Creating a New Generation of Doctors

Woman having consultation with female physicianIn the early 1990s, Dr. Andrew Weil, a board certified, Harvard-trained physician was faced with a dilemma. For years, he had seen firsthand the value of treating his patients holistically, working to not only address existing injuries and illnesses, but also attempt to prevent avoidable conditions that tend to develop later in life. This was the origin of Integrative Medicine, which today is one of the fastest growing, most sought after medical specialties in the healthcare industry. Integrative Medicine, under Dr. Weil’s tutelage, takes a unique approach to patient care by combining the best practices of traditional, complementary, and alternative therapies to deliver the best possible health outcomes for the patient. However, the growth of Integrative Medicine didn’t happen overnight. First, Dr. Weil needed to train a new generation of health professionals who understand integrative medical philosophy. And so, in 1994, he opened the nation’s first Integrative Medicine program at the University of Arizona.

As Dr. Weil explains, his goal was to develop a curriculum in Integrative Medicine that would begin to introduce young physicians to a new way of thinking about medicine. While countless so-called “complementary” and “alternative” medicine techniques had long been popular among the American public, much of the mainstream, traditional healthcare community had been slow to embrace them. Integrative Medicine, on the other hand, prioritized identifying the best possible, least invasive treatment available for the patient, leaving the door open to any potential approach that could deliver the patient the results they required.

Integrative Medicine Keeps Growing in Popularity

According to the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, “Integrative Medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.” The goal is to find the ideal treatment plan for each patient. Since the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine opened, a new generation of physicians have been trained in the use of not only traditional medicine but also alternative therapies as well. As Dr. Weil explains, while the program in Arizona was the first to offer formal training, today “more than one-fifth of all medical schools in the United States” have an Integrative Medicine program.

The ABPS Offers Integrative Medicine Board Certification

At the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we were approached by Dr. Weil to discuss validating the expertise and experience of Integrative Medicine physicians through a formal, standardized board certification process. As a result, we developed the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM®) – the nation’s first Member Board dedicated exclusively to providing board certification in this high-demand specialty.

Eligibility Requirements for Board Certification With the ABOIM

To be eligible to apply for initial board certification in integrative medicine, an applicant must first satisfy the general requirements of the ABPS. These include being a graduate of a recognized U.S., Canadian, or international allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine, and holding a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, or Canada.

The ABOIM has its own eligibility requirements that include:

  • Completing an ACGME- or AOA-accredited residency or a residency accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) or the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)
  • Current or previous board certification granted by a Member Board of the ABPS, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the AOA, the RCPSC, or the CFPC
  • Completing an Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health-recognized Fellowship in Integrative Medicine
  • Submitting a current curriculum vitae that includes medical school, degrees earned, and work experience, in chronological order

Once applicants are deemed eligible, they must pass a computer-based written exam to earn board certification in integrative medicine. You can find more information about the application process here.

If you are part of the new generation of physicians trained in best practices of Integrative Medicine, contact the ABPS to learn about becoming board certified through the ABOIM.

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