Member News – 1st Quarter 2018 Update

It is my honor and privilege to serve as your president for 2018. Now in its 26th year, the ABHRS is a respected organization with a growing, international membership. Today we are comprised of 229 Diplomates representing 29 countries. ABHRS Diplomates offer consumers the benefit of hair restoration services performed by physicians with the most respected credentials in the industry – worldwide. This didn’t happen by accident…it has taken years of planning and plodding and incredibly hard work by leaders within our membership together with an administrative team led from day one by our Executive Director, Peter Canalia.

Robert P. Niedbalski, D.O.

Your 2018 leadership team consists of an amazing group of ABHRS Diplomates – men and women from five different countries working hard for you, the membership.


2018 Executive Committee

President: Robert P. Niedbalski, DO
Vice President: Daniel G. McGrath, DO
Secretary: Sara Wasserbauer, MD
Treasurer: Sam Lam, MD

Executive Director
Peter B. Canalia – Indiana, USA

Director of Operations
Emily Valerius – Indiana, USA

Board of Directors

David Alpeter, MD – New York, USA
Konstantinos Anastassakis, MD – Greece
Bernardino Arocha, MD – Texas, USA
Timothy Carman, MD – California, USA
Steven Gabel, MD – Oregon, USA
Dr. Rana Irfan – Pakistan
David Josephitis, DO – Minnesota, USA
Dr. Shalini Malhotra – India
Bertram NG, MD – Hong Kong
Robin Unger, MD – New York, USA
Kenneth Williams, DO – California, USA

Your BOD is primarily responsible for the creation and administration of at least two unique oral and written certification exams (Certification Process) annually.  A monumental task in and of itself, there are many other important jobs to do as well:

  • Manage the finances of the ABHRS
  • Publishing and managing our website
  • Responding to ethical concerns within our membership and in the hair restoration community at large
  • Growing our membership
  • Recognizing trends in our industry that impact patient outcomes

Regarding the last bullet point, the BOD feels it is of paramount importance that we (the ABHRS membership) acknowledge and respond to a disturbing trend in our industry: FUE hair restoration surgeries being performed by unlicensed personnel. In many cases the physician involved may have little or no training in hair restoration surgery, but they purchase equipment and use the services of teams of technicians who essentially perform most or all of the surgery. The issue becomes one of transparency as well, because most of the time the patient has no idea the physician is not performing the surgery. Other instances involve experienced hair restoration physicians who use technicians to perform FUE graft excisions, so they can do other work at the same time. I am not referring to the legitimate use of properly licensed sub-providers such as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) or a Physician Assistant (PA). Every state, province and country where medicine is practiced will have regulations and laws stipulating who can legally perform these procedures.

What can we do about this? By focusing our resources on a public education campaign outlining the value of working with an ABHRS certified doctor, consumer demand for board certified hair restoration surgeons will increase significantly over time. Substantive changes will need to take place within the ABHRS in order to sway public opinion.

Sara Wasserbauer, M.D.

ABHRS Secretary and Written and Oral Exam Committee Chair Sara Wasserbauer regarding proposed changes to the certification exam: in order to elevate our status as the lone certifying board for physicians practicing hair restoration medicine, the ABHRS needs to continue pursuing ways to improve the quality and availability of the exams we administer. Although we currently publish our own exams twice a year which are independently statistically validated, we recognize the need to improve the capacity of the exam as

demand for ABHRS Certification increases.  We are considering proposals to contract with organizations such as the NBOME for further exam development to allow the exam to be administered on computers at conveniently located testing centers. This will drastically improve availability and access to those interested in becoming board certified in hair restoration medicine.

Daniel McGrath, D.O.

ABHRS Vice President and Ethics Committee Chair Dr. Dan McGrath regarding the ethical challenges facing our profession today: During the past year the ethics committee along with the board of directors has certainly had its hands full and we are striving to uphold the high standards that the ABHRS has come to represent. We have dealt with several issues ranging from the pirating of photos to false advertising just to mention a few. Our role is to evaluate each complaint and take appropriate action to ensure our members are adhering

to the ABHRS Code of Ethics (Code of Ethics). This applies especially to the unlicensed practice of medicine previously outlined in this newsletter. This is the driving force behind the proposed implementation of a public relations campaign to highlight the high ethical and practice standards of ABHRS Diplomates.

Sam Lam, M.D.

ABHRS Treasurer Sam Lam regarding the financial implications of these proposals: as treasurer this year, I have been very focused on making sure the ABHRS remains financially solvent and “in the black”.  Our only sources of income are annual member dues and administering the certification exam twice a year. Funding sustained improvements in the exams and a public relations campaign about the value of ABHRS Board Certification will require the development of additional financial resources.

We are proposing the establishment of a capital campaign with the goal of raising $100,000. This initiative has been successfully implemented by other similar organizations to provide a source of funding that will be sufficient to power the growth of this organization as outlined by your BOD. I will be detailing more on this initiative and how you can help make it a success in future newsletters.

Other business

  • Upcoming examinations – the next certification exams (oral and written) will be administered in conjunction with the 26th World Congress of the ISHRS at the Loews Hollywood Hotel (Examination Information ) on October 9th. The application deadline is June 1, 2018. Applications received after the deadline will be assessed a $250.00 late fee until June 30, 2018.  Applications received after June 30, 2018 will be considered for the 2019 examination. Please encourage your colleagues to take the exam – you know the value of being an ABHRS Diplomate!
  • Recertification Exam will be administered on October 10th at 6:00pm at the Loews Hotel in Hollywood, California (Recertification Examination). If you have not registered for this exam please do so at your earliest convenience.
  • Patient brochures are available to purchase for your practice for $39.99 for 100 plus a $6.65 shipping charge. These are a valuable tool to educate your patients on the importance and value of ABHRS certification.
  • FYI, Effective April 15, 2018 the ABHRS will no longer accept American Express for any financial transactions due to the costly fees ABHRS has to absorb.
  • Please keep the Administrative Office informed of any address, phone or email address changes.

So it looks like we have our work cut out for us this year and beyond. All these efforts are on your behalf and will require your participation to one degree or another. We can all do our part by adhering to the ABHRS code of ethics and continuing to educate our patients and local public about the importance of working with a physician who has gone the extra mile to become Board Certified in the specialty of hair restoration medicine.

I invite every member to reach out to your leadership team with questions or concerns. We are here for you!

Robert Niedbalski, D.O.
ABHRS President 2018

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