ABAI Certification

Significance of ABAI Certification
A certified specialist in allergy and immunology is a physician who has fulfilled the requirements of and has received certification as a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and/or the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) followed by additional certification by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI), a conjoint board of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Pediatrics. Diplomates of the ABAI have detailed knowledge of the underlying pathophysiology and the method of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of allergic diseases such as allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, urticaria, anaphylaxis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, atopic and contact dermatitis and allergic gastrointestinal disorders as well as comparable clinical problems without an apparent allergic etiology or component such as vasomotor rhinitis, non-allergic asthma and idiopathic and/or hereditary forms of urticaria and/or angioedema. Expertise in the management of pulmonary complications of certain of these diseases is a further prerequisite.

In addition, diplomates of the ABAI possess breadth and depth in the understanding of immunochemistry, immunobiology and applied pharmacology and experience in the application of this knowledge to the diagnosis, management and therapy of immunologic diseases, such as inborn or acquired defects of host resistance, autoimmune diseases, bone marrow and solid organ transplantation, gene replacement therapy, adverse drug reactions, and other conditions associated with an abnormality of the immune system. Because allergy and clinical immunology is an evolving and expanding area of medicine, diplomates may vary in their detailed knowledge of some of the aspects of allergy/immunology as defined above. Diplomates have demonstrated to the satisfaction of their peers that they possess the general qualifications specified.

Organization and Purpose
The ABAI was established in 1971 as a non-profit organization. It is a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). It is a conjoint board of the ABIM and ABP and is sponsored jointly by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) - section on allergy and immunology, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), the American Medical Association (AMA) - section council on allergy, and the Clinical Immunology Society (CIS). The board of directors consists of an equal number of ABAI certified specialty internists and ABAI-certified pediatricians, who are nominated by the AAAAI, AAP, ACAAI, AMA, CIS, and the ABAI itself. The nominees are appointed by the ABIM and ABP for a full six-year term of office.

ABAI's major purposes are to:

  1. establish qualifications and examine physician candidates for certification as specialists in allergy/immunology;
  2. serve the public, physicians, hospitals, and medical schools by providing the names of physicians certified as allergists/immunologists;
  3. improve the quality of care in allergy/immunology to the public;
  4. establish and improve standards for the teaching and practice of allergy/immunology; and
  5. establish standards for training programs in allergy/immunology.

Certification
The ABAI is interested in candidates who have embarked voluntarily on a graduate program of study, with the express purpose of excelling in the practice of the specialty of allergy/immunology. In outlining its requirements, the ABAI hopes to help the candidate select superior educational programs that will develop his/her competency in allergy/immunology. The ABAI believes that all allergists/immunologists should have a fundamental knowledge of the biological science basic to this discipline. Such knowledge is essential to the continued professional progress of any qualified allergist/immunologist. The ABAI anticipates that adequate knowledge in basic science, as applied to this discipline, will be acquired by the candidates during a post-medical school training program. The ABAI wishes to emphasize that time and training are but a means to the end of acquiring a broad knowledge of allergy/immunology.

The candidate must demonstrate competency to the ABAI in order to justify certification in this discipline. The responsibility of acquiring the knowledge rests with the candidate. The ABAI is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of the standards of knowledge required for certification. Each candidate for certification must satisfy the general and professional qualifications listed below.

Requirements for certification
The candidate qualifies for examination by having passed the certification examination of the ABIM and/or ABP, which requires three years of post-doctoral training in programs accredited by the accreditation council for graduate medical education (ACGME), and by presentation of evidence, acceptable to the board of directors, of at least two years of full-time residency/ fellowship in ALLERGY/IMMUNOLOGY PROGRAMS ACCREDITED BY THE ACGME or other acceptable training in allergy/immunology programs. and documentation from the training program director evaluating and substantiating clinical competence and two full time years of allergy/immunology training. Areas to be reviewed include clinical judgment, medical knowledge, clinical skills of history taking, physical examination, procedural skills, humanistic qualities, attitudes and professional behavior, medical care (utilizing laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures), commitment to scholarship, and work habits.

The training program director must also provide written evidence of the candidate's clinical experience and readiness to sit for the examination. In compliance with the ACGME program requirements for residency training in allergy and immunology, a semi-annual record must be maintained with copies to the ABAI for tracking purposes. The evaluation form together with the explanation of ratings scale may be obtained from the ABAI. If a trainee has received two consecutive evaluations with overall unsatisfactory ratings, the training program director must provide the trainee and the ABAI with a written plan for remediation of the trainee's deficiencies. After six months, the training program director must provide the ABAI and the trainee with a report of the success or failure of the remediation program, as well as any additional plans for corrective action.

And upon written release of the candidate, documentation from the chief of medicine or pediatrics, ABAI diplomates in the geographical area, chiefs of community hospitals, or officers of state or regional societies to verify the medical, ethical, and moral standing and clinical competence of the candidate as a specialist in allergy/immunology. And evidence of a valid, unrestricted license to practice medicine in a state, territory, possession, or province of the united states or Canada or provide a written explanation of extenuating circumstances. Candidates with a restricted, suspended, or revoked license at the time of application or examination will not be admitted to the examination or become certified.

As of January 1, 1992 ABAI has additional entrance requirements for candidates to become certified 6 years or more years following completion of allergy/immunology training. New ABAI diplomates receive certificates valid for ten years.

ABAI Schedule
ExaminationDateRegistrationTotal FeesCancel DateRefund
Certification8/11/97
11/1/96-1/31/97*
$1,500
7/15/97
$1,000
Clinical and Laboratory Immunology8/11/97
11/1/96-1/31/97*
$1,500
7/15/97
$1,000
Recertification
-
1/1/96-7/31/96*
$1,500
7/15/97
-
Home Study
-
-
-
-
$500
Proctored Modular Exam8/11/97
-
-
-
$500
*Non-refundable late penalty fees apply.

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