The Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) Accepts Applications from Family Medicine-Trained Physicians with EM Experience

Board of Certification in Emergency MedicineDr. Alex Beuning of the Mayo Clinic has family medicine in his blood. According to Dr. Beuning, his grandfather “was an old fashioned doctor who did it all, from delivering babies to removing a colon tumor or infected gallbladder.” With the goal of serving a small community just like his grandfather, Dr. Beuning chose family medicine for residency training after graduating from the University of Minnesota Medical School. Following residency, he accepted a full-spectrum family medicine position in Bloomer, Wisconsin – a rural city with a population of just a few thousand people. Seemingly, Dr. Beuning was on the exact career path he had originally chosen, that of being a family medicine practitioner in a rural setting.

That all changed when his rural hospital in Bloomer merged with Luther Midelfort and, subsequently, the Mayo Clinic. The greater availability of specialists to residents of Bloomer that these consolidations created was undoubtedly a welcome development. However, as Dr. Beuning explains, “emergency care for Bloomer residents could not as easily be outsourced to emergency medicine specialists.” Staffing limitations, combined with other factors such as locum tenens physicians of varying competence, negatively impacted Bloomer residents in need of high-quality emergency care. This led Dr. Beuning to embark on a slightly different career trajectory. In his view, becoming a practitioner of emergency medicine is a natural transition for any doctor with extensive training and experience in the field of family medicine. This is especially true for family doctors in rural environments, where a scarcity of emergency medicine specialists often compels family doctors and other generalists to step in and provide emergency care services. After seeking additional training, Dr. Beuning became a regional emergency department medical director, an advanced airway course director, a rural critical care course instructor, a state trauma surveyor, and the medical director of the Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant Emergency Medicine Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic.

Unfortunately for Dr. Beuning, the American Board of Medical Specialists would not allow him to become board certified in emergency medicine. That is when he turned to the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) and its Member Board, the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM). While adhering to stringent ABPS standards, the BCEM offers a meaningful way for qualified physicians to demonstrate their proficiency at providing emergency care to patients. Those who wish to obtain board certification through the BCEM must have completed residency training in emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatric medicine, or general surgery. In addition, primary care-trained physicians must have practiced emergency medicine for a minimum of 7,000 hours during a five-year period, or have completed a BCEM-approved emergency medicine graduate training program. Complete eligibility requirements can be found at

Doctors like Alex Beuning who transitioned into emergency medicine after beginning their careers in a different specialty benefit greatly by becoming board certified through the BCEM. Along with being able to demonstrate their mastery of the specialty, BCEM-certified physicians enjoy better job opportunities, higher compensation, and greater familiarity with ever-changing emergency medicine standards. Their patients benefit as well through enhanced clinical outcomes and knowing from the outset that their physicians have completed rigorous testing in the specialty they practice.

Contact the American Board of Physician Specialists today to learn more about the many benefits of becoming board certified through the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine. The ABPS is the certifying body for the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.

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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