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Significance of Certification and Professional Behaviors

April 22, 2024

The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a founding member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties, has certified Obstetricians and Gynecologists for nearly 100 years. In addition to certifying specialists in obstetrics and gynecology, ABOG has certified subspecialists for 50 years in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Gynecologic Oncology, and Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Since 2018, subspecialty certification has been granted for Urogynecology and Reproductive Pelvic Surgery, formerly Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, and most recently, subspecialty certification was extended to Complex Family Planning. Certification is a voluntary process.  Successful certification indicates to the candidate, the specialty/subspecialty, and patients that the diplomate has achieved and maintained competency and that the diplomate has the knowledge, skills, and professionalism to practice medicine in their defined specialty and/or subspecialty.


The assessments that grant certification are established by appropriate specialty or subspecialty subject matter experts, are based on rigorous psychometric processes, and are continuously updated to reflect current medical practices in women’s health care. The assessments are not contemplated nor designed to assess competence in teaching, administrative capabilities, or other aspects of academic or organized medicine. Knowledge of research design and clinical implications is assessed at the level of the subspecialist. For details of topics assessed and where competence is demonstrated, please refer to the specialty or subspecialty blueprints and the process of development of such blueprints.


An assessment of supervision of others, such as mid-level providers, learners, or other certified and non-certified providers is not performed by ABOG, therefore, ABOG certification does not imply or carry the authority to express expertise in the supervision or certification of others. Any such certification or supervisory authority would be approved by the appropriate regulatory body.


A foundational principle of ABOG certification is professionalism. Professional behaviors are assessed by program directors and attested to for initial certification. Ongoing professionalism is assessed by ABOG through the continuing certification (MOC) processes. A core tenant of the ABOG professionalism policy includes proper representation of certification status and what that represents: acting in your patient’s best interest and behaving professionally with patients, families, and colleagues across the health profession.  Misrepresentation of board certification scope to areas outside of medical practice would not be consistent with ABOG’s professionalism standards.