The American Board of Anesthesiology

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ABA History


A committee representing the American Society of Anesthetists, Inc., the American Society of Regional Anesthesia, Inc., and the Section on Surgery of the American Medical Association was established to devise a plan for an organization that would certify physicians practicing in the field of anesthesiology. On June 2, 1937, The American Board of Anesthesiology, Inc. (ABA), was formed as an affiliate of The American Board of Surgery, Inc.


The Advisory Board for Medical Specialties and the Council on Medical Education of The American Medical Association approves the ABA as an affiliate of The American Board of Surgery.


The Advisory Board for Medical Specialties approves the establishment of the ABA as a separate primary Board.


The Society of Critical Care Medicine approaches the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to discuss official recognition for physicians with expertise in critical care medicine. In response, the ABA and three other member boards begin exploring mechanisms for awarding such recognition.


On March 21, the ABMS votes to permit the ABA and several other member boards to issue certificates in critical care medicine.


The ABA notifies the ABMS of its intent to subcertify in pain management and has subsequent discussions with other ABMS member boards with an interest in this subspecialty.


ABMS approves the ABA pain management application at its March meeting with the condition that the subspecialty certificate be time-limited. On Sept. 26, ABMS votes to permit the ABA to issue certificates in pain management that would be valid for 10 years.


The ABA approves a policy of time-limited certification so that all certificates issued by the ABA on or after Jan. 1, 2000 be valid for 10 years after the candidate passes the certifying exam.


ABMS approves the ABA’s proposal for recertification in anesthesiology at its March 21 meeting.


ABMS approves the proposals for recertification in critical care medicine and pain management at its Sept. 17 meeting.


In March, ABMS approves changing the name of the subspecialty to Pain Medicine.


The ABA phases out its voluntary recertification program with the administration of the December recertification exam. The Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology Program (MOCA) becomes the only voluntary recertification option for ABA diplomates certified before 2000.

The Board brings the question development and administration processes for all exams in-house.

In August, the Board approves the transition to a staged exams process (BASIC, ADVANCED and APPLIED Examinations) to complement the movement of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to competency based training and promotion.

Later that year, the American Board of Pediatrics and ABA announce a combined, integrated training program in pediatrics and anesthesiology that will require five, not six, years of training for physicians to be fully qualified and certified in both specialties.


In December, the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABA announces a combined, integrated training program in internal medicine and anesthesiology. ABMS approves ABA's application for Sleep Medicine. These subspecialty certificates are time-limited.


ABMS approves the ABA's Pediatric Anesthesiology certificate, which is time-limited.


The ABA expands its office space from 13,500 SF to 32,500 SF in April to support its growing portfolio of assessments.


The ABA transitions to staged exams in July with the first BASIC Examination administration.

Construction begins and is completed on the new ABA Assessment Center in Raleigh, N.C., which will house the Part 2 and APPLIED Examinations.

In October, the ABA hosts its final hotel-based Part 2 Examination in Chicago after 73 years of administering it in hotels throughout the country.