The Vision Initiative is a collaborative effort that brings together multiple stakeholders to re-envision the future of continuing board certification. A Commission was formed to gather and consider input from those stakeholders, and to produce a set of recommendations. The Commission will lead the effort throughout 2018 and early 2019.
The Commission will focus on the process of continuing certification. In the course of that review and evaluation, suggestions for initial certification may arise and be considered.
While many ABMS Member Boards have sought and obtained helpful, constructive feedback on continuing certification from their membership, the Commission will invite comments from a broad cross section of the physician community, as well as a diverse number of stakeholders including: specialty medical societies, state medical associations, patients, the public, hospitals, health systems and related health care organizations.


The Commission includes representatives from the physician community as well as professional medical organizations, national specialty and state medical societies, hospitals and health systems, the general public, and other stakeholders. See the roster of members here.
The Planning Committee drafted the charge to the Commission, gathered initial feedback from multiple stakeholders, established the Commission, and developed a set of questions for the Commission to address.

The Planning Committee was comprised of representatives from the public, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Coalition for Physician Accountability, Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), and Council on Medical Education (CME) of the American Medical Association (AMA) as well as ABMS. The members were:

  • Jo Buyske, MD, ABMS/American Board of Surgery
  • Sandra Carson, MD, Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS)/American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Joyce Dubow, Public Member
  • Jack Evans, Public Member
  • Larry Green, MD, ABMS/American Board of Family Medicine
  • Thomas Hess, JD, ABMS Public Member
  • Lynne Kirk, MD, American Medical Association, Continuing Medical Education
  • Graham McMahon, MD, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
  • Thomas Nasca, MD, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
  • John Prescott, MD, Association of American Medical Colleges/Coalition for Physician Accountability
  • Stephen Wasserman, MD, ABMS/American Board of Allergy and Immunology
  • Steven Weinberger, MD, CMSS/American College of Physicians
  • Norman B. Kahn, Jr., MD, CMSS, ex-officio, Co-Chair
  • Lois Margaret Nora, MD, ABMS, ex-officio, Co-Chair
No, the Planning Committee performed their service for the Vision Initiative and no longer has an active role.
The representatives selected to serve on the Planning Committee represented a wide range of organizations committed to the preservation of professional self-regulation, and they believe in the important role that continuing board certification plays in the system of self-regulation. The process for the Commission will be open and transparent, with multiple opportunities for a wide range of stakeholders to engage in two-way communication that includes critiques as well as ideas for the future of continuing certification.


The three phases of the Commission will take approximately 12 to 15 months.
Long-term, the “visioning” of a continuing certification process that supports and fulfills the privilege of self-regulation will require about 12 to 15 months. That timeframe will allow ample opportunity to receive the necessary feedback and input from stakeholders impacted by continuing certification, properly analyze the data, and explore new frameworks for the process.
The Commission construct and process is designed to engage physicians, the public, users of the credential and other stakeholders in a collaborative, transparent, inclusive process that is rigorous, high quality and expeditious. The Vision Initiative has three stages:
  • Phase I – Building on previously obtained feedback, the Planning Committee identified the construct and membership of the Commission, and the Commission’s charge—the key questions for the Commission to consider.
  • Phase II – The Commission will hold public hearings, provide updates regularly, and test and seek feedback on concepts and ideas from patients, the public, and the full range of constituents in the health care community.
  • Phase III – The Commission will develop a set of recommendations regarding principles, frameworks and program models for a continuing board certification system that is meaningful and relevant to practice for physicians, and which helps to improve care for patients. The recommendations will be presented to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its 24 Member Boards for their consideration and implementation.


Upon completion of all three phases, the results of the Commission will help ABMS and the Member Boards:
  • Consider principles, frameworks and program models for the continuing board certification system that are effective, relevant, meaningful, contemporary and of value to those who depend on the credential of Board Certification
  • Build inclusive, candid and collaborative dialogue with all stakeholders across the community
  • Preserve the responsibility and privilege of professional self-regulation for the medical profession
  • Retain its commitment to serving the public through continuing certification
The actual recommendations will not be known until the Commission’s work is completed. However, progress reports, progress milestones, and concepts under consideration will be made public throughout the process, with a final report due for review by the 24 ABMS Member Boards in the first quarter of 2019.
As independent organizations, each Member Board will consider the recommendations and how best to implement them in a way that benefits both their diplomates and the patients their diplomates serve.
The ABMS Member Boards have already begun to pilot and implement many programmatic innovations and changes that have helped make the continuing certification process more practice-relevant and accessible, as well as less costly, for physicians. The recommendations from the Commission will support existing change underway as well as discover additional, powerful ways to further improve the process.
Continuing certification programs will remain in place under the current ABMS standards, and Member Boards will continue to innovate and create new initiatives to address the relevance, cost and burden.