The mission of the ABPN is to promote and assess the competence of psychiatrists and neurologists to provide high quality patient care in an equitable and inclusive manner to diverse populations by:

  • Establishing standards and requirements for initial and continuing certification;
  • Implementing state-of-the-art testing methods to evaluate candidate and diplomate competencies;
  • Encouraging and assessing diplomate involvement in lifelong learning;
  • Applying available technologies and information to collect and analyze pertinent data;
  • Communicating and collaborating with training programs, residents, candidates, diplomates, professional and health care organizations, and the public;
  • Supporting innovative educational and research programs relevant to psychiatrists and neurologists;
  • Operating internal programs and services effectively and efficiently; and
  • Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all programs and services.
ABPN Ends Statement

In order to support high quality, equitable psychiatric and neurologic care for the public, the ABPN develops, promotes, and advances:

  • programs of excellence, efficiency, integrity, fairness, equity, and inclusiveness for candidates and diplomates, and
  • effective training and lifelong learning for psychiatrists and neurologists.
ABPN Statement on Professionalism

Professionalism forms the basis of medicine’s contract with society. The ABPN is concerned with those aspects of professionalism that are demonstrated through a physician’s clinical competence, commitment to lifelong learning and professional improvement, interpersonal skills, and ethical understanding and behavior. In its credentialing, certification, and MOC programs, the ABPN seeks to assess and document that its candidates and diplomates possess and maintain these essential aspects of professionalism.

ABPN Position on Advocacy for Board Certification and MOC

The ABPN has never advocated for board certification as a requirement for state medical licensure and does not believe that board certification or maintenance of certification (MOC) should be requirements for initial licensure or for maintenance of licensure (MOL). The ABPN strongly recommends to state medical boards, however, that if diplomates do complete the requirements of MOC then that accomplishment should suffice for MOL.

While the ABPN recognizes that board certification has long been considered by clinical institutions and the public at large as a valid measure of the training and competence of physicians to provide quality patient care, the ABPN has never advocated that board certification or MOC be used as a credentialing requirement by any institutions or programs other than for faculty and program directors in ACGME-accredited or ABPN-approved training programs. The ABPN does believe, however, that the medical staff of clinical institutions should be free to select for themselves what their credentialing criteria will be.


The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. (ABPN) is a nonprofit corporation that was founded in 1934 following conferences of committees appointed by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Neurological Association, and the then Section on Nervous and Mental Diseases of the American Medical Association. This action was taken as a method of identifying the qualified specialists in psychiatry and neurology.

View the ABPN Who We Are bubble chart to learn how the Board is affiliated with other educational, medical and professional organizations.

The ABPN is one of 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Since 1935, when its first examination was delivered, the ABPN has been serving the public interest and promoting excellence in the practices of psychiatry and neurology through its certification and maintenance of certification processes. These processes are designed to identify qualified specialists through rigorous credential and training requirements and successful completion of board examinations for psychiatry, neurology, or neurology with special qualification in child neurology. ABPN committees are dedicated to developing exams that assess the current scientific knowledge and clinical expertise of physicians in order for them to achieve and maintain Board certification.

Additionally, over the past several decades, the ABPN (sometimes in collaboration with other member boards) has sought from the ABMS and gained approval for recognition of 14 subspecialties, as listed below:

ABMS Approval First Examination Subspecialty
* 1959 Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
1989 1991 Geriatric Psychiatry
1990 1992 Clinical Neurophysiology
1991 1993 Addiction Psychiatry
1992 1994 Forensic Psychiatry
1998 2000 Pain Medicine
1999 2001 Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
2003 2005 Psychosomatic Medicine
2003 2005 Vascular Neurology
2005 2008 Neuromuscular Medicine
2005 2007 Sleep Medicine
2006 2008 Hospice and Palliative Medicine
2011 2013 Epilepsy
2011 2014 Brain Injury Medicine
2018 2021 Neurocritical Care

*Certificates were issued prior to 1972 when ABMS recognition procedures were established.

As mandated by the ABMS, the ABPN continues making progress in the development of its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. MOC programs are designed to help assure the public that our diplomates practice their specialties to the highest standards through four measurable components: professional standing, self-assessment and lifelong learning, assessment of knowledge, judgment and skills, and improvement in medical practice.