the ABOM story
Multiple studies have shown that obesity counseling rates have remained low among physicians over time. While multiple factors may contribute to this healthcare disparity, a key limitation identified is physicians’ insufficient training and low self-efficacy in weight management knowledge and counseling skills. There is a broad gap between guideline-recommended obesity care and physician clinical practice habits.
To address this need, the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) was established in 2011 to serve the public and the field of Obesity Medicine by maintaining standards for assessment and credentialing physicians. ABOM was formed through the cooperative efforts of the former American Board of Bariatric Medicine and the Certified Obesity Medicine Physician steering committee to create a single unified certification process. ABOM adheres to the highest standards from the Institute for Credentialing Excellence to ensure rigor of our certification and processes. ABOM certification signifies specialized knowledge in the practice of Obesity Medicine and distinguishes a physician as having achieved competency in obesity care. Physicians who complete the ABOM certification process are designated Diplomates of the American Board of Obesity Medicine (DABOM).
Since its inception, ABOM has seen a growing number of Diplomates and increasing numbers of physicians devoting clinical practice time to Obesity Medicine. A separate organization, the Obesity Medicine Fellowship Council, is working toward increasing the number of dedicated fellowship opportunities and communicates closely with ABOM. An ABOM-Certified Obesity Medicine Physician evaluates, treats and advocates for patients with the chronic disease of obesity and its related conditions. They accomplish this by delivering compassionate, unbiased, individualized, and evidence-based longitudinal care to enhance patient health and well-being, and improve the health of society.
One of ABOM’s key goals is to improve access to high-quality clinical services for patients with obesity by increasing the number of competent physicians that can treat this complex, chronic disease. When developing strategic plans, the board balances the potential benefits and consequences of its decisions on patients, current Diplomates, and the Obesity Medicine field with this goal in mind. While ABOM will continue to position the organization so that American Board of Medical Specialties subspecialty recognition may be an option in the future, board leadership aims to ensure that any decision made in this regard will be in the best interest of all stakeholders. Importantly, ABOM will maintain the highest standards in physician certification and will continue to enhance the recognition, legitimacy and prestige of Obesity Medicine.