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What is the ABPMR?

Founded in 1947, the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is one of 24 medical specialty boards that make up the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Through ABMS, the boards work together to establish common standards for physicians to achieve and maintain board certification. The boards were founded by their respective specialties to protect the public by assessing and certifying doctors who meet specific educational, training and professional requirements. The ABPMR is an independent, non-profit organization, receives no public funds and does not issue licenses. For more information about ABMS, visit

ABMS and the specialty boards are accountable both to the public and the medical profession through:

  • Helping Patients by providing information about the board certification process and which doctors are board certified.
  • Supporting Physicians by creating programs that assist doctors in staying current in their field and improve their practice.
  • Collaborating with Healthcare Leaders to foster initiatives for the promotion and monitoring of healthcare quality.
  • Transforming Healthcare by increasing awareness of the importance of board certification and lifelong learning in assuring quality care.

The ABPMR comprises a distinguished board of nationally recognized leaders in physical medicine and rehabilitation medical education, clinical practice, academic medicine, and research. The ABPMR establishes the requirements for certification and maintaining certification, creates its examinations, strives to improve training, and contributes to setting the standards for physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Purpose of Certification

The intent of the certification process as defined by Member Boards of the ABMS is to provide assurance to the public that a certified medical specialist has successfully completed an accredited residency training program and an evaluation, including an examination process, designed to assess the knowledge, experience and skills requisite to the provision of high quality patient care in that specialty. Diplomates of the ABPMR possess particular qualifications in this specialty.

Standards of certification are distinct from those of licensure. Possession of a Board certificate does not indicate total qualification for practice privileges, nor does it imply exclusion of other physicians not so certified.

Certification Matters

Finding the right doctor is essential to your good health. ABPMR Board Certified Specialists are leaders in their field because they voluntarily participate in lifelong learning to keep their skills and knowledge current. They demonstrate their commitment to quality clinical outcomes, patient safety and a responsive, patient-centered practice.

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*Certification is a voluntary process by which the ABPMR grants recognition to a physician specialist who has met predetermined qualifications specified by the ABPMR. Many qualities are necessary to be a competent physician, and many of these qualities cannot be quantified or measured. Thus, certification is not a guarantee of the competence of the physician specialist.