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Information for the Subspecialty Certification Program in Rheumatology

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This information sheet has been produced by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine for use by Diplomates who are applying for certification in Rheumatology. The purpose of this document is to provide general information concerning the Rheumatology Examination and instructions for completing the application.

Certification in Rheumatology is a program for certified internal medicine specialists, designed to recognize excellence among those who provide care in this subspecialty field. The program has two components:

A.     Satisfactory completion of two years of an AOA approved fellowship program in Rheumatology.
B.     Successful performance on a comprehensive, one-day written/clinical examination.


Internists must be certified by the AOA, through the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine, in internal medicine and complete a 24-month AOA approved program in the subspecialty. The following documents must be submitted with the application:
A.     Copy of the fellowship training certificate(Must be submitted by August 1);
B.     Completion of the Program Director's Report form by the subspecialty Program Director;
C.     ACOI/AOA approval of the subspecialty training must be verified before certification is completed. If you have received a letter from the ACOI or AOA stating your "Program is Complete" enclose a copy of that letter with your application.

General Description:

This examination will be a proctored one-day examination consisting of multiple-choice questions of the "one best answer" type and matching type items. There will be a total of 300 items on the examination. The Rheumatology Subspecialty Examination will cover the broad aspects of rheumatology that internists practicing in rheumatology are expected to know. The major emphasis in this examination will be:

Detailed overview of clinical rheumatology, synovial fluid analysis, interpretation of laboratory results, recent literature information, immunology, drug pharmacology, survey of applicable enzyme pathways, and basic scientific research models.

Clinical situations involving diagnosis, etiology, prognosis and natural history of the disease, and management will be stressed. There will be clinically oriented questions with case history data included. In some of these case histories you may be asked to interpret visual material printed in the examination, which may include:

Interpretation of x-rays, synovial fluid microscopy, histology and physical examination findings.

Rheumatology Blueprint

Content Area % on the Exam
Basic principles/Immunology/ Cell biology 5
Physical diagnosis rheumatologic disorders 2
Rheumatoid arthritis 13
Spondyloarthropathies 5
Infectious arthritis 6
Systemic lupus erythematosus 10
Scleroderma/Connective tissue disease 5
Sjogren syndrome 2
Vasculitis 13
Polymyalgia rheumatica/Giant cell 5
Non-articular rheumatism/Muscle disease 8
Bone disease/metabolism 8
Crystal deposition arthropathies 5
Osteoarthritis 4
Systemic diseases and arthritis 5
Miscellaneous arthritic disorders/tumors 4
Total 100%

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