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Why My Board Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics is Important to Me

Catherine Avery Skinner, MD

Fellowship programs in family medicine obstetrics were created to address the shortage of physicians who have completed residency training in the specialty, a shortage that impacts rural areas in particular. Fellowships are renowned for providing rigorous, hands-on training, yet fellowship-trained physicians continue to face barriers to their professional development based on a lack of recognition for their expertise.

This situation is exacerbated as more healthcare organizations and insurance groups mandate board certification for physicians. That’s why the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) established the Board of Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics® (BCFMO). The BCFMO recognizes that physicians who practice the specialty provide full OB care as part of their family practices. Therefore, the BCFMO gives qualified practitioners an opportunity to show that they indeed possess the skills and knowledge to provide patients with the highest quality of care and treatment.

A Physician’s Experience with the BCFMO

Catherine Avery Skinner, MD, knows firsthand the value of certification through the BCFMO. “After finishing a fellowship in advanced obstetrics in 2004,” Dr. Skinner explained, “I joined a practice and shared call with both family medicine obstetricians (FM-OBs) and OB-GYNs. The hospital was very supportive of FM-OBs and I easily obtained privileges. Four years later, however, the OB-GYNs in my call group decided to obtain privileges at a second hospital. Unfortunately, the hospital administration decided that fellowship completion and years of surgical experience were not sufficient proof of my ability to provide excellent obstetric care. Thankfully, when I presented my board certification in family medicine obstetrics, they accepted it and granted me privileges in surgical obstetrics. BCFMO certification was instrumental in obtaining privileges at this second hospital.”

To learn more about how the BCFMO can help physicians expand their career opportunities, as it did for Dr. Skinner, whether through obtaining hospital privileges or employment, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists®.