About the American Board of Medical Specialties

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As the leading organization for physician board certification, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) provides the expertise, insights and support to elevate the discipline of specialty medicine.

ABMS always is aiming higher. Through board certification, ABMS helps physicians demonstrate their competence and professionalism, support organizations in achieving their quality improvement and safety goals and offer assurance to the public that they are being cared for by specialists committed to their health and well-being.

The rigorous process of board certification is based upon specialty knowledge and guided by the science of adult assessment to expertly evaluate physicians’ knowledge, judgment and skills. Physicians who are board certified have completed accredited education and training. Through continuing certification, they establish a career-long commitment to learn the latest developments in their specialty and bring it to patient care.

Patients rely on their physicians to meet high standards. Patient focus groups and surveys continually show that they expect their physicians to stay up to date with advances in their specialty and to participate in ongoing assessment and learning. ABMS is committed to improve quality and safety in medicine. From physician assessment, to awarding board certification and providing certification verification — ABMS demonstrates its role in supporting the public trust.

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.

To fulfill its mission, ABMS relies on the collaborative work of a remarkable number of physicians, staff professionals and volunteers — serving on ABMS governance, within the 24 Member Boards, on ABMS committees, and through Associate Member organizations. All ABMS’ activities are driven by the desire to enrich the physician-patient relationship and further the developments in medicine and patient care. ABMS’ standards, programs and initiatives are continually evaluated to reflect advancements in medical science and technology and to back national public health issues.

Download the ABMS Aiming Higher brochure[PDF]

Aiming Higher. Making a Difference

The entire ABMS organization works together, raising the bar and aiming higher to preserve and maintain the value of board certification for physicians, professionals and patients. Here are just a few examples of how the combined activities of ABMS and board certified professionals are making an impact.

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On the COVID Front Lines

From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, board certified doctors have developed new ways to keep health care workers safe, opened temporary hospitals, and held patients’ hands. Some have been COVID-19 patients themselves.

Representatives from the ABMS Member Boards of Family Medicine, Pediatrics, and Anesthesiology discuss innovations in assessment that their respective boards have implemented.


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Supporting Physician / Organizational QI

The ABMS Portfolio Program supports health care organizations’ quality and safety goals, encourages physician and physician assistants (PAs) involvement in QI activities and offers continuing certification credit for the improvement work being done in practice. Read our Sponsor Spotlight series to learn the impact of the ABMS Portfolio Program at organizations across the nation.


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Facilitating Learning Through Assessment

This collection of videos explain how the CertLink®, technology platform combines longitudinal assessment and personalized learning in one process. With CertLink, ABMS certifying boards are providing a convenient form of assessment, customizable to physicians’ practice and interests, helping them to review their specialty knowledge and continue learning in their specialty.


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Inspiring the Research of Early-career Physicians

The ABMS Visiting Scholars Program positions early-career physicians and research professionals as active contributors to and future leaders in health care. Read our Scholars Impact series for reflections from ABMS Visiting Scholars on the impact of their experiences with the program and the continued value and resonance it is having in their lives.


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Working in Partnership with Physicians and Societies

Patrick Dolan, MD, Physician Champion for Quality at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, and Helene Brooks, Director of Strategic Alliances at the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), discuss how partnership and collaboration among clinicians, societies, and ABMS Member Boards can facilitate quality improvement.