About ABAM

The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) provides assurance to the American public that Addiction Medicine physicians have the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and treat addiction.

ABAM is the nation’s first medical specialty board that certifies addiction medicine physicians across a range of medical specialties. The board sets standards for physician education, assesses physicians’ knowledge and requires and tracks life-long education. It is an independent specialty board established in 2007.

Our Mission

The ABAM mission is to promote the training and certification of an expanding number of physicians in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of substance related disorders, in order to help address the enormous public health burden presented by tobacco, alcohol, and other substance use disorders and related conditions. Physicians from many medical fields specialize in addiction, and a formal training and certification pathway for them is essential, as the only current ABMS-approved specialty training pathway in addictions is offered through addiction psychiatry, which is open only to psychiatrists. Since many more physicians need to be trained in addictions to meet the pressing public health need, ABAM provides this pathway, and thus promotes the public welfare and contributes to the improvement of the quality of care in the medical specialty of addiction medicine; establishes and maintains standards and procedures for certification, re-certification and Transitional maintenance of certification; assesses physicians’ knowledge in the specialty, and, most fundamentally, certifies physicians in addiction medicine. One of ABAM’s goals is to gain American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognition for the discipline of addiction medicine, through collaboration with the ABMS and its member Boards. This recognition will become realized when the ABMS establishes a certification program for physicians in Addiction Medicine.

Who We Are

Certification by the American Board of Addiction Medicine Stands for the highest standard in Addiction Medicine, and has meant that ABAM-certified physicians have demonstrated – to their peers and to the public – that they have the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for the delivery of excellent patient care. It also indicates that an Addiction Medicine physician has met the clinical and educational criteria to be eligible to sit for a rigorous six hour written examination, and has successfully passed the examination. In order to maintain this certification, the physician must continue to participate in CME courses and other activities, and must periodically retake an examination to document that his or her knowledge and skills are up-to-date.

ABAM is governed by the ABAM Board of Directors, composed of (15) Directors. One (Specialty) Director is elected from each of the eight specialties that provide significant prevention of or treatment for addictive disorders: emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, preventive medicine and surgery. Seven At-Large Directors are elected without regard for their medical specialty, in order to provide special skills to ABAM and The ABAM Foundation and their Committees. Two of the At-Large Director seats are currently slotted for ASAM-certified physicians who are leaders within the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Our accountability is both to the profession of medicine and to the public.

Our Mission is to increase access to and to improve the quality of addiction treatment

ABAM offers a Transitional Maintenance of Certification program for its current diplomates and a public listing of physicians who hold active ABAM certification status. In March, 2016 the American Board of Medical Specialties formally recognized addiction medicine as a multi-specialty subspecialty. Future certification examinations in addiction medicine will be administered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.