ABOG Revises Definition of Obstetrician and Gynecologist and Clarifies Certification

For Additional Information Contact:
The Margulies Communications Group
(214) 368-0909

Dallas, Texas (January 30, 2014) – Today the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) published a revised definition of an obstetrician and gynecologist and clarified information about certification and maintenance of certification.

The major changes from the document published in November 2013 eliminate the requirement that ABOG-certified Diplomates treat only women and that they devote at least 75 percent of their practice to Obstetrics and Gynecology. Under the revised policy, Diplomates "must devote the majority of their practice to the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology."

"This change recognizes that in a few rare instances board certified Diplomates were being called upon to treat men for certain conditions and to participate in research," said Dr. Larry Gilstrap. "This issue became a distraction from our mission to ensure that women receive high quality and safe health care from certified obstetricians and gynecologists."

The new definition states: "Obstetricians and Gynecologists are physicians who, by virtue of satisfactory completion of an accredited program of graduate medical education, possess special knowledge, skills and professional capability in the medical and surgical care of women related to pregnancy and disorders of the female reproductive system. Obstetricians and Gynecologists provide primary and preventive care for women and serve as consultants to other health care professionals."

ABOG cautions that this new definition and certification policies are not an endorsement for board-certified Diplomates to practice in areas outside of their specialty stating: "The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology does not and cannot attest to the knowledge, judgment, skills, and qualifications of Diplomates related to practice outside of the scope of the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology."

"We continue to believe that because board certified Diplomates make up less than five percent of our nation's practicing physicians, they can best serve patients by focusing on a practice based on their specialized training and knowledge," said Dr. Gilstrap.

The ABOG certification process is voluntary and distinct from state licensure, which is the minimum required by law to practice medicine and is not specialty-specific. "The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology certification does not confer upon any person any degree or legal qualifications, privileges or license to practice Obstetrics and Gynecology. The privileges granted physicians in the practice of Obstetrics and Gynecology in any hospital or other healthcare facility are the prerogative of that facility, not of the ABOG."

The new definition and statements about certification can be found in their entirety at www.abog.org

About the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology

The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology is an independent, non-profit organization that certifies obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States. Founded in 1927, the ABOG is one of 24 specialty Boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The ABOG examines and certifies more than 1,700 obstetricians and gynecologists and subspecialists in maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, gynecologic oncology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery each year. Additionally, more than 28,000 physicians are participating in ABOG maintenance of certification programs.