The Origin of Physician Board Certification

Board Certification OriginPhysician board certification in the United States originated in the early 20th century as a means for identifying who was competent to practice particular specialties. Medical advances and scientific breakthroughs engendered a widespread desire by physicians to focus on specific aspects of medical care, rather than generalizing. As physicians gravitated toward specialization, more attention was paid to the means and methods for training specialists – and to ways a physician specialist’s qualifications might be objectively measured.

By the 1930s, the U.S. government and leading medical minds around the country recognized the need to standardize board certification on a nationwide basis, rather than state to state. There also was an acknowledged need for organized oversight of the various specialty boards that had begun to form around the country in order to ensure that the entire medical profession and the country’s citizens were best served. Formal board certification began to take hold. The medical profession took its first big step toward the industry as we know it today.

Much has changed since the early days of physician board certification. Yet, even as the concept of board certification has matured and evolved, the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) has maintained its position as an advocate for prioritizing patient care ahead of the business of medicine. Our mission and values have not changed. We manage and govern under standards of physician board certification that are as rigorous as any certifying body in North America, at all times furthering patient care, not only in the major cities, but in rural areas that are sometimes overlooked. Our allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) physicians place patients first and abide by the highest ethical standards. These include:

  • Integrity, trust, respect and open communication – Our organization and Diplomates conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity ensuring patient safety while providing for the highest level of care.
  • Sharing knowledge and best practices – Together, our board certified physicians strive to share experiences, learnings and best practices in order to advance the level and quality of patient care.
  • Advocating for the highest level of patient care – Our rigorous standards for testing and eligibility ensure that our physician Diplomates will provide the highest level of patient care.
  • Compassion – Our physicians demonstrate compassion in every aspect of their practice.

To learn more about physician board certification and the role played by the ABPS in the past, present and future, contact us today. The ABPS is the official multi-specialty certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.

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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.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine