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Addiction Medicine Certification Facts

April 04, 2019 11:30 AM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

Osteopathic Certification in Addiction Medicine

  • The American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM) was chartered in 1989
  • In 1995, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) approved the Addiction Medicine (ADM) Certificate of Additional Qualifications (CAQ), a subspecialty certification under the conjoint osteopathic boards of: Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Anesthesia and Neuro-Psychiatry. Anesthesia is no longer a member of the ADM conjoint board.
  • The first addiction medicine certification exam was given in October 1996.
  • The pathway to become certified in addiction medicine closed in December 2002, which was near the beginning of the current opioid national crisis.
  • While there was an AOA-approved osteopathic addiction medicine fellowship program, there was and is still no primary CAQ certification exam for fellows who completed their training.

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Recognizes Addiction Medicine as a Subspecialty

  • In 2007, the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) was incorporated and in 2009, it assumed oversight from ASAM for the addiction medicine certification exam. ABAM administered the addiction medicine exam four times – in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
  • On March 14, 2016, ABMS announced its approval of an addiction medicine subspecialty, sponsored by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM). Physicians who are certified by any of the 24 ABMS member boards can apply for the addiction medicine certification through the practice pathway.
  • DOs who are not allopathically boarded are ineligible to become certified through ABMS.
  • The ABMS practice pathway is open through 2021.
  • Beginning 2020, all residencies and fellowships will be under the auspices of ACGME for osteopathic and allopathic physicians.
  • Any osteopathic physician who completes an ACGME residency and successfully passes a primary board certification in ABMS will be eligible to qualify for the ABPM Board in Addiction Medicine. All osteopathic physicians with primary AOA board certifications will NOT be eligible to sit for the ABPM board in addiction medicine.
  • Beginning in 2022, all applicants for certification in Addiction Medicine must successfully complete an ACGME-accredited Addiction Medicine fellowship program.

AOA Resolution

  • On April 12, 2016, the AOA passed a resolution that provided DOs who are AOA-active board-certified physicians and ABAM diplomates with a process to attain an AOA subspecialty certification in Addiction Medicine.
  • 300-plus DOs are/were listed as ABAM diplomates
  • A one-time administrative fee was applied.
  • Recertification is required every 10 years based upon the expiration date of the ABAM initial certification or recertification
  • Approximately 100 DOs applied for their CAQ through this mechanism.
  • CAQ holders must comply with CME/osteopathic continuous certification requirements. Osteopathic Restoration Pathway Survey
  • The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) is investigating the restoration of a certification pathway which would provide an opportunity for osteopathic and allopathic physicians to obtain certification in the subspecialty of Addiction Medicine.
  • Physicians who complete an AOA or ABPM approved fellowship in Addiction Medicine or demonstrate their qualifications via clinical pathway requirements, will be eligible to sit for the initial certification examination.
  • A joint survey from the AOA and AOAAM will be sent to gauge the interest.
Download a copy of the addiction medicine certification fact sheet.


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The mission of the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine is to improve the health of individuals and families burdened with the disease of addiction.

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