Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct

This component of Family Medicine Certification (FMC) is designed to assess professional standing, which you will demonstrate continuously as a board-certified family physician. ABFM has published Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct, (hereafter Guidelines) which spell out the requirements for fulfillment of this component. All currently certified Diplomates, as well as any family physicians seeking certification, are subject to these Guidelines which speak to the expectation of personal conduct, medical licensure, and general adherence to the standards of professionalism.  Specific requirements can be found in the Guidelines; below is a summary of the expectations:


This component emphasizes the importance of demonstrating moral, ethical, professional, and competent behavior.  You may be deemed in violation of the Guidelines if you misrepresent your ABFM Diplomate or Board Eligibility status, or if you have been involved in fraudulent activity, cheating or attempting to subvert an ABFM Family Medicine Certification Examination. For a more detailed description of the professionalism requirement, see the Guidelines.


As a board-certified family physician, you must be in continuous compliance with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct.  According to the Guidelines, to obtain and maintain certification, a physician must either (1) hold a medical license which is currently active, valid and full in the United States, its territories, or Canada, and the physician should not be subject to any practice privilege limitations in any jurisdictions in the United States, its territories, or Canada, or (2) qualify to select and actually select the status of Clinically Inactive and hold either an Unlimited License, or a Qualified Clinically Inactive Medical.  Compliance with the Guidelines applies to any location in which you currently hold or previously held a medical license, regardless of whether or not you are practicing in the state, territory, or province.  For all details related to the licensure requirement, a complete review of the Guidelines is advised.


The tenets of personal conduct refer to the primacy of being responsible to your patients, first and foremost, as well as maintaining respect for the law. Violations of personal conduct requirements are determined based upon criminal and/or related conduct and failure to timely and properly respond to ABFM inquiries about professionalism or licensure actions. For a more detailed description of the personal conduct requirement, see the Guidelines.

Authority to Revoke Certification

ABFM reviews any professionalism or personal conduct violation as soon as we are made aware of any potential violation of the Guidelines.  Once reviewed, we retain the right to revoke certification in the event a Diplomate is found to be noncompliant with the Guidelines.

Physician's Responsibility to Report

It is your responsibility to inform ABFM in a timely manner of any potential concerns related to your compliance with the Guidelines.  This includes any change in your licensure status or any breaks in continuous compliance with ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct. Should you have any questions about your compliance with the Guidelines, a written inquiry should be made to ABFM through an email to [email protected] or postal mail.

Additionally, ABFM regularly reviews the American Medical Association Disciplinary Action Reports and performs individual physician records requests with the Federation of State Medical Boards to ensure that all medical license actions are captured.