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August 2015

The American Board of Surgery Maintenance of Certification ProgramBuilding on Past Successes

Author Affiliations
  • 1American Board of Surgery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA Surg. 2015;150(8):697-698. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2015.0885

Board certification began nearly a century ago by defining standards to recognize physicians who had developed specialized skills based on their training or experience. Since then, medicine has had the privilege of self-regulation regarding requirements for specialty practice, and certification by a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has become the de facto standard for physicians practicing allopathic medicine in the United States.

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) was established in 1937 by the leading surgical societies at the time for the purpose of certifying surgeons who had acceptable professional credentials, satisfied training requirements, and passed extensive examinations. As noted then, this was done “to protect the public and improve the specialty.”1 As new surgical specialties evolved under the purview of the ABS, such as pediatric surgery, vascular surgery, surgical critical care, and complex general surgical oncology, each specialty established their own requirements for certification, reinforcing the concept of self-regulation of our profession.

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