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Value of Occupational Medicine Board Certification

Harber, Philip MD, MPH; Wu, Samantha MS; Bontemps, Johnny BS; Rose, Sasha BS; Saechao, Kaochoy MD, MPH; Liu, Yihang MD, MS

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: May 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 5 - p 532–538
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31828515b8
Original Articles

Objective: To assess the impact of occupational medicine board certification and career stage on practice characteristics.

Methods: Two hundred sixty occupational medicine physicians completed a questionnaire and 25 activity log descriptions about 72 items in 9 major domains. For each item, the percentage of activities involving the item and the percentage of physicians conducting the item at least once were calculated. Results were analyzed by board certification status and career stage.

Results: Board-certified physicians had more-diverse practice activities and skills. They were more involved in management and public health–oriented activities, with greater emphasis on toxicology and less on musculoskeletal disorders. The noncertified physicians received more payment from workers' compensation. Early-career physicians spent more time in direct injury/illness treatment, being paid by workers' compensation, and addressing musculoskeletal problems.

Conclusions: Formal training confers advantages in practice diversity and population medicine orientation.

From the Division of Community, Environment and Policy (Dr Harber and Ms Wu), Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson; and Occupational and Environmental Medicine Division (Drs Harber, Saechao, and Liu, Ms Wu, Mr Bontemps, and Ms Rose), Department of Family Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Address correspondence to: Philip Harber, MD, MPH, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Medical Research Bldg, Room 112, 1656 E Mabel St, Tucson, AZ 85719 (pharber@email.arizona.edu).

This study was supported by grant R01 OH008647 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Disclosure: Dr Harber has previously served as the director of the Occupational Medicine Residency Program at the University of California at Los Angeles and as a member of the Preventive Medicine Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. There are no other conflicts.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine