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American Board of Obesity Medicine



ABOM logoRecently, I posted on the urgent need for more health professionals being educated in obesity management.

In this context, I invited Dana Rasis Brittan, the Executive Director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) to write about this important obesity education initiative. Dana completed her MBA at the University of Miami where she specialized in Management Science and Operations. She began her career in high-tech manufacturing working for companies like Agilent Technologies and Unaxis focusing on supply chain optimization.

The American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) was established through the cooperative efforts of the former American Board of Bariatric Medicine (ABBM) and the Certified Obesity Medicine Physician (COMP) steering committee in order to create a single unified certification process. The ABBMwas an independent entity that had been administering an examination in obesity medicine since 1997. Formally, the ABOM was established in 2011 to serve the public and the field of obesity medicine through the establishment and maintenance of criteria and procedures for examination and certification of candidate physicians who seek recognition of their accomplishments in obesity medicine. Physicians who complete the ABOM certification process in obesity medicine are designated Diplomates of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. The Board defines an obesity medicine physician as follows:

  • An obesity medicine physician is a physician with expertise in the sub-specialty of obesity medicine. This sub-specialty requires competency in and a thorough understanding of the treatment of obesity and the genetic, biologic, environmental, social, and behavioral factors that contribute to obesity.
  • The obesity medicine physician employs therapeutic interventions including diet, physical activity, behavioral change, and pharmacotherapy.
  • The obesity medicine physician utilizes a comprehensive approach, and may include additional resources such as nutritionists, exercise physiologists, psychologists and bariatric surgeons as indicated to achieve optimal results.
  • Additionally, the obesity medicine physician maintains competency in providing pre- peri- and post-surgical care of bariatric surgery patients, promotes the prevention of obesity, and advocates for those who suffer from obesity.

The ABOM consists of 12 board members, representing primary specialty boards from Internal Medicine, Family Practice, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics and Surgery. The current listing of Board members along with all relevant disclosures can be found at http://abom.org/board-of-directors/.

The written exam is a half-day exam consisting of 250 questions designed to assess the knowledge base and the cognitive and deductive skills of candidates. The Test Content Outline provides a listing of all the subject areas that may be covered on the exam. The Test Content Outline can be viewed at http://abom.org/wp-content/uploads/TestContentOutline.pdf.

Physicians must meet eligibility requirements in order to sit for the ABOM Certification Examination for Obesity Medicine Physicians.

Post-Fellowship Qualifications for Certification

  • A copy of each of the state, province or jurisdictional licenses in which the applicant currently practices medicine.
  • Proof of completion of U.S. or Canadian medical residency.
  • Active board certification in an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member board or osteopathic medicine equivalent (N/A for Canadian candidates).
  • A signed Declaration and Consent form.
  • Have successfully completed an on-site clinical fellowship with an obesity component where the fellowship director attests to at least 500 hours on the topic of obesity or obesity-related conditions.

Qualifications for Certification without Fellowship

  • A copy of each of the state, province or jurisdictional licenses in which the applicant currently practices medicine.
  • Proof of completion of U.S. or Canadian medical residency.
  • Active board certification in an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member board or osteopathic medicine equivalent (N/A for Canadian candidates).
  • A signed Declaration and Consent form.
  • A minimum of sixty (60) credit hours of continuing medical education (CME) recognized by the American Medical Association Physician Recognition Award (AMA PRA) Category 1 Credits on the topic of obesity are required for certification. At least thirty (30) credit hours must be obtained by participation and attendance at a conference. The other thirty (30) credit hours may be obtained by at-home CME activity. The sixty (60) credit hours can be completed within the thirty-six (36) months preceding the final application deadline. A copy of the applicant’sCME certificates should accompany the application.

The 2013 Certification Examination for Obesity Medicine Physicians will be administered December 7 – December 14, 2013 at Computer Based Testing Centers throughout the United States and Canada. There are 307 physicians registered to take the examination in 2013.

The ABOM is currently accepting applications for the 2014 Certification Examination for Obesity Medicine Physicians. The 2014 Certification Examination for Obesity Medicine Physicians will be administered December 6 – December 13, 2014 at Computer Based Testing Centers throughout the United States and Canada. Applications are due by September 15, 2014.

The following societies and organizations are supporting partners with the ABOM and provide endorsement and educational activities to their respective members:

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)
American Heart Association (AHA)
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)
American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN)
American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP)
STOP Obesity Alliance
The Cardiometabolic Health Congress (CMHC)
The Endocrine Society (ENDO)
The Harvard Medical School Department of Continuing Education
The Obesity Society (TOS)

If you have taken or are planning to take this exam, I’d like to hear from you.
@DrSharma
Edmonton, AB

6 Comments

  1. What is really needed is effective treatment, and your need for doctors would decrease. But the real solution is understanding the actual problem, and training the people to eat to manage satiation, not follow the modern prudent diet.

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  2. Thanks for blogging about this important organization Arya. It would be great to have a close relationship develop between ABOM and CON for Canadian physicians as achieving ABOM certification is the principle way for us to gain recognition as clinical obesity experts in Canada – particularly with the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Going through the process of obtaining certification required some disciplined efforts but it really results in the mastery of a wide breadth of knowledge in a very complex field.

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  3. I have looked into this certification test. I am sorry it is alot of money and little new knowledge. Providers only seek this exam in order to put the certification letters after their name. I even looked into membership at ASBP. Many of these physicians are not up-to-date regarding obesity treatment, they tend to teach physicians how to open clinics and order 800 calorie diets while prescribing HCG and B12 injections. It is a quick cash scheme.

    This is not the education future or current clinicians need. Real reform is needed!!

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  4. Did I miss the part about how a patient can find an ABoOM-certified doctor? Wonderful acronym, too.

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  5. I wish nurse practitioners could take this certification. I honestly think we would be a very valuable part of the team.

    There is such a need for specializatiom In this area. Many family docs are overworked and office visit time Is not enough and I rarely see it being addressed. I also don’t think dietitians are utilized enough.

    We need teams and clinics.I would start one if I could!! One that would be directed at health and patients outcomes and not dollars in my pocket.

    Please consider NPs as a possible solution to fill gaps. Message me if there is any interest in this. I am a primary care nurse practitioner.

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