Who makes up the medical licensing board? - medtigo



Who makes up the medical licensing board?

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The primary goal of medical boards is to safeguard the public from unethical, unqualified, untrained, or badly trained physicians to serve the public. Medical boards safeguard the public by ensuring that only well-trained and qualified doctors are granted licenses to practice.  

Several medical boards are involved in the process of applying for a medical school till getting a license to practice. For instance, the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), the Federation of State Medical Boards of the US (FSMB), and the National Board of Medical Examinations together conduct the examination.  


However, the state medical boards are solely responsible for granting licenses to qualified physicians to practice in a particular state. Also, state medical boards are responsible for conducting investigations into complaints, disciplining doctors who break medical practices, and referring doctors for rehabilitation if required.  

The structure and composition of state medical boards (SMBs) differ from state to state. In some boards, the licensing concerns and disciplinary duties are handled by separate boards. Also, some states have different boards for osteopathic and medical regulations.  


In many states, medical boards function as autonomous organizations that take decisions and implement them. On the other hand, some states operate as semi-autonomous bodies that work under the direction of the department of health or some other regulatory body, or they just provide advisory services.  

The SMBs are comprised of both public and physicians. The FSMB has suggested that every state medical board should have at least 25 percent members from the general public. Generally, the governor appoints the members of the board for one or two years, depending on certain factors.  

The public members of the medical licensing board may or may not have any background knowledge or expertise in medicine. However, including citizens in medical licensing boards can impact the functionality and public perception of medical boards in the United States. 


The FSMB provides training and education materials to the public members to enhance the quality of the board.   

Reasons for growing public participation 


The addition of public members to the state medical boards has gained support since the rise of consumer awareness in the early 1980s. The demand for increased public participation in medical boards has continuously increased since then. There are many reasons for the constant increase and importance of public participation with state medical boards- 

  • The changes in quantity and information access to the public have changed a lot. Today, the internet and other common sources make health-related information available to patients and the general public. 
  • Consumer awareness and empowerment in healthcare have led to an increased focus on consumer-driven medicine and more participation of the public. 
  • With the continuous increase in making governmental institutions more democratic, diversification in medical boards has led to increased public participation.  

Physicians or medical professionals are the core of the medical licensing boards, but the public members also play a significant role in the medical boards. For a stronger citizen representation in the medical boards, there is a need for best practices in public recruitment and training. Also, creating more awareness can play a significant role in medical regulation. 



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