About the American Board of Medical Specialties

Aiming Higher bannerThe American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is an independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1933 to set professional standards for physician practice and board certification. ABMS and its 24 Member Boards are aiming higher to improve the quality of health care by elevating the discipline of specialty medicine through board certification.

Patients and their families place an extraordinary level of trust in their physician specialists. They expect their physicians to meet high standards. Through board certification, physicians retain that trust by demonstrating they are keeping their knowledge current to provide the best possible care to their patients.

At the heart of board certification is an ongoing assessment process, helping physicians identify areas for further study and connect with resources to refresh their skills throughout their career. This continuous focus on assessment and learning helps board certified physicians drive advancements in medicine to diagnose, treat and prevent illness, disease or injury — bringing the highest standards of care into the practices and health systems where they work.


The mission of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is to serve the public and the medical profession by improving the quality of health care through setting professional standards for lifelong certification in partnership with Member Boards.


Download Aiming Higher brochure PDFThe ABMS mission is realized by helping physicians achieve their potential as providers of quality health care in one or more of the 40 specialties and 87 subspecialties offered by an ABMS Member Board. Working with the Member Boards, ABMS is always evolving and advancing our standards to keep the more than 900,000 ABMS Member Board certified physicians practicing at the forefront of medicine.

We invite others who value the ABMS certification framework to work with us in connecting physician specialists with discipline-specific learning modules, patient safety programs, quality improvement activities, and other educational and practice-based initiatives to support their professional development.

Looking ahead, we continue to work toward the promise of higher standards and better care. In doing so, we are creating an environment of better-informed communities, highly competent specialists and quality health care.

Download the ABMS Aiming Higher brochure[PDF] (best viewed in Adobe Acrobat).