What is Board Certification and Why It is Important When Finding an Integrative and Functional Medicine Physician?
Medical doctors, M.D.’s or D.O.’s are granted a medical license after completing medical school, an internship, a residency in their chosen field plus any extra educational requirements.
In addition, and is more important is Board Certification within a specialty. A Board-Certified physician has completed extensive specialty training. They then qualify for a written examination and an oral board examination. These examinations cover all areas of a specialty in the smallest detail. The examinee must pass both parts of the examination process to earn their Board Certification. Additionally, every 10 years this individual must Re- Certify.
Medical doctors who train in Integrative Functional Medicine must be board certified in another specialty such as Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Anesthesiology, Family Practice, etc., to be accepted into one of two training programs in the USA. On an average it takes a doctor 2-5 years to complete the Integrative Functional medical training. This is a new field of medicine where individualized research on a patient leads to finding route causes of disease.
Board Certification (ABAARM) is awarded to M.D./D.O.’s who complete the written and oral exam and submit the required documents (case studies, diploma, license, etc).
Diplomate Certification (ABAAHP) is awarded to allied health practitioners (RNs, NPs, PharmDs, etc) who complete the written exam and submit the required documents (diploma, license, etc). The oral exam is not required for allied health professionals.
Board Certification acknowledges that that physician or medical professional listed above has achieved the highest level of knowledge and competency. These doctors etc. are truly experts in their field. Note that not all doctors attain or maintain specialty certification(s).
Highlighted Requirements for Board Certification:
- Graduated from a medical school: M.D., or D.O.
- Having completed an Internship and Residency training program from 3-12 years. Providing patient care under the direction of faculty or attending physicians that are board certified.
- Holding a valid state medical license
- Documenting a list of patient cases in their specialty
- Clearing all local and federal background checks
- Passing a written and oral board examination
Also consider the following when choosing a Board Certified Physician:
If asked I will suggest a doctor and I always choose a doctor I know personally to be board certified, excellent in knowledge, skills, and patient care.
When choosing a doctor, I also recommend considering online patient reviews. Also, if possible, to talk to actual patients about the doctors’ care. Find out how many patients the doctor has treated for the illness or disease. Does the doctor stay current with research? Ask if the doctor networks by reaching out the national colleagues to gather more research information for difficult cases.