Approximately 28 million reproductive-age women in the United States live in rural counties, yet over half of rural counties do not have an obstetrician/gynecologist. Family physicians play an important role in providing obstetric care in rural communities, with hospital based obstetric services often relying on the ability to offer cesarean sections. A recent study by the American Board of Family Medicine found that 6.7% of family physicians provided obstetric deliveries and 1.6% provided cesarean section deliveries as the primary surgeon.

Last year, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) announced plans for a major revision of the accreditation standards for Family Medicine residencies. Since then, the major family medicine organizations have collaborated to inform the work of the Family Medicine Review Committee and ACGME as they prepare to define the requirements that will outline the training guidelines to prepare future family physicians. This is a historic opportunity to rethink health care and residency education.

As 2020 comes to an end, we have some very important news to share for the coming year. The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is joining with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and five other organizations, representing more than 400,000 primary care physicians nationwide, to take a stand and advocate for major reform in primary care payment and regulation. Together, we are promoting this stance and its supporting evidence with the incoming administration and other policy makers, health care administrators, employers, payers and patients.

The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is pleased to announce the election of Kameron Matthews, MD, JD, FAAFP to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Dr. Matthews currently serves as Assistant Under Secretary of Health for Clinical Services and Chief Medical Officer at the Veterans Health Administration in Washington, DC and was previously selected as the NAM’s 2018–2020 Puffer/ABFM Fellow. The 90 new NAM members and 10 international members were named during its annual meeting October 19.

The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) has been awarded a 3-year cooperative agreement by the HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to measure the use and potential burdens experienced by office-based physicians. ABFM and the Center for Clinical Informatics and Improvement Research (CLIIR) at UCSF are partnering to provide ONC with national-level data on how office-based physicians use health IT, including key measures on interoperability and burden.

In an ongoing effort to improve value in certification activities, the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is revising its Performance Improvement (PI) activities, as defined in its Strategic Plan 2019–2025.

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has selected Rita Hamad, MD, PhD as the 2020 James C. Puffer, MD/American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) Fellow. Dr. Hamad serves as associate professor and as Director of Social Policies for the Health Equity Research (SPHERE) program in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is committed to a broad and sustained strategy to address the challenge of health equity. Pervasive health disparities in the U.S. and around the world have been amplified by the COVID pandemic and following the murder of George Floyd, underscoring a legacy of racial injustice. The ABFM’s mission and vision include a goal of “Optimal health and health care for all people and all communities that family physicians serve,” as outlined in its 2019 Strategic Plan.

The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), founded in 1969, commemorated its 50th anniversary in 2019 by hosting a celebration and symposium in Lexington, Kentucky. Attendees and speakers at the symposium included present and past ABFM board members, leaders from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its member boards, and other organizations such as the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). The purpose of the symposium was to initiate a dialogue around key components of the future of board certification.

For the first time in over 10 years, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) plans to develop a major revision of the Family Medicine Residency Guidelines. The ACGME Family Medicine writing group, led by Stacy Potts, MD, will convene in the late fall of 2020, with the formal process beginning in early 2021. A major revision provides a rare and important opportunity for the specialty of family medicine–convening conversations across the specialty and bringing forward substantial evidence to bear, while coordinating with the ACGME through the process.