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Professionalism, Professional Standing, and Professional Conduct Policy

Medical professionalism refers to the set of behaviors, values, and attitudes that are expected of physicians in their interactions with patients, colleagues, and society at large. It is medicine’s social contract with society. Professionalism encompasses a range of qualities, including empathy, integrity, respect, and accountability, as well as the ability to communicate effectively, work collaboratively, and maintain a high level of clinical competence.


Professional conduct, on the other hand, refers to the specific actions and behaviors that are considered appropriate and ethical for physicians. Physicians are expected to comply with the ethical and professional standards of care such as obtaining informed consent from patients, maintaining confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest, and upholding the principles of patient autonomy and beneficence.


Professionalism and professional conduct are both essential for ensuring that patients receive high-quality, safe, and compassionate care and play an important role in building trust between patients and physicians, and in maintaining the integrity and reputation of the medical profession. Conversely, the ABOG considers sexual misconduct and boundary violations to be unprofessional medical behaviors. These types of behaviors are considered egregious violations of ethical and professional standards for ABOG-certified physicians. Additionally, falsification of data submitted to ABOG, cheating, and collusion are considered evidence of blatant ethical, moral, or professional misbehavior. Therefore, each physician must maintain a good moral and ethical character and an untarnished professional reputation. The method of demonstrating professionalism, professional standing, and professional conduct is different for practice settings.


An ABOG diplomate is expected to act in patients’ best interests, take appropriate care of themselves, uphold the highest standards of professionalism and ethical behaviors, represent their ABOG certification and continuing certification status in a professional manner, be committed to evidence-based medical practice, and maintain competence through continuing certification.


As a measure of professionalism, professional standing, and professional conduct, ABOG relies on the rigorous periodic peer review of medical staff membership and state licensure. On an annual basis, the ABOG requires that its board-certified physicians:

  1. have an active, unrestricted license to practice medicine in any and all states or territories of the United States, District of Columbia, or Province of Canada in which the physician holds a current medical license;
  2. have documented evidence regarding the physician’s professional standing, good moral and ethical character, untarnished professional reputation and unsupervised, unrestricted hospital privileges in each hospital (if applicable) in which patient care had been conducted. For diplomates without hospital privileges, an attestation of professional standing must be completed by another ABOG diplomate in good standing;
  3. devote the majority of their practice to the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology;
  4. disclose any actions that the rules require be reported to ABOG.



It is each Diplomate’s responsibility to inform ABOG in writing within 60 days of any and all actions involving a medical license, hospital or other privileges, and credentials, including having their practice monitored. It is also each Diplomate’s responsibility to inform ABOG within 60 days of felony indictments, guilty or no-contest pleas, felony or misdemeanor convictions, or deferred dispositions as well as disciplinary or non-disciplinary actions taken by or agreements with an institution or other government agency including, but not limited to, Medicare/Medicaid exclusion, DEA registration, federal healthcare program exclusion due to healthcare fraud, or controlled substance license violation.


A physician’s license shall be deemed “restricted” if, as a result of final action by a State or other legally constituted Medical Board, the physician shall have (1) his/her license revoked or surrendered his/her license in lieu of revocation; (2) had his/her license suspended for a specified period of time or until specified conditions have been met and the suspension is no longer in effect; (3) been placed on probation and the probationary period had not expired; (4) been made subject to special conditions or requirements which are still in effect, (including, but not limited to, supervision, chaperoning during the examination of patients, additional training beyond that required of all physicians for the maintenance of licensure) and regardless of whether or not such conditions or requirements are imposed by order of the State Medical Board or are the result of a voluntary agreement between the physician and the State Medical Board (https://www.abog.org/about-abog/policies/revocation-of-diploma-or-certificate).


If the physician has had privileges restricted, suspended, placed on probation, surrendered or revoked, or has had any negative action taken by a hospital, medical facility, or healthcare organization, ABOG will review the material to determine whether the physician is eligible to participate in the continuing certification process. Conditions placed on hospital privileges are considered to be restrictions to the practice of medicine. In most cases, ABOG will require the physician to clear any and all restrictions and/or conditions in the hospital practice before being eligible to participate in the continuing certification process.


Physicians who must have their practice monitored in Focused Professional Practice Evaluation (FPPE) identified by Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluations (OPPE) processes will be reviewed by ABOG to determine if the required monitoring or proctoring represents restrictions to clinical practice.


ABOG requires documentation of the Physician Health Program if it is mandated by the state licensure board and/or hospital to determine whether or not there are restrictions to the practice of medicine.


Furthermore, ABOG is informed through the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and other appropriate sources about any medical board actions that are taken against Diplomates’ licenses to practice. The ABOG Credentials Subcommittee will review the professionalism, professional standing, and professional conduct of Diplomates who are the subject of such actions and determine if they are eligible to participate in the continuing certification process or if action against their certification is warranted.


Disqualification or Diplomate revocation may occur whenever the physician has had their medical license revoked or restricted, the physician has violated the moral and ethical standards of the practice of medicine accepted by organized medicine, the physician has failed to comply with the rules and regulations of the Board, or the physician has been convicted of a felony or has pled guilty to felony (https://www.abog.org/about-abog/policies/revocation-of-diploma-or-certificate).


In order to re-establish certification, physicians with a revoked certificate must submit a written request along with justification to the ABOG Credentials Committee and Board of Directors for consideration of allowing the physician to proceed with the process for re-establishment of Diplomate status.


Diplomates have the right to appeal a decision of revocation or not eligible to participate in the continuing certification process by writing to the ABOG Executive Director within 90 days of notification of the action that is being appealed (https://www.abog.org/about-abog/policies/appeals-for-issues-other-than-exams).  The letter must set forth in detail the specific grounds on which the appeal is based.


Policy approved in June 2023





The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) recognizes that patients have diverse gender identities and is striving to use gender-inclusive language in its publications, literature, and other printed and digital materials. In some instances, ABOG uses the word “woman” (and the pronouns “she” and “her”) to describe patients or individuals whose sex assigned at birth was female, whether they identify as female, male, or non-binary. As gender language continues to evolve in the scientific and medical communities, ABOG will periodically reassess this usage and will make appropriate adjustments as necessary. When describing or referencing study populations used in research, ABOG will use the gender terminology reported by the study investigators.   


Updated June 2021