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Integrative Medicine Goes Mainstream with Board Certification from the ABOIM

Integrative MedicineThe field of Integrative Medicine has grown in stature over the past decade, in part as a response to the perceived shortcomings of the healthcare industry in the United States. Andrew Weil, M.D., founded the field of Integrative Medicine and continues to be one of its most prominent advocates. Dr. Weil outlined the weaknesses of the current healthcare system in a 2012 interview with Philadelphia Magazine. In it, he said that health care in the U.S. is far too expensive; that it emphasizes disease treatment ahead of disease prevention; that it does not keep people well; and that it offers little incentive for people to take care of themselves.

The answer, Dr. Weil said, is Integrative Medicine. It is, he insisted, “the most practical way to transform our healthcare system and bring lower-cost, health-enhancing treatments into the mainstream for all to benefit from.” Indeed, so well-received were the principles of Integrative Medicine that departments specializing in the field were founded at prestigious universities such as the University of Arizona (the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine) and Duke University (Duke Integrative Medicine).

Now, the specialty has reached an important milestone in the evolution and maturity of the field. The formation of the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM), with inaugural board certification examinations scheduled for 2014, has created a benchmark through rigorous testing and eligibility standards. This development helped advance the field of Integrative Medicine to a new level of recognition and credibility within academic circles, as well as with the general public. Board certification with the ABOIM indicates that a practicing physician who specializes in Integrative Medicine has demonstrated a mastery of the knowledge and core competencies required to provide the finest medical care possible. Eligibility requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Completion of residency training in a program approved by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)
  • Current or past completion of board certification granted by the ABPS, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) Board

In addition, ABOIM applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Completion of an ABOIM-approved Fellowship in Integrative Medicine
  • Graduation from an accredited four-year naturopathic college
  • Graduation from an accredited National Certification Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) college
  • Graduation from an accredited Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) college
  • A combination of education and experience, including current ABIHM board certification, active practice of integrative medicine, Integrative Medicine in Residency training, and/or significant CME credits earned in integrative medicine

To learn more about the ABOIM, contact the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). The ABPS is the official multi-specialty board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.