The AOA Board of Trustees endorsed the creation of two pathways to board certification at its midyear meeting in February, paving the way for physicians who completed ACGME-accredited residencies to become AOA board certified.
In the near future, candidates will be given the choice of two initial certification options: To become board certified in the osteopathic practice of their specialty or to become board certified in their specialty only, taking an exam that embraces osteopathic medicine’s unique holistic thinking but doesn’t require expert-level skills in the principles and practices of osteopathic medicine.
‘Evolution of board certification’
“This evolution of board certification recognizes that there is no one way for a physician to provide excellent patient care. AOA is committed to being the professional home for all DOs and physicians who share our values,” said AOA President William S. Mayo, DO.
The Board’s promise to enhance board certification reflects the changing demographics of the profession, Dr. Mayo added. The new generation of physicians is seeking credible options for certification that aren’t limited by whether their residency training included an osteopathic focus.
Demand for certification options has grown, and the potential diplomate pool for initial and ongoing continuous certification is larger due to the single GME accreditation system. Offering two paths to certification is an opportunity to reach a broader market of DOs and to provide a certification choice for MDs as well, especially those trained in osteopathically recognized programs, Dr. Mayo said.
“Our research shows that for all physicians, board certification needs to be more flexible, and this recent American Board of Medical Specialties report corroborates the AOA’s findings,” he added.
Existing osteopathic specialty board certification exams will continue to validate clinical expertise in osteopathic principles and practice, Dr. Mayo said. Exams for both pathways will be developed by practicing osteopathic physicians and distinctive certificates will be awarded for each type of board certification.