The Japan Society for Head and Neck Surgery (JSHNS) started a board certification system for head and neck surgeons in 2010. To become certified, the following qualification and experiences are required: (1) board certification as otorhinolaryngologist, (2) 2 years of clinical experience in a board-certified training facility, (3) clinical care of 100 patients with head and neck cancer under the supervision of board-certified faculty and (4) surgical experience in 50 major head and neck surgical procedures, including 20 neck dissections, under the supervision of board-certified faculty. The following scientific activities are also required during the preceding 5 years: (1) two clinical papers on head and neck cancers presented at major scientific meetings, (2) one clinical paper on head and neck cancer published in a major journal, (3) attendance at two annual meetings of JSHNS and (4) enrolment in three educational programs approved by JSHNS. The qualifying examination consists of multiple choice tests and oral examinations. A total of 151 head and neck surgeons were certified in 2010 followed by 43 in 2011 and 34 in 2012, while the membership of JSHNS dramatically increased from 1201 in 2007 to 1748 in 2013. Although the board certification system for head and neck surgeons was started only recently, it has encouraged many residents and fellows as well as established head and neck surgeons. We believe that this system will contribute to further advancement in the clinical practice for head and neck cancers in Japan.
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