99% of sexually active American women will use contraception in their lifetime. As key providers of primary care to women and families across the country, family physicians need to be able to provide evidence-based, patient-centered contraceptive care.
In 2014 the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education recognized the importance of family planning as a part of family medicine by including it as a core component of family medicine residency education.
Now we need to ensure that family physicians are up-to-date on the latest in contraceptive care, as new products and devices are often emerging. The American Board of Family Medicine sets the standards and processes for family physicians to maintain their clinical certification. One of the ways family physicians can maintain their clinical certification is to successfully complete Self-Assessment Modules (SAM) on core primary care topics. SAMs cover lots of topics – but NOT contraception.
The Reproductive Health Care Member Interest Group of the American Academy of Family Physicians is working on developing a family planning/contraception SAM. A volunteer group of family physicians is working on developing the content for the online learning module, but a key step in getting the American Board of Family Medicine to approve a new SAM is to demonstrate that there is wide support within family medicine to have a SAM on family planning.
We’ve launched an online petition so that family physicians can voice their support for a family planning SAM.
By developing a Self-Assessment Module on family planning, the American Board of Family Medicine will be ensuring that our nation’s family physicians are maintaining their clinical knowledge in an area that touches the lives of nearly every woman and family.