Mediaplanet Education and Career News (10/01/18) Hawkins, Richard E.
Medical specialization enables physicians to become more skilled in a particular field, and board certification reflects the additional steps a physician has taken to become an expert in that specialty, writes Richard E. Hawkins, MD, president and chief executive officer of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). With more than three dozen specialties and 85 subspecialties today, medical specialization has seen significant growth in the last several decades. According to Hawkins, "Board certification requires extra training that can take anywhere from three to seven years," followed by an ABMS board-administered exam. "The fact that most doctors in the United States have chosen to become board certified speaks to its importance," notes Hawkins. In order to stay up-to-date, board-certified physicians can take part in a stringent program that measures their skills, judgment, and knowledge over the course of their careers. Doing so enables "board-certified doctors [to] show that they are meeting a national standard set by their peers not just in medicine, but in their specific specialty," Hawkins writes. He also stresses how important it is "for physicians to pursue the best training, commit to lifelong learning and continuous improvement, and practice at the highest level."