The American Board of Family (ABFM) funds, conducts, and publishes research that is devoted to creating, evaluating, and maintaining cutting-edge certification methods, and to advancing the scientific basis of Family Medicine. This research enterprise was initially created in 2009 as a strategic initiative in partnership with the Robert Graham Center, which collaborated with ABFM in conducting this work. ABFM’s research department, which was established in 2012, conducts rigorous research to support the continuous evaluation of Family Medicine Certification (FMC) by assessing the psychometric validity of our assessment programs, exploring the relationship between FMC and the quality of care family physicians provide, and discovering ways in which ongoing certification can be improved. The research staff further support ABFM’s mission by discovering a clear understanding of what comprises effective, high value primary care.

Through collaboration with other individuals and organizations, ABFM seeks to understand the ecology of family medicine, including changes in workforce demographics and scope of practice over time, as well as the environment in which family physicians deliver health care. Other areas of research focus on how health care market forces, practice organization, social deprivation, and health care policy may impact a family physician’s ability to provide high quality care to their patients and community. Supported by robust datasets , the department has been prolific in its research productivity. Between 2010 and 2018, 181 articles that address these topics were published in the peer reviewed literature.

A key feature of ABFM’s support of family medicine research is the provision of opportunities for scholarship and mentoring for students, residents, early faculty and senior investigators, both at the ABFM office in Lexington, KY, as well as in Washington, DC. Scholars typically are on site for two-four weeks where they identify and study issues that matter for the discipline. Numerous family medicine researchers across the United States have participated in the ABFM Visiting Scholars Program and have published articles with ABFM staff.

Links to more detailed reports from the ABFM Research Department can be found by topic, below: