According to the longawaited and just updated Directory of Medical Specialists,1 there are in the United States some 100,000 physicians who have been certified by one or more of the 19 American specialty boards recognized by the Advisory Board for Medical Specialties and the American Medical Association through its Council on Medical Education. The oldest of these recognized boards is the American Board of Ophthalmology, having been given official status in 1917, and the newest are the American Board of Preventive Medicine and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, the latter being an affiliate of the American Board of Surgery. Both were recognized in 1948. No new boards, primary, subsidiary, or affiliate, have been approved in the past 20 years.
In terms of numbers of specialists, the American Board of Internal Medicine, which encompasses besides internal medicine, allergy, cardiovascular disease, gastroenterology, and pulmonary disease, is easily in the lead