ABFM funds, conducts, and publishes research devoted to creating, evaluating, and maintaining cutting-edge certification methods, and to advancing the scientific basis of family medicine.


Established in 2012, ABFM’s research department 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.

5 Areas of ABFM Research

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. Supported by robust datasets, the department has been prolific in its research productivity.

The ABFM Research Team is based in both Lexington, KY and Washington, D.C., and includes clinical researchers, quantitative and qualitative investigators, as well as administrative staff. With diverse backgrounds among the team, their focus includes Measures That Matter for Primary Care, the integration of information technology into primary care, the impact family medicine certification has on the quality of care delivered by family physicians, and understanding the ecology of family medicine over time—what physicians do in practice and their contribution to high quality health care. Since 2012, the ABFM research team has published more than 400 articles in peer reviewed literature that address these topics.

ABFM is committed to advancing family medicine research by offering exceptional opportunities for scholarship and mentorship. These programs support individuals at various stages of their academic careers, including students, residents, early-career faculty, and established investigators. Scholars have the opportunity to collaborate with ABFM staff at their office in Lexington, Kentucky, for a one-to-two-week period. During their stay, participants immerse themselves in examining pivotal issues that shape the future of the discipline, gaining a profound understanding of the challenges and prospects in family medicine. The ABFM Visiting Scholars Program has attracted a diverse range of accomplished family medicine researchers from across the United States, many of whom have worked closely with ABFM staff to publish groundbreaking articles that contribute to the advancement of the field. Through these initiatives, ABFM continues to foster a dynamic community of scholars committed to driving innovation and excellence in family medicine research.

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