Notice: Fall 2017 exams affected by natural disasters... More >

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ABIM knows that we have many physicians whose lives have been upended by recent natural disasters. If you live or work near an affected area, we understand that the weather may have impacted your ability to take your Fall 2017 exam as scheduled. We have developed a series of options to help you get through this process as smoothly as possible. If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-441-ABIM (2246) or email request@abim.org.

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Initial Certification indicates that physicians have met rigorous standards through intensive study, accredited training and evaluation and that they have the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for the delivery of excellent patient care.

MOC is a professionally determined standard that attests that an internist is staying current in knowledge and practice throughout his/her career.

For more than 75 years, Certification by ABIM has stood for the highest standard in internal medicine and its 20 subspecialties.

Research Training Specifics

As research training in both internal medicine and the subspecialties changes to conform more closely to societal needs, the training of basic scientists and clinical investigators must be preserved to ensure continued discovery and scholarly application of knowledge to patient care.

Scientific inquiry and innovation are hallmarks of the research physician, and the range of research undertaken today is wide and varied. From its perspective ABIM anticipates that the careers of physician researchers increasingly will evolve in two directions, one focusing on basic patient-oriented research (the basic scientist) and one focusing on applied patient-oriented research (the clinical investigator). Although the training for these two research roles includes several unique components, both require a substantive curriculum and comprehensive research experience.

The Basic Scientist

Training of the basic scientist mandates a rigorous and varied curriculum in addition to standard clinical training. The curriculum for the basic scientist requires in-depth study of a basic science (e.g., cell biology, molecular biology, physiology, human genetics or pharmacology), and its methods of inquiry.

The curriculum requires skill development in the application of:

  • Research methods
  • Information and data management
  • Statistics
  • Experimental design
  • Grant and manuscript writing

In addition, the curriculum should foster an attitude of inquiry and altruism based on legal and ethical principles. Methods of education for the basic scientist include:

  • Formal course work leading to a PhD degree or equivalent advanced degree in the field of investigation (if not already acquired)
  • Experience working under a research mentor in a modern research laboratory
  • Completion of investigative work which applies research methods of modern biology to elucidate the mechanisms of human disease, its treatment or other advancement in the science of medicine

The Clinical Investigator

Training of the clinical investigator mandates a rigorous and varied curriculum in addition to standard clinical training. The curriculum for the clinical investigator requires an in-depth study of the fundamentals of one or more of the following fields:

  • Clinical epidemiology
  • Genetic epidemiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Behavioral sciences
  • Medical economics
  • Medical outcomes
  • Public health or health systems research

Also essential is learning the legal and ethical principles involved in studies on humans. Furthermore, the curriculum should be designed to develop the trainee's skill in:

  • Experimental design, implementation and reporting of clinical studies
  • The use of sampling methods
  • The concepts of sample size
  • Analytic methodology
  • Statistical methodology
  • Grant and manuscript writing
  • Expertise in working with institutional research boards

Finally, the curriculum should foster an attitude of inquiry and altruism based on ethical and legal principles. Methods of education for the clinical investigator include:

  1. Formal course work leading to a master's or a PhD degree (e.g., MPH, master's in clinical research, etc., if not already acquired)
  2. Experience working under a research mentor in a modern research setting which involves the use of providers, patients or materials obtained from patients in the investigation of various aspects of disease and where the foci of the research are on the patient, provider or system and at the bedside, in the clinic or in the community
  3. Completion of investigative work which applies the research method of the field to the evaluation of either new mechanisms or new treatments of disease or the advancement of the practice or science of medicine