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Position Statement on Focused Practice Designation

July 15, 2019 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney, 215-568-4000

The American Board of Surgery (ABS), having duly considered and discussed the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) category of Focused Practice Designation (FPD), takes the following position:

FPD can be appropriately used to recognize diplomates of the ABS who have focused their clinical practice in areas outside of standard ACGME-recognized specialties. These practice areas must meet certain standards of the ABS and ABMS that may be revised from time to time.

These standards include the following:

  • There exists a body of science that demonstrates that focused practice in this area benefits the patients and the public.
  • The practice is in an area included in the accepted scope of the ABS.
  • FPD is achieved through practice and not solely through training; formal training is permitted but not required.
  • There exists a specialty society that represents this community of specialists.
  • Societies will work with the ABS to develop initial entry requirements and assessment as well as continuous certification tools for designees.
  • There exists a minimum number of diplomates, this number to be established by the ABS from time to time, who are eligible for and committed to the designation.
  • Diplomates must maintain the associated primary or specialty certificate with the ABS.
  • There exists (or will be developed) a case registry or outcomes database pertinent to the specialty.

When these conditions are met, and workforce and finances permit, the ABS will support applications to the ABS for new areas of FPD.


About the ABS
  • The American Board of Surgery is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying individuals who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge in the field of surgery. Surgeons certified by the ABS have completed at least five years of surgical training following medical school and successfully completed a written and oral examination process administered by the ABS. They must then maintain their board certification through ongoing learning and practice improvement activities.
  • The ABS offers board certification in general surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, complex general surgical oncology, surgery of the hand, and hospice and palliative medicine. It is one of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.
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