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Fam Med. 2017 Jan;49(1):14-21.

Impact of Potential Accreditation and Certification in Family Medicine Maternity Care.

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American Board of Family Medicine, Lexington, KY.



Advanced maternity care training in family medicine is highly variable at both the residency and fellowship levels. Declining numbers of family physicians providing maternity care services may exacerbate disparities in access to maternal and child care, especially in rural and other underserved communities. Accreditation of maternity care fellowships and board certification may be one potential avenue to address this trend. This study sought to understand the perceptions and beliefs of key family medicine stakeholders in advanced maternity care regarding the formalization of maternity care training through fellowship accreditation and the creation of a certificate of added qualification (CAQ).


In 2014 and 2015, the authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 51 key stakeholders in family medicine maternity care. Transcribed interviews were coded using an iterative process to identify themes and patterns until saturation was reached.


Participants generally supported both maternity care fellowship accreditation and a CAQ and recognized multiple advantages such as legitimization of training. Many had concerns about potential negative unintended consequences such as a loss of curricular flexibility; however, most felt that these could be mediated. Only a few did not support one or both aspects of formalization.


Most participants interviewed support formalizing maternity care fellowship training in family medicine through accreditation and a subsequent CAQ, if implemented with attention to minimizing the potential negative consequences. Such formalization would recognize the advanced skill and training of family physicians practicing advanced maternity care and could address some access issues to essential maternity care services for rural and other underserved populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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