Specialization in medicine has been a virtually inexorable trend for
many years. In the modern era it was heralded by the progressive separation
from general practice of obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine
and surgery, and the surgical subspecialties. These movements began shortly
after the turn of the century. The first US specialty board, in ophthalmology,
was established in 1917, followed shortly by a dozen other specialties, including
the American Board of Internal Medicine in 1936 and the American Board of
Surgery a year later. The American Board of Medical Specialties added its
24th member board, the American Board of Medical Genetics, in 1991.
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