BCFMO Diplomate Jonathan Sticca, MD, Explains Why He Became Board Certified in Family Medicine Obstetrics

Jonathan Sticca, MDThe practice of obstetrics has been linked with the specialty of family medicine since the origin of the specialty. For decades in the modern healthcare era, we provided a large percentage of the prenatal care, deliveries, and postpartum care for mothers and their newborns. While obstetrical training is still a mandatory requirement for board certification in family medicine, programs in many areas of the country are seeing delivery numbers dwindle and many residents choosing to not offer obstetrical care after training.

Certainly, there are parts of the country where the community does not require primary care physicians to provide this service.  However, there is a significant portion of the country, particularly much of rural America, where communities are in dire need of providers well-trained in obstetrical care.  Women are often required to travel distances of 75-100 miles or more to see their obstetricians. These communities are caught in a literal “catch-22” when it comes to having access to obstetrical services.  Their local providers lack either training and/or support to provide obstetrical care, and yet their patient volume isn’t high enough to support a full-time OB/GYN.  The result is a drastic shortage of access to quality obstetrical care for women in rural communities.

These were the reasons I chose to pursue extra training in obstetrics after residency, and to obtain board certification in family medicine obstetrics from the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS).  I first learned of the ABPS and the certification offered through its Member Board, the Board of Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics (BCFMO), during the beginning months of my fellowship.  No one I worked with at the time had heard of the certification process, so I looked into it and decided it would be a worthwhile endeavor.

Certification through the BCFMO offers a unique opportunity to primary care providers. Those who pursue added training in obstetrics still struggle with credentialing, even in areas of critical need.  With no unified process for verification of training offered by other boards, many providers must endure long and drawn-out processes to verify their competency and capabilities. This is what drew me to BCFMO certification.  The certification process is specific, deliberate, and rigorous.  It provides two clear-cut tracks for providers to gain certification: either via fellowship training or copious clinical experience.  It requires a definite minimum number of both cesarean and vaginal deliveries to become certified, and also requires physicians currently credentialed in operative obstetrics to attest to their competency. Combined with a written and oral board exam, these requirements guarantee that physicians who obtain BCFMO certification have done the work to gain the cognitive and technical abilities required to provide obstetrical care. Those who become certified in family medicine obstetrics are willing to stand before their peers and be tested in order to ensure their level of competency.

Access to healthcare has improved greatly in this country over the last decade. However, much work still needs to be done. This is no more apparent than in the lack of access to local obstetrical care in many rural communities. Having just obtained BCFMO certification myself, I would recommend the process to any primary care physician who wants to provide obstetrical care to their patients.  It provides a solid path to verify training and competency, and gains them entry to a community of like-minded individuals who are committed to promoting the practice of obstetrics in family medicine and ensuring that we provide the best care possible.

Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine