Board Certification in Aesthetic Medicine? Fact or Myth?
Sorry, its a Myth! There has been great discussion regarding the Board Certification of Aesthetic Medicine. Currently the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) does not offer a board certification in Aesthetic Medicine. The ABMS currently states that “antiaging is not a medical specialty,” and therefore no association or organization can officially be offering “board certification” in aesthetic medicine at this time.
Therefore any private company, private company owned association or aesthetic association that offers “Board Certification” does so without the endorsement of the ABMS. “Physicians like to be board certified like they are in their own medical specialty however since the ABMS doesn’t offer Board Certification, many companies have decided to create their own. This is not the same board certification as in Family Medicine, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine or any other recognized board certification, this is just a made up one,” says IAPAM Executive-Director Jeff Russell. “We often hear from physicians who have spend thousands of dollars on obtaining these aesthetic medicine board certifications only to find out they aren’t recognized by anyone, its very disappointing to them to say the least,” continues Russell.
The ABMS is a non-profit organization empowered to regulate the certification of medical specialties. Before the formation of the ABMS, a physician could advertise that he/she was a specialist in any medical arena. However, since its establishment, the ABMS “certification” is the gold standard for medical training and examinations, thereby ensuring a pre-eminent level of education, ethics and care across multiple medical specialties.
The ABMS clearly states that its mission is “to communicate to external stakeholders that ‘board certification’ is the major marker of quality for physicians’ performance and that the ABMS is recognized as the organization that establishes these standards and criteria.” That said, the ABMS also states that “anti-aging is not yet considered a medical speciality”, akin to plastic surgery or dermatology, and therefore, at this time, the ABMS does not offer a “board certification” in aesthetic medicine.
To fill this void, the IAPAM (International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine) offers the discipline’s most comprehensive education and credentialing towards certification in Aesthetic Medicine for physicians entering or practicing in this burgeoning field. The IAPAM’s educational programs are quarterbacked by a fully accredited faculty, including two board certified dermatologists, who are experts in cosmetic injectables, botox training and aesthetic medicine treatments. However, as the ABMS does not currently offer “board certification” in aesthetic medicine, the IAPAM is respectful that it too cannot offer “board certification” in aesthetic medicine. Instead, the IAPAM continues to offer the industry’s best clinical, hands-on, aesthetic medicine training in the most advanced skin care procedures.
Ultimately, the IAPAM has developed the responsible guiding principal that it cannot offer “board certification” in aesthetic medicine until such certification is recognized along with the other 24 medical specialities currently acknowledged by the ABMS.
Therefore, until that time when aesthetic medicine is considered a medical specialty by the ABMS, the bottom line for practitioners and patients alike is: whether engaging a “board certified” surgeon, or a peer-trained physician, patients must complete their due diligence by researching both the practitioner and the treatment, asking the doctor and others for referrals, and ensuring that they feel completely comfortable before undergoing any procedure.
Jeff Russell, Executive Director of the IAPAM