The American Board of Family Medicine celebrated its 50 year anniversary this past weekend in Lexington, KY. The event commemorated the official start of the discipline in 1969 when the board began certifying general practitioners and resident graduates, and became specialists in Family Medicine.
I was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Family Medicine from 1986 until 1991, and was President during my final year. It was wonderful to reconnect with colleagues, many who I had not seen since then and, in some cases, we could hardly recognize each other any longer.
Family Medicine became a specialty through the efforts of a few visionary warriors. One of the most influential was Nicholas J. Pisacano, MD, who was the initial Executive Director of the Board. He insisted on the concept of recertification and required every diplomats to be decertified every 7 years with no possibility of “grandfathering”, even after taking the exam 5 or more times and reaching the age of 70 or more! The ABFM was the first board to require this, a practice that most other boards have since adopted.
I am proud to be a representative of the specialty of Family Medicine. I believe the practice of Direct Primary Care will continue to grow into a strong subgroup of the specialty.