Reserve doctor chosen for medical specialty board

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Paul Flipse
  • Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs
The chief of Air Force Reserve Command's line-of-duty board was chosen to serve on the American Board of Preventative Medicine beginning in August. 

Col. (Dr.) Susan Northrup was selected in January to serve a three-year term on the ABPM, the only U.S. agency that certifies medical doctors in occupational, preventive and aerospace medicine. 

As the ABPM's aerospace medicine representative, she will supervise the process of screening, testing and certifying every person seeking board certification.

"It's an honor to be selected," said Colonel Northrup, who compared the appointment to a lawyer being selected to write and oversee the bar examination. "Serving your profession by being the person who sets the standards ... it's incredible."

The ABPM is part of the 24 boards that make up the American Board of Medical Specialties, the certifying agents for physicians who work in specialties like pediatrics, psychiatry, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, plastic surgery and internal medicine, among others.

"Being chosen to serve on the board is a very important selection," said Navy Capt. Glenn Merchant, the director of the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board and current chair of the ABPM. "Physicians who serve on a specialty board help develop exams that determine whether a person becomes board-certified."
Captain Merchant said Colonel Northup was chosen for her excellent qualifications, knowledge of aerospace medicine and her professional reputation.

"She's knowledgeable, personable and enthusiastic," he said. "There's never a task she can't handle with ease. She does a great job."

Though it's not uncommon for military members to serve on the board, the ABPM is a civilian agency, which indicates a broad level of acclaim and endorsement for Colonel Northrup.

"It's peer recognition at the highest level -- recognition of her professionalism and the expertise she is known to have in the aerospace community," Captain Merchant said.

For all the responsibility that comes with the appointment, the position is unpaid. According to Colonel Northrup, who was a flight surgeon for an F-16 Fighting Falcon squadron in Operation Desert Storm, money just isn't the point.

"It's something people do because it's the right thing to do," she said. "For a long time I've wanted to serve my profession in such a capacity. I was honored just to be asked."

(Courtesy of Air Force Reserve Command News Service)

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