American Board of Family Medicine

1648 McGrathiana Parkway, Suite 550
Lexington, KY 40511-1247
Toll-free: (877) 223-7437

Family Medicine

Family physicians provide front-line health care that is accessible, high quality, comprehensive and continuous over time for people of all ages, life stages, backgrounds and conditions. They care for individuals and for entire families, from birth through the end of life, including a broad range of preventive care; healthy lifestyle counseling; mental health care; care of acute illnesses; management of chronic diseases, including patients with multi-morbidity. When needed, they also provide referral and coordination of care with other specialists.

Training required prior to initial board certification

Three (3) years

Board eligible period (+practice requirement)

Seven (7) years


Certification in one of the following subspecialties requires additional training and assessment as specified by the board.

Adolescent Medicine

A family physician who specializes in Adolescent Medicine is a multidisciplinary health care specialist trained in the unique physical, psychological and social characteristics of adolescents and their health care problems and needs.

Geriatric Medicine

A family physician with special knowledge of the aging process and special skills in the diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and rehabilitative aspects of illness in the elderly. This specialist cares for geriatric patients in the patient’s home, the office, long-term care settings such as nursing homes, and the hospital.

Health Care Administration, Leadership, and Management

A specialist in this area has the clinical background and comprehensive expertise in health care administration to manage administrative functions with high-level organizational impact. The specialist is dedicated to a patient’s experience and an organization’s effectiveness while working with stakeholders to improve professionalism/organizational culture and spearhead process improvement and patient safety. These leaders can serve in an executive health care management position, such as a C-suite executive, vice president, dean, or medical director in a hospital, health system, academic setting, or government agency.

Hospice and Palliative Medicine

A family physician who specializes in Hospice and Palliative Medicine provides care to prevent and relieve the suffering experienced by patients with life-limiting illnesses. This specialist works with an interdisciplinary hospice or palliative care team to optimize quality of life while addressing the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of both patient and family.

Pain Medicine

An family physician who specializes in Pain Medicine diagnoses and treats patients experiencing problems with acute or chronic pain, or pain related to cancer, in both hospital and outpatient settings and coordinates care needs with other specialists.

Sleep Medicine

A family physician with demonstrated expertise in the diagnosis and management of clinical conditions that occur during sleep, that disturb sleep, or that are affected by disturbances in the wake-sleep cycle. This specialist is skilled in the analysis and interpretation of comprehensive polysomnography, and well versed in emerging research and management of a sleep laboratory.

Sports Medicine

A family physician who specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating injuries related to participating in sports and/or exercise. In addition to the study of those fields that focus on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of injuries, Sports Medicine also deals with illnesses and diseases that might have effects on health and physical performance.

Lifelong learning requirements

  • Complete 150 CME credits of specialty-relevant CME every three years. A minimum of 75 of the 150 CME Credits must be AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.
  • Complete a minimum of one Self-Assessment Activity every three years. This requirement can be met from the successful completion of a Knowledge Self-Assessment (KSA) activity or by completing at least 4 quarters of the Continuous Knowledge Self-Assessment (CKSA) in each 3-year period. Successful completion of a KSA earns 10 ABFM points and 8 AMA PRA Category CME Credits™ and the CKSA is worth 2.5 ABFM points per quarter. Both activities can be accessed through the ABFM Physician Portfolio.
  • The Clinical Self-Assessment (CSA) is now optional. Successful completion of a CSA earns 5 ABFM MOC Points and 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. CSA’s are accessed through the ABFM Physician Portfolio.