The American Board of Anesthesiology

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About the ABA

Mission & Purposes

The ABA mission is to advance the highest standards of the practice of anesthesiology.

The American Board of Anesthesiology exists in order to:

  1. Advance the highest standards of practice by fostering lifelong education in anesthesiology, which the ABA defines as the practice of medicine dealing with but not limited to:

    1. Assessment of, consultation for, and preparation of, patients for anesthesia.
    2. Relief and prevention of pain during and following surgical, obstetric, therapeutic and diagnostic procedures.
    3. Monitoring and maintenance of normal physiology during the perioperative or periprocedural period.
    4. Management of critically ill patients.
    5. Diagnosis and treatment of acute, chronic and cancer related pain.
    6. Clinical management and teaching of cardiac and pulmonary resuscitation.
    7. Evaluation of respiratory function and application of respiratory therapy.
    8. Conduct of clinical, translational and basic science research.
    9. Supervision, teaching and evaluation of performance of both medical and allied health personnel involved in perioperative or periprocedural care, critical care, pain management, and hospice and palliative care.
    10. Administrative involvement in health care facilities and organizations, and medical schools as appropriate to the ABA’s mission.
  2. Establish and maintain criteria for the designation of a Board certified and subspecialty certified anesthesiologist as described in the ABA’s Booklet of Information.
  3. Inform the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) concerning the training required of individuals seeking certification as such requirements relate to residency and fellowship training programs in anesthesiology.
  4. Establish and conduct those processes by which the Board may judge whether a physician who voluntarily applies should be issued a certificate indicating that the required standards for certification or maintenance of certification as a diplomate of the ABA in anesthesiology or its subspecialties have been met.

    A Board certified anesthesiologist is a physician who provides medical management and consultation during the perioperative period, in pain medicine and in critical care medicine. At the time of application and at the time of initial certification, a diplomate of the Board must possess knowledge, judgment, adaptability, clinical skills, technical facility and personal characteristics sufficient to carry out the entire scope of anesthesiology practice independently without accommodation or with reasonable accommodation. An ABA diplomate must logically organize and effectively present rational diagnoses and appropriate treatment protocols to peers, patients, their families and others involved in the medical community. A diplomate of the Board can serve as an expert in matters related to anesthesiology, deliberate with others, and provide advice and defend opinions in all aspects of the specialty of anesthesiology. A Board certified anesthesiologist is able to function as the leader of the anesthesiology care team.

    Because of the nature of anesthesiology, the ABA diplomate must be able to manage emergent life-threatening situations in an independent and timely fashion. The ability to independently acquire and process information in a timely manner is central to assure individual responsibility for all aspects of anesthesiology care. Adequate physical and sensory faculties, such as eyesight, hearing, speech and coordinated function of the extremities, are essential to the independent performance of the Board certified anesthesiologist. Freedom from the influence of or dependency on chemical substances that impair cognitive, physical, sensory or motor function also is an essential characteristic of the Board certified anesthesiologist.
  5. Serve the public, medical profession, health care facilities and organizations, and medical schools, and licensing boards by providing the names of physicians certified by the Board.

ABA Certification Marks

The American Board of Anesthesiology is the owner of the following certification marks:

  1. The ABA seal:

    [ABA Seal]
  2. The American Board of Anesthesiology
  3. Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology Program
  4. MOCA

Each of these marks is a registered certification mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as shown.

These certification marks are owned by The American Board of Anesthesiology, Inc., and only the ABA has any legal rights with respect to the ownership of such marks. In the event the ABA has reason to believe that an individual has misappropriated its certification marks for the purpose of misrepresenting his or her ABA certification status or for some other purpose, it: (i) will aggressively defend the integrity of such marks, including but not limited to pursuing all legal remedies at law and in equity; (ii) may impose any of its own restrictions on the eligibility of the individual to participate in the ABA's examination system, including but not limited to permanent exclusion from entrance to its examination system; and (iii) may notify any state medical licensure board known by it to have licensed the individual.

A Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)

The ABA is one of the 24 medical specialty boards (Member Boards) that make up the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Through ABMS, the boards work together to set and sustain common standards of expertise and professionalism that each uses to evaluate candidates for board certification and specialists to maintain their certification. Medical specialty certification is the largest standard-setting and assessment process established and maintained by a profession.

ABMS and the Member Boards are all independent non-profit organizations and establish their processes and standards free of any professional or governmental body and they do not receive funds from industry. The Member Boards maintain their own board of directors, elected from within the specialty and the public. These leaders and others from the Member Boards and the public make up the ABMS Board of Directors and Assembly. They represent working and retired individuals from across the country with a broad range of experience in patient care, health administration, education, business, community service, regulatory policy and international affairs.

ABMS also provides information concerning specialist certification gathered from its Member Boards for the benefit of the public, government, professional and other stakeholders.

The Member Boards work collectively to set standard benchmarks of knowledge and professionalism for providing care in a particular area of medicine.

  • Being the authoritative resource/clearinghouse and voice/forum for issues surrounding physician certification as it relates to the provision of quality healthcare
  • Establishing and maintaining the mechanism for recognizing quality in certification and maintenance of certification programs
  • Promoting research activities to advance knowledge regarding physician certification
  • Providing information and quality services for certification verification

Professional Organizations
The American Society of Anesthesiologists is an educational, research and scientific association of physicians organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology and improve the care of the patient.
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a not-for-profit organization, assists 24 approved medical specialty boards in the development and use of standards in the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians. ABMS, recognized as the "gold standard" in physician certification, believes higher standards for physicians means better care for patients
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is responsible for the Accreditation of post-MD medical training programs within the United States. Accreditation is accomplished through a peer review process and is based upon established standards and guidelines.