Recertification: A Tale of Good Intentions but Lots of Strife

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is the largest of 24 certifying boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and currently certifies approximately 25% of all physicians in the United States.1 The ABIM was founded in 1936, and in December of that year offered its first certifying written examination in Internal Medicine. In later years, the ABIM offered certifying examinations in various subspecialties of medicine. Since its foundation, the mission of the ABIM has been “to enhance the quality of health care by certifying internists who demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for excellent patient care.”1 In particular, from its beginning, the ABIM strove to reassure the public that a board-certified internist is a well-trained and competent internist.

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