Initial Certification / Residency

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    Advanced-Level Entry/Interprogram Transfers

    United States and Canada Programs may admit a resident into training with credit toward certification in the amount of 12 months or less for residents transferring from:

    • ACGME-accredited Family Medicine programs
    • other ACGME-accredited specialties
    • American Osteopathic Association (AOA) approved programs
    • Canadian programs approved by the College of Family Physicians of Canada

    Transfer/Advanced Placement notification will be facilitated through the online Resident Training Management System. However, some transfer/advanced placement appointments will require special attention, requiring prior approval from the ABFM. Appointments requiring prior approval include: requests for credit in excess of 12 months, transfers associated with the closing of a program, transfers involving hardship circumstances, and advanced placement credit for international training.

    Transfer/Advanced Placement credit may not exceed 12 months. The amount of credit normally recognized for each curricular area is listed below.


    TABLE 1—Maximum Amount of Transfer Credit
    Curricular Area Credit Curricular Area Credit
    Human Behavior/Mental Health 2 months Community Medicine 1 month
    Adult Medicine
       Critical Care (ICU/CCU)
       Womens Health
       Care of the Older Patient
    12 months
    1 month
    1 month
    1 month
    1 month
    Care of Neonates, Infants
    Children and Adolescents
    4 months
    Maternity and Gynecologic Care
       Maternity Care
       Gynecologic Care
    3 months
    2 months
    1 month
    Diagnostic Imaging and Nuclear Medicine 1 month
    General Surgery
       Genitourinary Disorders
       Disorders of the Eye,
        Ear, Nose and Throat
    2 months
    1 month
    1 month
    Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 1 month
    Musculoskeletal and Sports Medicine 2 months Practice Management 1 month
    Emergency Care 2 months Care of the Skin 1 month
    Neurology 1 month Anesthesiology 1 month
    Electives 3 months  


    If a physician is admitted into training at an advanced level, the Program must advise the Board through an entry in the Resident Training Management System of advance placement or transfer credits. If no record for transfer or advance placement credit is created in RTM, the Program must submit the appropriate information to the Board. The Board may subsequently alter the amount of credit if there is disagreement with the amount or type of credit awarded or additional information is received. Once a resident begins a program at a defined level with a specified amount of credit, no additional credit toward certification for previous training will be authorized.

    If it is the intention of the program to use a portion of a resident's previous ACGME, AOA, or College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)-accredited postgraduate education to meet residency program requirements while having the resident complete 36 months of education (e.g., applying the prior training to requirements to permit a greater amount of elective time), the program is NOT required to obtain authorization of credit from the Board.

    Should a program recruit a physician for an entry level G-1 position and the physician begins training at that level, the resident will be expected to complete the full residency program of 36 months regardless of the amount of prior training or the performance of the resident after entry.

    Transfer from one accredited Family Medicine residency program to another after the beginning of the G-2 year will be considered only when a residency training program closes or when there is evidence of the presence of a hardship involving a resident. A hardship is defined as a medical condition or injury of an acute but temporary nature, or the existence of a threat to the integrity of the resident's family, which impedes or prohibits the resident from making satisfactory progress toward the completion of the requirements of the residency program. In considering such transfers, the Board is concerned primarily with the requirements for continuity of care during the resident's second and third years of training as stipulated in the "Program Requirements." All requests must demonstrate the nature and extent of the hardship.

    Any change that has not been approved by the Board and is at variance with the requirement for continuity will place the resident's application for the Certification examination in jeopardy.

    Advanced-Level Entry/Interprogram Transfers: International Internationally-trained physicians with postgraduate training outside of the U.S. or Canada may be admitted to an ACGME-accredited Family Medicine program with advanced placement of 12 months or less. However, the program must obtain approval from the American Board of Family Medicine prior to the entry of the resident into training. Please refer to the general details described in the previous section.

    Under no circumstances will transfer credit in excess of 12 calendar months be awarded, and such credit, if any, will be restricted to the G-1 year of residency training in Family Medicine. The Board may award credit only for experiences which are equivalent to training in Family Medicine and only in the amount compatible with the "Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Family Medicine."

    The physician under consideration must have completed a minimum of three years of international graduate medical education beyond the receipt of the M.D. degree to be considered for any credit.

    Requests for transfer/advanced placement credit requiring special attention by the ABFM must include verifiable supporting documentation, including:

    • Licensure in the state, province, and/or country of practice
    • The medical school diploma (World Health Organization approved)
    • Documentation of internship and residency training or equivalent including a description of the clinical rotation schedule or the number of months of specialty training completed
    • Specialty and subspecialty certification
    • Receipt of a currently valid Standard Certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, or documentation of successful completion of a bona fide Fifth Pathway Program or demonstration of compliance with other ACGME requirements for entry into graduate medical education in the United States

    The Board reserves the right to limit the duration of the authorization of credit should the resident fail to enter training at the expected time.

    Physicians who are unable to provide all of the necessary documentation of their previous training and fulfill other requirements will be required to complete a full three years of ACGME-accredited residency training in Family Medicine in order to apply for certification.

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