PM Subspecialty Certification & MOC

After more than a decade of effort by countless members and friends of APM, at the March 2003 meeting of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) the Assembly approved the issuance of subspecialty certificates in Psychosomatic Medicine (PM) by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). In June 2003, the Academy received approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). In June 2005, the first ABPN examination in Psychosomatic Medicine took place.

For more information about the historic subspecialty approval, see Subspecialty Documents below.

Subspecialty Exams

The ABPN exam schedule for 2017/2018 is available on ABPN’s website at Applications for the exams are made via ABPN Physician Folios. Note the application deadline for an exam is about six months before the exam.

Initial Certification

Initial certification examinations in the subspecialty of Psychosomatic Medicine have traditionally been held in the fall of every other year. The next exam will be offered in October 2019. Applications and additional information will be available in January 2019.

For the fall exams, applicants must have been board-certified in General Psychiatry by December 31 of the year before the exam, and have completed one year of ACGME-accredited PM fellowship training by July 31 of the year of the exam.

ABPN information (deadlines, fees, content) about initial certification in PM is at Please contact the ABPN Credentials Department at 847-229-6510 or for additional information.

Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

Re-certification exams for PM are offered every year in the spring. The next exam is April 16-20, 2018. Applications and additional information will be available October 2, 2017. The application deadline is February 1, 2018 and the late deadline (with $500 late fee) is February 8, 2018.

The re-certification exam is a written exam assessing cognitive expertise. Three more required elements of MOC are professional standing, lifelong learning (CME) and self-assessment (SA), and Improvement in Medical Practice (PIP). To assist with CME requirements, APM offers self-assessment MOC exams to meeting attendees before the APM annual meeting. Eight hours of credit are provided.

Complete information about maintaining board certification is in the Maintain Certification section of the ABPN website, which includes a short ABPN Guide to MOC and a more detailed MOC booklet.

Robert Boland, MD, FAPM, former chair of APM’s MOC Subcommittee, explained the components of maintaining certification on page 12 of the APM Summer 2012 Newsletter and described “Changes in the Recertification Process” on page 4 of the Summer 2014 Newsletter. Note that the links to individual ABPN web pages in the Newsletters are obsolete.

Preparing for the Exam

Where available, past APM pre-conference courses, meeting presentations and board review course materials are available for purchase and streaming through APM’s Live Learning Center (LLC). Competitive pricing includes substantial discounts for APM members and free access for those who attended any session in person. Visit the LLC here.

Subspecialty Documents

PDF icon Proposal for Recognition of “PSYCHOSOMATIC MEDICINE” as a Psychiatric Subspecialty
Lyketsos CG and Levenson J with the APM Task Force for Subspecialization, July 2001

This proposal was submitted by the APM Task Force to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) for specialty board status. While much of the work for this was performed behind the scenes, the document is an excellent review of the proposal process, training details, and expectations in our field, and a valuable resource for preparing other types of proposals involving Consultation-Liaison (or now Psychosomatic) Psychiatry.

Newsletter reprint ABPN Announces Subspecialty Certification in Psychosomatic Medicine
Reprint of article on page 6 of the June 2003 Academy Newsletter. The ABPN issued a press release with the same title in June 2004.