date, this primarily involves submitting questions and encouraging the membership to get involved with writing questions to be considered for the various board exams. I won’t lie, this can be a painful task at times, akin to homework in many ways, but it is also a chance to “own” your certification. It gives each member the opportunity to point out what they think are the critical bits of knowledge that divide those with and those without credentials. It’s also an easy way to keep up with our CEUs, which may be earned through the submission of valid questions.

So, I said it could be a painful exercise writing these things (and I know, as I have written many), which is not a very good sales tactic when trying to recruit question writers. Let me clarify that: thinking up exam questions is actually kind of fun, but getting them in proper order for submission can be challenging. To make this a bit more attractive I would like to offer the assistance of the MCC to anyone interested. If you come up with a valid question, just contact us and we will work with you to get it properly referenced and formatted for submission. Information on writing exam questions can be obtained by contacting me (, or the AAB directly. For help formatting and referencing them, send me an email and I will work to get you on the right track.  

As for exams, we have once again had successful attendance for those given May 14 at the AAB Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.  The numbers are as follows: 31 Andrology exams, 25 Embryology exams, and 1 ELA exam with 34 individuals pursuing a TS, 9 pursuing an HCLD, and 1 for an ELA.  

The next exams will be given on October 17th in Honolulu, HI, and St. Louis, MO. Personally, I am glad I don’t have to decide which of these to take, because the distraction of sitting for an exam in Hawaii would surely undermine my concentration, but the Mai Tai afterward would make an excellent consolation prize… Then again, while St. Louis may not be as distracting as Waikiki, they are rumored to have a fairly well known brewery to help you celebrate when the day is done. Such decisions are not to be taken lightly… 

Also of note, the AAB has released the manual from this spring’s Embryology and Andrology Review Course held in Dallas, TX. Along with this are an all new selection of online modules, or a complete course if you prefer, to assist you in reviewing the material and preparing for your board exams. It’s never too early to start preparing! 

Looking ahead, I am delighted to have some wonderful new and returning members for the MCC. Joining me again this year are Victoria Burruel, PhD, HCLD/ELD/ALD(ABB), and Susan Tachala, TS(ABB). New to the committee are Non Tidswell, PhD, TS(ABB); Teru Jellerette-Nolan, PhD, TS(ABB); and Arthur Chang, PhD, HCLD/ELD/CC(ABB). Our initial goal will be to finalize guidelines for CEUs and get organized with regard to updating exams. Once this is accomplished, I hope to utilize these great minds to find ways to make this committee a more active and useful tool in drawing in members and providing them with the voice they require.  

As always, we are forever seeking your input. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions (both the exam and non exam type, but especially with the exam type!), comments, or just to get involved. Remember, this is YOUR organization and it requires your participation to remain so. 

Looking forward to the Fall! 

Gerry Celia, PhD, HCLD/TS(ABB)


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