Mission, Purposes and Functions

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The American Board of Dermatology exists to serve the public by setting high standards for dermatologists to earn and maintain Board certification. The American Board of Dermatology is a voluntary, non-profit, private, autonomous organization formed for the primary purpose of protecting the public interest by establishing and maintaining high standards of training, education and qualifications of physicians rendering care in dermatology. The objective of all of its activities is to provide assurance that a diplomate of the Board possesses and maintains the knowledge and skills essential for the provision of superior, specialized care to patients with cutaneous diseases.

During the first twenty-three years of its existence, the Board was responsible for the evaluation of residency training programs in dermatology. In 1955, this responsibility was assumed by the Residency Review Committee for Dermatology, a body established by the American Board of Dermatology and the Council on Medical Education of the AMA. Composed of four representatives from the American Board of Dermatology and four representatives from the American Medical Association and acting with authority delegated to it by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Residency Review Committee for Dermatology meets semi-annually to review and accredit training programs. Information concerning accredited dermatology residency and fellowship training programs may be found on the AMA sponsored Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA Online). Residency training in dermatology in Canada must be taken at institutions approved for such training by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The Program Requirements for Residency Training In Dermatology, is the official publication of the Residency Review Committee for Dermatology and is available for review on the ACGME website.

The Board carries out its purposes by:

1. Establishing requirements for post-doctoral training in Dermatology, Dermatopathology (in concert with the American Board of Pathology), Pediatric Dermatology, and Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology.

2. Participating, through the Residency Review Committee for Dermatology, in the accreditation of Dermatology, Dermatopathology and Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology training programs. 

3. Participating in the assessment and approval of fellowships in Pediatric Dermatology.

4. Monitoring the training of each candidate as documented in annual progress reports submitted by directors of residency and fellowship training programs.

5. Creating and supplying to program directors in dermatology an annual in-training examination used to monitor the progress of trainees.

6. Assessing the credentials of candidates who apply voluntarily for certification and maintenance of certification in Dermatology or subspecialty certification and maintenance of certification in Dermatopathology or Pediatric Dermatology.

7. Creating and conducting comprehensive examinations to determine the competence of physicians who meet the eligibility requirements for certification and maintenance of certification in Dermatology or subspecialty certification and maintenance of certification in Dermatopathology (in concert with the American Board of Pathology) or Pediatric Dermatology.

8. Issuing an appropriate certificate to those dermatologists who meet the requirements of the Board and satisfactorily complete the certifying and maintenance of certification examination in Dermatology, and subspecialty certification and maintenance of certification examinations in Dermatopathology and Pediatric Dermatology. 

9. Developing, conducting and monitoring maintenance of certification programs for the physicians who have been issued time-limited certificates in Dermatology, Dermatopathology and Pediatric Dermatology, and for diplomates with lifetime certification who elect to pursue voluntary maintenance of certification.

It is not the purpose of the Board to define requirements for membership on hospital staffs, or to gain special recognition or privileges for its diplomates in the practice of dermatology. The Board does not define who may or may not practice dermatology. It is neither a source of censure nor an entity for the resolution of ethical or medico-legal problems. However, the Board endorses the ethical principles enunciated in the Manual on Ethics in Medical Practice of the American Academy of Dermatology and recommends adherence to these principles in dermatologic education, research and clinical practice.

All queries concerning the requirements for certification or other matters with which the Board is concerned, should be directed to the Executive Director of the Board. In view of the nature and significance of the decisions made, communications between the Executive Director and the candidates should be in writing.

Contact Us

American Board of Dermatology
2 Wells Avenue
Newton, Massachusetts 02459
Office Hours: Mon-Fri,
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET
(617) 910-6400 (Phone)
abderm@hfhs.org

Our Mission

To serve the public and profession by setting high standards for dermatologists to earn and maintain Board certification.
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