Why Do I Need a Board Certified Doctor?
Board Certification by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) means your doctor has
made a commitment to meet high standards of patient care that requires participation in ongoing
practice improvement, knowledge assessment, professionalism and continuing education. This
means that your doctor keeps up with the latest advances in healthcare to meet the constantly
changing medical needs of you and your family.
As a family physician, your doctor is concerned with the total health care of you and your family
and is trained to diagnose and treat a wide variety of chronic and acute illness, as well as address
wellness and health promotion.
Your family physician receives a broad range of training that includes adult and pediatric
medicine, obstetrics and woman’s health, psychiatry and geriatrics. Family Physicians are trained in
both ambulatory and hospital care and many practice in emergency rooms and nursing homes.
Some hold extra training certificates in areas such as sports medicine, adolescent medicine,
geriatric medicine, sleep medicine, and hospice and palliative medicine.
What is the American Board of Family Medicine?
The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is the second largest medical specialty board
in the U.S. The ABFM was founded in 1969, and is a voluntary, not-for-profit, private organization
that seeks to:
• Promote excellence in medical care
• Assure the public of qualified family physicians who engage in life-long learning
• Support high standards in medical education and training in family medicine
• Evaluate family doctors that apply for and hold certificates in family medicine
The ABFM was the first medical specialty board to require recertification, or continual testing of
its certified doctors, and has required a significant commitment from its doctors in the area of
continuing medical education from the beginning.
The ABFM is one of the twenty-four certifying boards of the American Board of Medical
Specialties (ABMS) and is the only member board that certifies family doctors.
So, what is the ABMS?
ABMS is made up of the twenty-four recognized medical specialty boards in this country, and
certifies most of the doctors in the U.S. Doctors who obtain certification with ABMS boards must
meet high standards in education and clinical practice, must continually participate in maintenance
of certification, must take and pass ongoing tests of their medical knowledge, and must be fully
licensed to practice medicine in their local areas.
What is Board Certification?
To be board-certified, your physician must hold an unrestricted license to practice medicine
and have completed three years of specialty training in Family Medicine after graduation from
But it doesn’t end there. Your doctor has also successfully completed a series of additional
educational requirements within Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MCFP). ABFM
Maintenance of Certification, now required for all certifying boards of the ABMS, allows the ABFM to
continually assess its Diplomates. Additionally, as part of MC-FP, your doctor is required to retest
on a regular basis, and must participate in ongoing educational and continuous practice
improvement activities between exams. Doing this provides evidence to you that your doctor has
kept up with the latest medical knowledge. The ABFM was the first to have all of our certified
doctors participating in Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP).
To learn more about the ABFM, visit www.theabfm.org
American Board of Family Medicine, Inc.
1648 McGrathiana Parkway, Suite 550
Lexington, Kentucky 40511
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