The social contract between patients and society can determine medicine’s values and responsibilities in caring for the patient. The social contract is clearly articulated in medicine yet has frayed over the years, which has led to a loss of public trust. Aligning healthcare to support professionalism and value will ultimately support the social contract. ABFM created the Center for Professionalism and Value in Health Care in 2018 to work collaboratively on solutions to repair medicine’s social contract, working across a wide array of health care professions.

Standardized examinations help to assure the public that individuals entering a profession have the medical knowledge needed to provide professional services in that field. Since its founding in 1969, the American Board of Family Medicine has conducted several validity studies to verify that the content of the Family Medicine Certification Examination (FMCE) is representative of the specialty's ever-evolving scope of practice.

Research has shown high burnout rates among physicians, with consequences of quality of care delivered and the physician's own health. Linkages between organizational factors and physician burnout have been reported, but few have looked at correlations related specifically with practice type and ownership status. New research from the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) analyzed a possible association between burnout among family physicians and practice organization, ownership, and environmental characteristics of the practices in which they work.

We are pleased to provide you access to the October issue of the Phoenix newsletter. This newsletter is presented in PDF format and is available here.


New research has found that half of family physicians seeking to continue their ABFM certification in 2017 cited requirements by employers or hospitals among their reasons for participating in certification. However, only 17.3% report doing so solely because of such extrinsic motivators.

In response to a projected shortage of adult primary care physicians, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education accredited 26 new allopathic medical schools between 2002 and 2018. Many of these schools were built in response to national calls to boost specific provider types, in particular primary care, which the Federal Council on Graduate Medical Education suggested in its 2010 report should comprise 40% of the physician workforce.

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has selected Lars Peterson, MD, PhD as the 2019 James C. Puffer, MD/American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) Fellow. Dr. Peterson serves as the Vice President of Research at ABFM in Lexington, Kentucky. He has authored over 100 peer reviewed publications and made over 100 national / international conference presentations. Dr. Peterson is also an associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Kentucky, where he provides direct clinical care and teaches students and residents.


Ongoing research from the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) focusing on scope of practice for family physicians has produced a new article based on qualitative data about the challenges faced by family medicine residency graduates who were trained in maternity care and sought jobs that allowed them to include this in their practice.

The number of family physicians providing endoscopic services is significantly declining, according to a recent study. Researchers obtained data from physicians registering for the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) Family Medicine Certification Examination between 2014 and 2016. While rural family physicians performed these services more commonly than urban family physicians, the percentage of family physicians providing flexible sigmoidoscopies and endoscopies declined by almost half.

Family physicians training in the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in Lawrence, Massachusetts recently sought to better understand the geography, or “hot-spots” of their patients with food insecurity.

Family physicians with rural exposure during residency training or who graduate from stand-alone, community-based residency programs are more likely to provide broad scope care associated with better outcomes according to a recent study published in Academic Medicine. The study also finds that family physicians practicing in the Midwest and West provide broader scope than those practicing in the South and Northeast.

Thanks to a successful initial pilot year of FMCLA, we are pleased to announce that the pilot will be expanded in 2020. Family physicians who are currently certified and have their 10-year examination requirement due before December 31, 2020 will have the option to begin participating in the first quarter of 2020.

The ABFM is pleased to provide you access to the June issue of The Phoenix newsletter. This newsletter is emailed to all Diplomates four times per year (we no longer deliver copies via US Mail). This newsletter is presented in PDF format and is available here.

The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is pleased to announce the election of four new officers and three new board members.

There are a myriad number of measures in the field that attempt to assess aspects of primary care, but a recently developed and tested measure breaks new ground by combining experiences of patients, clinicians, and payers and allowing the most informed reporter--the patient--to weigh in on vital primary care functions that are often missed. Researchers asked crowd-sourced samples of 412 patients, 525 primary care clinicians, and 85 health care payers to describe what provides value in primary care.

The number of family physicians practicing maternity care has been declining over the past 20 years, with only 8% currently including deliveries in their practice. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has projected a growing shortage in the obstetric workforce.

Recent data shows a significant increase in the proportion of family physicians working primarily in rural emergency departments and an increasing number of family physicians working in urgent care centers.

The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is please to announce the selection of Andrew Bazemore, MD, MPH as its new Senior Vice President of Research and Policy beginning June 17, 2019. As Senior Vice President of Research and Policy, Dr. Bazemore's areas of focus will include leading the next phase of development of the ABFM research enterprise, co-leading ABFM's Center for Professionalism and Value in Health Care and coordinating and developing ABFM career development activities for ABFM Scholars, Pisacano Scholars and Puffer Fellows. In addition, he will help in developing and implementing national strategy to engage clinically integrated health systems on behalf of the family physicians they employ.
Andrew Bazemore, MD, MPH

The Larry A. Green Center for the Advancement of Primary Health Care for the Public Good was recently named a winner of the 2019 National Quality Forum (NQF) Annual Conference Innovator Abstracts Awards. Their work, presented as an abstract entitled A New Comprehensive Measure of High-Value Aspects of Primary Care, was selected as the winner in the Patient-Reported Outcomes category.

We are pleased to report that the final report of the Vision Commission has been published [PDF 655 KB]. This blue-ribbon report has provided recommendations, based on broad input, for the future of Continuing Certification.