Newly formed IM certification board

September 12, 2011

Newly formed IM certifcation board

The American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM) was incorporated in 1996 to certify physicians through a psychometrically validated examination process, and have certified nearly 1500 physicians. The process of educating physicians through our Annual Review Course and our extensive Core Curriculum has established a grounding and common knowledge base for those seeking board certification in integrative holistic medicine. Over the last few years, the Board of Directors has proposed more stringent criteria for board certification in Integrative Medicine (IM). The path of all medical specialties and subspecialties, as they gain more widespread acceptance and growing professional acknowledgement, is to require formal training as one of the conditions of sitting for a board certification examination.

A number of educational institutions now offer fellowship programs in IM, and the leader in Integrative Medicine fellowship training has been the University of Arizona’s Program in Integrative Medicine. The ABIHM had previously approached the University of Arizona (U of A) to explore the possibility of board certification. Although the U of A was not ready to move forward at that time, they have now taken a leadership role in the formation of a new board to explore this opportunity, and they recently announced that they have contracted with the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) to develop a new board and certification process for those with formal IM training.

The ABPS and the U of A have invited several current ABIHM board members to participate in developing this newly formed organization. This new board, with membership derived from the leadership of academic IM programs from across the US, will meet for the first time on October 10th and 11th in Tampa, Florida. At this time the specifications for eligibility in this new certification process have not been created. An important goal of the ABIHM is to support our current active diplomats and to advocate for their eligibility in certifying with this new board. We recognize that the opportunity for certification of physicians without formal training in Integrative Medicine will end soon.

If you have questions or comments on this new development, please write to the Executive Director, Nancy Sudak, at

[Above narrative abstracted from Dave Rakel and Vic Sierpina from The American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine]