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The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is a non-profit physician-led umbrella organization for 24 of the 26 approved medical specialty boards in the United States. It is the largest voluntary-based physician specialty certification organization in the United States with over 750,000 US physicians having achieved certification by one or more of its 24 medical specialty boards (officially referred to as the "Member Boards" (see below). These Member Boards certify specialists in about 145 specialties and subspecialties.[1]

The ABMS was established in 1933. It works closely with the Member Boards to set educational and professional standards for the evaluation and certification of physician specialists. The Member Boards certify specialists in numerous specialties and subspecialties through a comprehensive process involving educational requirements, professional peer evaluation and examination. ABMS also works in collaboration with other professional medical organizations and agencies to set rigorous standards for graduate medical school education and accreditation of residency and training programs. The ABMS is governed by a Board of Directors that includes a representative of each of the 24 Boards, 3 Public Members, its officers (Chair, Vice Chair, and Treasurer) and its President/CEO.

The leadership at each Member Board is made up of certified specialists in the particular field represented by that board. Board members may include teachers in the specialty, those with specialized training or skills in the specialty or subspecialties represented by the board, and from among those who have demonstrated the expertise, motivation and ability to assist in evaluating candidates who wish to become board certified.

The ABMS is currently led by Dr. Kevin B. Weiss as its President and Chief Executive Officer, and Dr. Joel DeLisa is the current Chair of the Board of Directors.



The concept of a specialty board was first proposed in 1908 by Dr. Derrick T. Vail in his presidential address to the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. The purpose of which being, to define specialty qualifications, to supervise examinations that test the preparation of those who desire to practice and to issue credentials that would assure the public of the specialist's qualifications. Up until that time, there was no way to confirm that a physician claiming to be a specialist was indeed qualified. The idea was well received and soon other areas of medicine began forming their own boards.

At a June 1933 conference, the active specialty boards to date (Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology, Dermatology and Obstetrics and Gynecology) and the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the American Medical Association, the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals and the National Board of Medical Examiners agreed to create the Advisory Board for Medical Specialties to oversee the examination and certificaiton of specialties as conducted by the specialty boards. From 1933 to 1970, the Advisory Board operated as a federation of individual specialty boards. In 1970, the membership voted to reorganize the Advisory Board as the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)as it is known today. [1]

Member Boards

Year approved as an ABMS Member Board in parentheses.

See also


  1. ^ About ABMS Member Boards American Board of Medical Specialties Accessed December 2009

External links



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