RPS Frequently Asked Questions
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Q: What is Preventive Medicine?

A: In the United States, preventive medicine is a medical specialty, one of the 24 recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). It encompasses three main areas of specialization:

  • General preventive medicine and public health
  • Aerospace medicine
  • Occupational medicine

Q: How Does one become Boarded in Preventive Medicine?

A: In order to become board-certified in one of the preventive medicine areas of specialization, a licensed U.S. physician (M.D. or D.O.) must successfully complete a preventive medicine medical residency program following a one year internship. Following that, the physician must complete a year of practice in that special area and pass the preventive medicine board examination. The residency program is at least two years in length, and includes completion of a post-graduate masters degree in public health (MPH). The board exam takes an entire day: The morning session concentrates on general preventive medicine questions while the afternoon session concentrates on the one of the three areas of specialization that the applicant has studied.

In addition, there are two subspecialty areas of certification:

  • Medical toxicology (MT)
  • Undersea and hyperbaric medicine (UHB), formerly "undersea medicine"

These certifications require sitting for an examination following successful completion of an MT or UHB fellowship and prior board certification in one of the 24 ABMS-recognized specialties.

Q: How may I obtain more information about the Preventive Medicine Board examination?

A: For information on taking the preventive medicine board examination, please visit the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM)

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