American Board of Dermatology - What You Need to Know

Posted January 07, 2020
What you should know about the American Board of Dermatology

Medical standards in the United States are determined and maintained by a series of 24 medical specialty boards that form the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). These boards work together to establish and maintain common standards for doctors to achieve board certification as well as maintain their board certification status. Cosmetic Town is shining the spotlight on some of the most popular medical boards as they pertain to cosmetic surgery and the board-certified doctors that ensure the expert doctor articles on Cosmetic Town are medically accurate and up-to-date. This week, we take a look at the American Board of Dermatology and how they help patients that want more information about the field of dermatology including the procedures that fall into that category such as dermabrasion, chemical peels and microdermabrasion.

American Board of Dermatology Explained

In general, a dermatologist is a doctor that is trained to examine and treat patients with disorders of the skin, nails, hair and adjacent mucous membranes. In addition, a dermatologist can perform the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers, moles, melanoma and other skin tumors. They can also manage and treat inflammatory skin disorders, examine skin biopsies and manage cosmetic skin disorders such as scars, hair loss and changes to the skin that happen as a person ages.

Differences in Dermatologists

When it comes to dermatology, there are some differences that patients should be aware of when it comes to choosing a doctor:

  • Dermatopathologist – This is a doctor that is an expert when it comes to the microscopic diagnosis of skin diseases. This specialty includes the examination and interpretation of tissue sections that have been specially prepared, skin lesion smears and cellular scrapings by means of various types of microscopy.
  • Pediatric Dermatologist – A dermatologist that has been additionally trained to have expertise in the evaluation and management of skin diseases that are commonly, or even exclusively, found in children. Some examples of skin disease that are commonly found in children include any and all types of birthmarks, genetic skin diseases, pediatric infections or skin diseases in children with medical conditions that are complex enough to require coordinated multispecialty care.

Dermatologist Board-Certification Overview

When a dermatologist is deemed to be board-certified, it means the person has successfully completed an approved educational program as well as a thorough evaluation and examination that shows they have the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to provide the highest quality of patient care in this particular specialty.

While the requirements for individual medical specialties are determined by each individual medical specialty board, there are some general requirements that can be found in each medical board and some of them include:

  • The completion of any required training in an accredited residency program that is designed to train specialists in their chosen discipline
  • Completion of a course of study leading to a degree from a recognized school of medicine
  • Each candidate for board certification must pass examinations that are given by the specialty board.

In the past, there was not a time limit on the certifications so they did not have to be renewed. However, with the changes in medical technology and knowledge, current certificates are only valid anywhere from six to ten years. After the certificate is no longer valid, the diplomate must be recertified by the board. It should be noted that doctors that received their certification when there was not a time limit (1932-1990) do not have to undergo the recertification process.

The American Board of Dermatology certifies dermatologists that meet the required qualifications in dermatology, pediatric dermatology and dermatopathology.

American Board of Dermatology Directors

The American Board of Dermatology (ABD) is determined to assure high quality and safe dermatology care for medical patients by promoting and assuring that the standards of excellence set by the organization are followed and practiced by its board-certified members. According to its website, “The ABD is a voluntary, non-profit organization formed for the primary purpose of protecting the public interest by establishing and maintaining high standards of training, education and qualifications of physicians rendering care in dermatology.”

Overall, the ABD is composed of 17 Directors consisting of one Public Member and 16 dermatologists as well as an Executive Director, Associate Director, Assistant Director and 5 staff members. The directors serve a term of nine years once they are elected to the board.

Determining the Certification Status of Dermatologists

Patients that are curious about the certification status of dermatologist that belong to the American Board of Dermatology can find help online. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) posts both the certification and recertification status of all ABD diplomates on its Certification Matters website. The information on the website includes whether a diplomate with a certification that is time-limited is “meeting MOC requirements” such as all components of the MOC (Maintenance of Certification) being completed by December 31st of the previous year. According to the ABD website, “For purposes of public reporting, diplomates with time-limited certificates who are on track to enter MOC based upon their year of initial certification are considered to be participating in MOC. The ABMS will soon include a statement that diplomates with lifetime certificates are not required to participate in maintenance of certification.”



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