Forever a Student

IMGM0063-2-600x340As a doctor, lectures and exams do not stop at med school graduation. Nor does it stop after end of residency. Getting state-licensed and board-certified is never a one-time done deal. In order for me to maintain my legal ability to practice medicine, I will be required to earn CME (continuing medical education) credit.

CME comes in many shapes and forms. It can be study material that you order online that contains an exam for you to take to receive credit. It can be a live lecture, or a webinar. It can be a question bank. Or it can be an interactive workshop. In general, 1 hour is equal to 1 CME credit. The important thing to know is that it has to be an accredited CME, meaning it is approved by a CME accrediting organization. It can’t be just any random event or lecture you attend. You will then need to report the CME to your specialty’s board.

For me, as a Georgia state-licensed and ABFM-certified family physician, here are my CME requirements for the rest of my career:

  • Requires 20 CME/year or 40 CME per 2 years. I have to renew mine by 3/31 of every even-numbered year.
  • You don’t need to submit proof that you’ve done the CME (so more of an honor system), but you better have it documented just in case you get audited.


  • Requires an active state medical license (see above).
  • Every 3-year certification stage, I must get 50 points (which are not the same as CME) through the following ways:
    • Knowledge Self-Assessment (KSA), found on ABFM website – 10 points
    • Performance Improvement (PI) – 20 points (can include PPM or MIMM or hand hygiene PPM, all found on ABFM website)
    • Then another 20 pts in any other way (KSA, PI, CSA 5 pts)
  • CME Requirements: 50 CME/yr or 150CME/3yrs.
    • Minimum 50% of it must be Division 1 credit per 3 yrs. Division 1 CME are your regular accredited CMEs, like lectures, study material, quizzes.
    • Maximum 50% of it can be Division II credit per 3 yrs. Division 2 CME are other non-accredited activities that you do on your own like precepting or research, and they must be reviewed and approved by the ABFM before they can count for CME.
    • These also have CME credits: KSA are 8 Div I CME credits, PI are 20 Div I CME credits, CSA 4 Div I CME credits.
    • The CME can be either AMA Category I CME or AAFP prescribed CME credit.
    • I have to document 150 CME by July 1 of 2020, 2023, 2026, 2029, etc. 
  • Family Medicine Certification Exam (valid for 10 years) – 8 hour exam. I have to renew mine by July 1 of 2027, 2037, 2047, etc.
  •  As a family physician, it is not required to join a professional organization like AAFP. However, if you want to join as a board-certified physician here are the requirements:
  • You must pay for both national and local dues: $440 (National dues) + $365 (local Georgia dues) = $705 annually (valid 1/1-12/31). If apply after 7/1, dues pro-rated 50%.
  • CME requirements to maintain AAFP membership: 150 credits/3yrs (same as ABFM). However, 75 credits needs to be AAFP-prescribed credits, and 25 must be live activities, unlike ABFM, which doesn’t specify it has to be AAFP-prescribed or live.
  • Memberships last 3 yrs. If I want to continue being a member, I will have to renew mine by 1/1 of 2018.
 Some CME are free, like the free articles/CME you find on Medscape. Some residency programs, like the one I graduated from, has Grand Round lectures that are officially approved by AAFP to count as 1 CME credit per lecture, and these are free as well. Most other CME, however, cost money, and some of them can be quite expensive, like the ones offered by NPI (see below). AAFP has a CME-search that is quite handy that shows all the AAFP-approved CME opportunities around the country.
  • AAFP CME Search – great place to start your search for family medicine CME.
  • National Procedures Institute (NPI) – They offer hands-on, live CME procedural training. Want to incorporate botox or cosmetic procedures to your primary care practice? Or perhaps ultrasound, or allergy testing/immunotherapy? If so, then this is where you go. Courses range from $850 to $1495.

End of Residency

Sometime between the first and last day, I decided to ditch the white coat... I was never good at ironing that thing anyway... So that’s that, the end of residency. There’s no one word that can describe the last three years. Residency had been challenging, no doubt, with a steep learning curve, long work hours, and long board exams to study for. Throw two kids in the mix, balancing work and family life has made the experience a little more interesting. However, there…

Staying Fit in Medical School

2017-03-20 15.49.30 A few months back, I received a question from a blog reader concerning staying fit during medical school. Jonathan writes: “Benji, I have some questions regarding maintaining overall health and fitness during medical school, something which you obviously appear to have done. What did you personally do and what advice would you give to incoming students? Was there a specific training…

Happy to Announce…

Our first photo together as a family of four A little over a week ago, I wanted to give yall an update that I have just been granted my full license to practice medicine in Georgia by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. I was going to talk about how licensure was a lengthy process that requires successful completion of all three United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE), as well as…

About the USMLE

Prometric Center where I took the USMLE Step 3 What is the USMLE? In order to apply for licensure to practice medicine in the states, one must complete the United States Medical Licensing Exam, also known as the USMLE. The USMLE is not one exam, but several, taken as a series of exams over the course of med school and residency.  There are four exams, divided into…

Beginning of the End

Ho Family And just like that, there goes another year of residency. Every July 1, all around the US, hospitals start seeing a new set of faces taking care of patients, working with the rest of the staff. They are the new doctors, the interns. That same day, the previous interns also take their role as the new second-year residents, and the…

An Exciting Day

AUC Benji_0244 Do you remember when you were a kid and wondered what you will be when you grew up? Well, today is that special day when many of my medical colleagues find out. It’s Match Day! Congratulations to all those who matched this year. I am truly impressed by the matches AUC graduates have placed this year. Going through my Facebook, I…

Why Family Medicine?

IMG_2915.JPG My Family Why Family Medicine? It is a very satisfying field, particularly if you love building relationships with patients and their families. I’ve gotten to treat both parents and their kids. I’ve even got to take care of a pregnant woman, deliver her baby, then take care of both her newborn and herself post-partum. The range of practice is wide,…

End of Intern Year

IMG_7213 High Falls, Georgia with my co-residents. So it’s come to this day, the end of internship year. There’s no doubt that there were some rough days and sleepless nights during the past 365 days, but there were also many days when I came home with a smile knowing I did something significant for someone else. As for my co-residents, I have really…

Return to the Caribbean

Our ship The last time I saw the Caribbean was the day I hauled my bags to the airport and flew away from St. Maarten where I had been living for two years for Basic Sciences, to move back to the states to start my clinical rotations. That was in the fall of 2011. It wasn’t until nearly four years later, this past month,…

Dos and Don’ts for Residency Application and Interview

MCCG_Main_Tower_300_225.JPG It’s that time of the year again… interview season. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was interviewing here and meeting my current colleagues for the first time. Today, I find myself on the other side of the dinner table, interviewing candidates who I will potentially work with next year. I’ve gotten to read many applications, and met many interviewees, and…


IMG_5746-0.JPG Hey folks, I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but I am still here, surviving my intern year. Residency has been pretty busy thus far, but there hasn’t been a day gone by where I haven’t come home feeling I’ve had a productive day. My intern experience thus far has been pretty inpatient-heavy. I’ve had two months of internal medicine…

45 Thoughts Running Through My Head During Match Season

IMG_2667 It’s that time of year again, when all medical students who are transitioning into doctors go through a rite of passage called the Match season. I can’t believe it’s been a year already since I went through mine. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve been on this side of the Match, and already,  I will be interviewing applicants like…

How to Dress for a Residency Interview

Business Professional During the residency interview, it’s important to dress to impress. While you can act and speak professionally, wearing jeans or a mini skirt to an interview can ruin the program’s impression of you. For every interview you go to, it’s important to bring two types of outfits:
  • Business Casual – to wear to the dinner with residents the night before interview.
  • Back Burner

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