December 17th, 2011 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »




The ABIHM was incorporated in 1996 with a vision to establish and maintain the highest standards of medical care, ignite and sustain the joy and passion of physicians in their work, establish the role of unconditional love as the basis of healing and support, and to recognize the importance of the health of the planet as integral to human health. Since 2000, the ABIHM has provided the only peer reviewed, psychometrically validated certification process in comprehensive integrative holistic medicine to over 1600 Diplomates.


When the ABIHM was incorporated, educational opportunities in integrative holistic medicine were scarce. The past 15 years have brought tremendous growth to the field, and training programs in integrative medicine now abound. Many residency programs are offering integrative opportunities, and fellowship training programs in integrative medicine are becoming increasingly available.

The leader in the integrative medicine fellowship arena is the Universityof Arizona(U of A), whose directors have initiated a relationship with the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) to develop a new board of integrative medicine. For more information about the ABPS, please see The ABIHM has been invited to participate in the development of the new board, as have a number of representatives from academic institutions. Many have historically inquired about the possibility that board certification in integrative medicine might be recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Both the ABIHM and the U of A have explored this prospect, and all indications are that the ABMS is not interested in recognizing such a specialty. The ABPS is currently officially recognized in 33 states, and it is our hope that more state medical boards will rapidly follow suit in recognizing the ABPS.

It is important to explain that the new board plans to require a fellowship level of training as a prerequisite for board certification. The number of required hours has yet to be determined.  However, at least during the first few years that the new board exam is offered, the fellowship requirement will be waived for active Diplomates of the ABIHM.  Nonetheless, ABIHM Diplomates who wish to pursue certification through the ABPS will need to sit for the new exam.  For ABIHM Diplomates who do not wish to undergo ABPS certification, the ABIHM intends to continue to offer its maintenance of certification process into the foreseeable future.

The ABPS anticipates offering the new certification exam as soon as 2013. Therefore, the ABIHM plans to stop offering its certification exam after January, 2013 (though these dates are not fully established). The ABIHM will offer the certification exam several times over the next year, as a means to offer more robust opportunities for those who do not wish to pursue a fellowship to become certified by the ABIHM and/or to be forgiven the fellowship requirement by the ABPS, should they wish to sit for the new exam:

  1. January 22nd, 2012, at the conclusion of the Scripps Natural Supplements Conference inSan Diego (paper and pencil exam);
  2. May 7th-18th, 2012; this is a computer based exam offered in 200 cities within theUSA andCanada;
  3. November 2nd, 2012, following the ABIHM/Scripps Annual Review Course, The Science and Clinical Application of Integrative Holistic Medicine inSan Diego (paper and pencil exam)
  4. January 28th-February 9th, 2013; computer based exam

The ABIHM supports the development of the new board as a natural progression of the work we have done over the past 15 years to establish the standard for knowledge in integrative holistic medicine. We see the new board as part of the evolution toward a higher and more broadly recognized standard, and we are proud to be a part of the process.

Feel free to contact our office by phone at 218.525.5651 or email at if you have questions about these plans. Please recognize that while we have described the current nature of the situation accurately, the process is still under development and subject to change.


Yours sincerely,

The Board of Directors of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine



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