Interview with the President of the Portuguese Sleep Association, Dr. Joaquim Moita

Dear Dr. Moita, what is the status of the accreditation procedures for sleep medicine experts? Can you explain how the procedure works?

In Portugal certification in Sleep Medicine Competency has been approved by the Portuguese Medical Association in June 2012. Physicians of some specialities have been certified for Sleep Medicine Competency in 2015, as godfathers, based on their curriculum vitae.
Afterwards, on a second phase, candidates must prove to have a level of expertise and knowledge on the sleep medicine area, based on a full 12-month training time in a sleep medical center before they are submitted to an examination. If their speciality had already a specific sleep training period, the 12-month training may be reduced. There are predetermined practical requisites, on clinical and laboratory sleep medicine practice, which have to be fulfilled for submission to examination for accreditation in sleep medicine. The first examination is being prepared.
Although the accreditation procedure has been upthrusted by Portuguese Sleep Association, it is now carried on by the Portuguese Association of Medical Doctors, namely by the College of Sleep Medicine Competency.

Is such an accreditation procedure planned only for physicians or also for other professional figures like psychologists, technicians etc.?

Certification has been implemented only for medical specialists until now, but the process for some other health professionals, as psychologists and technicians, is desired and we hope it will be on the way on a short time.

Do you also have an accreditation procedure for sleep centers?

There are several public and private sleep medicine centers across the country, although none of them is yet accredited. The accreditation for sleep centers is being prepared by the College of Sleep Medicine Competency.

Do you have accreditation procedures for centers with different characteristics (multidisciplinary, respiratory specific, pediatrics etc)?

Those specificities will be included in the accreditation procedures for sleep centers.

Is sleep medicine officially included in academic programs?

Sleep medicine have been more and more included in academic programmes, namely in medical schools.
Sleep education and sleep themes have been gaining great importance in student programmes of elementary or high schools.

Do you organize accredited sleep medicine courses?

We do organize sleep medicine courses, but they have not been accredited. Accreditation process of courses is not implemented in Portugal.

Are you working toward achieving the recognition of sleep medicine as a medical sub-specialty?

No, at this moment we are organizing sleep medicine as a competency, status that was recently conquered.

Is basic research in the sleep field represented in the Portuguese Sleep Association Society activities?

At the present moment it is not represented, but one of the aims of the Association is to include it. We are working to achieve it.

Thank you, Dr. Moita, for participating in this interview.

Lino Nobili