Posts for: August, 2011

By drmereau
August 11, 2011
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

As we come upon the 1 year mark of becoming board certified (both docs!) I want to take the opportunity to explain the distinction.  

Board certification is when an individual in a field of specialty has met specific specialized educational requirements in that field of interest, have shown their specific medical knowledge through written and oral examination, and have demonstrated a practical standard of competency in that area of specialization.  It is a rather long and arduous process, and any podiatric physician who has been certified by a particular board has passed the rigid standards of qualification and examination set forth by that particular board of examiners.  


1. All physicians need to be board certified to legally practice medicine. They don't.  Board certification is an extra level of achievement beyond school, residency and licensure.

2. Board certification is the same as passing the provincial or state licensure board.  It's not.  The board certification exam process is much more strenuous--and it's an optional one.  Only those physicians who wish to demonstrate interest and achievement in a certain field attempt to achieve board certified. 

3. All boards offering board-certification are the same.  They're not.  In fact, there may be several boards that offer board certification.  But only those boards that are recognized by their professional association are seen as credible by that profession.

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) only recognizes one surgical board:    To read more about what the APMA has to say about Board Certification

                                                                                                                                                                                                           The American Board of Podiatric Surgery -Offering 2 certifications: one in Foot Surgery & the other in Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle Surgery

What Is The Board Certification Process?

The board certification process varies somewhat with each medical discipline, and it has evolved over time.  But today, for podiatric medicine, the process begins after getting your doctorate, and proceeds as follows: 

1.  Completion of a particular type of residency training that is recognized by the board of examiners.
2.  Next, the candidate undergoes a rigorous and comprehensive written examination carefully constructed by professional examiners to maintain the highest standards.  This exam tests the academic and clinical knowledge that is necessary to achieve certification. 
3.  Once the candidate passes the written examination, the candidate must demonstrate that he/she is able to translate that basic knowledge into a competent level of practice.  At this stage, the candidate goes back into practice and has up to seven years to assemble a diverse array of surgical cases for approval by the credentials committee.  These cases involve actual patients treated by the physician. The documentation consists of the charts, x-rays and other imaging, consults, operative and perioperative notes, and other information of the involved patients displaying the outcome of the physician’s treatment. This qualification serves to ascertain that the physician is performing at a high level, as established by leaders in that particular medical field.  
4.  After case approval is achieved, the candidate takes a timed oral examination to evaluate the candidate’s clinical judgment and reasoning skills.  The exam is conducted over 2 days for the foot and  an additional 1 day for the Rearfoot/Ankle. 

When a board certification candidate passes the examination, the board-certified physician is called a "Diplomate" of that organization.  In order to retain this status, Diplomates must maintain continuing education and re-certify on a regular basis.

So how should the patient consider board certification?

Board-certified podiatrists have, by a rigid and difficult examination process,  set themselves apart from other non-certified physicians by demonstrating a particular level of interest, training and basic competence in certain areas of medical specialization. 

In podiatric medicine, patients may wish to use board certification as one factor to consider when choosing a podiatrist.  To check to see the certifcation status of your podiatrist check out APMA FInd a Podiatrist.

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