MSL Board Certification (MSL- BC®)Elevating the MSL profession through higher standards of professionalism, competence, and industry recognition.
The Medical Science Liaison Society is developing the first-ever professional certification for Medical Science Liaisons.
The MSL-BC® (Medical Science Liaison – Board Certified) is a voluntary process whereby an individual may earn a time-limited credential after validation of their ability to meet predetermined standardized criteria for the profession.
Why the Medical Science Liaison – Board Certification (MSL -BC®)?
The Medical Science Liaison – Board Certification (MSL-BC®) is an effort to set industry-recognized standards for the MSL profession. By providing a test-based assessment and affording them a credential, individuals can prove their industry knowledge and skill set to their employers and peers, enabling career advancement and improving their overall contribution to the lives of patients whom their valued expertise ultimately impacts.
“A certification is often confused with a certificate, which is often promoted as certification. However, there are key differences between them. The primary purpose of a certificate program is to simply provide training. In contrast, the primary purpose of the MSL certification will be to assess and evaluate one’s acquired knowledge, skills, and competencies related to the Medical Science Liaison role. Another key difference is that unlike a certificate program after one passes the MSL certification, they will be awarded a professional designation that will be recognized and used to highlight their certified status. Furthermore, unlike a certificate program, which is typically a one-time training event, the MSL certification will have routine requirements over time which must be met to maintain the credential.”
Dr. Samuel Dyer, CEO, MSL Society
Certificate vs. Certification: What’s the Difference?
According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), certificate programs and certification programs are designed to meet different needs. The following table from their website lists the main differences between the two programs. The MSL-BC® credential is a Certification Program as outlined in the right column in the table below.
|Assessment-based Certificate Program||Professional or Personnel Certification Program|
|PURPOSE: Build capacity and recognition of a specialty area of practice or set of skills||PURPOSE: Recognize professionals who meet established knowledge, skills, or competencies|
|Provides instruction and training (non-degree granting)||Assesses knowledge, skills, and/or competencies previously acquired|
|Goal is for participants to acquire specific knowledge, skills, and/or competencies||Goal is to validate the participant's competency through a conformity assessment system|
|Assessment is used to evaluate mastery of the intended learning outcomes; linked directly to the learning event||Assessment is best used to assure baseline competencies and to differentiate professionals; independent of a specific learning event|
|Assessment content may be narrower in scope||Assessment content is usually broad in scope|
|Awards a certificate to recognize mastery of the specific learning outcomes; it is NOT a certificate of attendance or participation, which is awarded to individuals who have attended or participated in a course or training program but did not have to demonstrate mastery of the intended learning outcomes||Awards designations to recognize achievement|
|To earn accreditation, complies with the ICE 1100 Standard and follows the ACAP application procedures||To earn accreditation, complies with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs and follows the NCCA application procedures|
Those from the MSL community involved
in the development of the MSL-BC ®
Developing a professionally recognized certification program is an enormous undertaking which requires a great deal of planning and preparation to ensure program success. In an effort to create a credible and valid certification program, the MSL Society conducted a “Job Task Analysis” meeting with multiple global MSL leaders who volunteered their expertise. During this meeting, the volunteers met to identify and agree upon the knowledge, skills, and abilities which MSLs will be required to understand in order to become Board Certified.
Samuel Dyer, PhD
Chief Executive Officer, Medical Science Liaison Society
Avery Ince, MD, PhD
VP, US Scientific and Medical Affairs Strategy Lead, Janssen
Linda Traylor, PhD
VP, Clinical Development & Medical Affairs, Biodesix
Arthur Chan, PhD, MBA
Lead Medical Director, Novartis
Donna Holder, PharmD
Director, Executive Director, GMA Field Medical Center of Excellence, Merck
Ralph Rewers, PharmD
US Medical Science Liaison Head, Abbvie
Belinda Gist, PhD
Director, Medical Affairs Learning & Development, Kite a Gilead Company
Ellen Shannon, PhD, RN
US Head of Medical Affairs, Valneva
Scott Thompson, MS
Managing Partner, Acceleration Point
Mike Abbadessa, PharmD
Former Sr. Director of Management & Operations, Takeda Pharmaceuticals / Currently CEO, OPX Insights, Inc.
Kumaran Krishnan, MBA
Associate Director MSL and Digital Transformation, Teva
Judi Vensak, MBA
Field Team Medical Director, CSL Behring
Dan Anderson, PharmD
Former Team Lead, Nephrology RMLs, Amgen / Currently Retired
Cherie Hyder, PharmD
Medical Excellence & Operations Leadership Medical Affairs - Biohaven Pharmaceuticals
Melody Davis, PhD
Managing Partner - Versant Learning Solutions
Elizabeth Kupferer, PhD
Regional Director, MSLs - Novartis
Leona Hamrick, DHSC, PA-C
Medical Science Liaison, Veracyte
Deborah Profant, PhD
Associate Director, Managed Care MSL, Jazz Pharmaceuticals
Rita Zambelas, MSN
Associate Director, Medical Affairs, Amicus Therapeutics
Tiama Chaar, PhD
Medical Science Liaison, Sanofi Genzyme
Bernadett Mamone, PhD
Senior Medical Science Liaison, Eisai
Josh Yoder, PhD
Medical Science Liaison, uniQure
Daniela Divlianska, PhD
Medical Science Liaison, Novocure
Value of Certification
The MSL-BC® is the golden seal of excellence within Medical Affairs and the MSL community.
The MSL-BC® establishes an industry standard of professionalism and sets the standard for quality for MSLs globally.
By committing to becoming an MSL-BC® professional, you are promoting a higher level of professionalism, validating your competence by successfully meeting eligibility requirements and successfully passing a psychometrical validated certification exam, you’ve dedicated yourself to quality standards and have elevated yourself above your peers.
When Can I Apply?
The MSL Society is working to finalize development and anticipates the official launch of the MSL certification program soon.
MSL Certification Development Timeline
The MSL Society conducted the first phase of a Job Task Analysis (JTA) initiative to identify specific job duties and requirements for MSL professionals. Utilizing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the field, as well as expert guidance from a Psychometrician employed by a professional testing organization, we met in person to create a content outline for the certification examinations by means of thorough consideration and identification of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that an individual in the field of medical science should demonstrate regardless of employer type, therapeutic area of concentration, or geographic location. The JTA is a process which contributes to test validity by ensuring that the critical aspects of the job become the domain of content which the test measures. During this first phase of the JTA, a list of job-related tasks was generated and refined.
Phase two of the JTA involved validation of the list of job-related tasks defined in phase one, by a broader group of SMEs representative of the overall occupation through a validation survey process. Individuals who participated in the survey indicated whether or not they agreed that each job task listed is actually used in the field, as well as whether the listed activities are important to the job, and how frequently they are conducted as part of the job. After survey responses are received and the survey was closed, the data was carefully analyzed by a group of SMEs to determine what the examination should specifically measure with regard to on-the-job competency areas, which were then built into the examination program’s test specifications.
The MSL Society hosted two back-to-back in person meetings where in the first session SMEs wrote the actual questions that will be used for the official MSL certification examination, based on the feedback of the validation survey, and the second session was to review the newly written questions. Both meetings resulted in the creation of what is referred to as an Examination Blueprint.
Exam Question Webinar Review:
Following the Item Review meeting, a 3-hour webinar was held with those in attendance of the Exam Question Writing and Review Meetings to review and approve the final MSL-BC® exam questions.
May 2018 - July 2019
Learning Management System:
The last step has been a lengthy process to identify and develop the technology to administer the exam. We began working with Crowd Wisdom, an LMS developer to develop the software to support the MSL-BC® for online live proctored exam. This was completed in July 2019 and we are now launching the pilot program.
July 2019 - November 2019
A total of 68 MSLs and MSL leaders from 8 countries completed the exam under the same conditions as expected on the official exam. The exam was proctored remotely and live through ProctorU. Participant backgrounds included a wide range of years of experience, varying levels of education, and represented pharma, biotech, medical device and other healthcare companies.
Standard Setting Score:
The Standard Setting Study was conducted on November 8, 2019 and led by a psychometrician with a group of MSLs and MSL leaders who had previously participated in either the Item Writing or Item Review Meetings. During the Standard Setting Study, all items on the examination were systematically discussed and evaluated based on the typical minimally qualified candidate which ultimately determined the final passing score.
first-ever professional certification for MSLs and MSL Leaders