What is the American Board of Medical Specialties

Established in 1933, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), is a not-for-profit organization made up of 24 medical specialty Member Boards, which acts as the pre-eminent entity overseeing the certification of physician specialists in the United States by certifying which Board officially represents that specialty.

The statement “board certified” can mean anything these days. Some “boards” provide “board certification” by just paying a fee so that an unscrupulous or poorly trained physician can say they are “board certified.” Usually such “boards” may have similar sounding names as the official ABMS certified board, but vary just enough to avoid prosecution by the official board and yet enough to give you the impression they are genuine.

Check that your physician’s board certification is with the ABMS board officially certified to represent the full training and qualifications of that specialty. (If that’s not the case, then go elsewhere.)With the most rigorous standards possible in the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians, ABMS recognized boards are the “gold standard” in physician certification.

Higher standards for doctors means better care for patients

ABMS works hard to assist its Member Boards in the development and implementation of educational and professional standards that are used to evaluate and certify physician specialists. With a focus on helping each member Board to establish and maintain rigorous expectations and standards for its certified professionals, ABMS protects the public.

Patients can be certain that a physician specialist certified by a Member Board of the ABMS has successfully completed an approved educational program and evaluation process which includes components designed to assess the medical knowledge, judgment, professionalism and clinical and communication skills required to provide high quality patient care in that specialty. ABMS also collaborates with the Member Boards to create lifelong learning standards. Doctors aren’t certified just once: they are expected to keep abreast of the latest practices and treatments in their specialty.

ABMS Member Boards

The 24 Member Boards of ABMS certify almost 800,000 physicians. The Member Boards evaluate candidates and certify those who meet the established educational requirements and peer evaluation standards as “diplomates” of that Board.

The twenty-four member Boards of the ABMS are:

  • The American Board of Allergy and Immunology
  • The American Board of Anesthesiology
  • The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery
  • The American Board of Dermatology
  • The American Board of Emergency Medicine
  • The American Board of Family Medicine
  • The American Board of Internal Medicine
  • The American Board of Medical Genetics
  • The American Board of Neurological Surgery
  • The American Board of Nuclear Medicine
  • The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • The American Board of Ophthalmology
  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • The American Board of Otolarynology
  • The American Board of Pathology
  • The American Board of Pediatrics
  • The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • The American Board of Preventive Medicine
  • The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • The American Board of Radiology
  • The American Board of Surgery
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery
  • The American Board of Urology

All others are imposters – so be warned!

Find out more about the ABMS on their website, http://www.abms.org.

Back to Articles