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Encyclopedia > Preventive medicine
A 1930 Soviet poster propagating breast care.
A 1930 Soviet poster propagating breast care.

Generally speaking, preventive medicine (often mis-spelled and mis-pronounced "preventative medicine") is that part of medicine engaged with preventing disease rather than curing it. It can be contrasted not only with curative medicine, but also with public health methods (which work at the level of population health rather than individual health). Image File history File linksMetadata Grudi. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Grudi. ... Medicine is the branch of health science and the sector of public life concerned with maintaining human health or restoring it through the treatment of disease and injury. ... A disease is an abnormal condition of the body or mind that causes discomfort, dysfunction, or distress to the person afflicted or those in contact with the person. ... Public health is concerned with threats to the overall health of a community based on population health analysis. ...

Professionals involved the public health aspect of this practice may be involved in entomology, pest control, and public health inspections. Public health inspections can include recreational waters, pools, beaches, food preparation and serving, and industrial hygiene inspections and surveys. Entomology is the scientific study of insects. ... Pest control refers to the regulation or management of another species defined as a pest, usually because it is detrimental to a persons health, the ecology or the economy. ... Water (from the Old English waeter; c. ... Pool can have several meanings: Look up Pool in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... 90 mile beach Australia A beach or strand is a geological formation consisting of loose rock particles such as sand, shingle, cobble, or even shell along the shoreline of a body of water. ... Hygiene is the maintenance of healthy practices. ...


As a medical specialty

In the United States, preventive medicine is a medical specialty, one of the 24 recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). It encompasses three areas of specialization: A medical specialist is someone who specializes in a particular field of medicine. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ...

  • General preventive medicine and public health
  • Aerospace medicine
  • Occupational medicine

In order to become board-certified in one of the preventive medicine areas of specialization, a licensed U.S. physician (M.D. or D.O.) must successfully complete a preventive medicine medical residency program following a one year internship. Following that, the physician must complete a year of practice in that special area and pass the preventive medicine board examination. The residency program is at least two years in length, and includes completion of a post-graduate masters degree in public health (MPH). The board exam takes an entire day: The morning session concentrates on general preventive medicine questions. The afternoon session concentrates on the one of the three areas of specialization that the applicant has studied. The Medicinæ Doctor or Doctor of Medicine (M.D. or D.M.) is a doctorate level degree held by medical doctors. ... Osteopathy is the body of medicine that originally used strictly manipulative techniques for correcting somatic abnormalities thought to cause disease and inhibit recovery. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with residency (medicine). ... For information about a medical intern, see the article on Medical residency. ... A masters degree is an academic degree usually awarded for completion of a postgraduate course of one or two years in duration. ... Public health is concerned with threats to the overall health of a community based on population health analysis. ...

In addition, there are two subspecialty areas of certification:

  • Medical toxicology (MT)
  • Undersea and hyperbaric medicine (UHB), formerly "undersea medicine"

These certifications require sitting for an examination following successful completion of an MT or UHB fellowship and prior board certification in one of the 24 ABMS-recognized specialties

Rose's theorem

Rose's Theorem states that "a large number of people at small risk may give rise to more cases of disease than a small number who are at high risk."[1]


  1. ^ Rose, G.: The Strategy of Preventive Medicine. Oxford, England, Oxford University Press; 1992.

Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 ( 2001 census). ... Oxford University Press (OUP) is a highly-respected publishing house and a department of the University of Oxford in England. ... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ...

Brief Description of a Preventive Medicine Specialist

Hi, I’m a Preventive Medicine Physician!

What does that mean?

I am a physician who has completed (or is currently completing) a residency program in Preventive Medicine, one of the 24 medical specialties recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Areas of specialization within Preventive Medicine include general preventive medicine and public health, aerospace medicine, and occupational medicine. Preventive medicine residents are the physicians who will be the public health leaders of tomorrow, with an emphasis on preserving and promoting the health of communities and populations.

As part of my preventive medicine residency program, I have completed a masters degree in public health (MPH), and completed multiple practicum rotations in the field of preventive medicine, which may have taken place in clinical settings, the military, government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and/or state and local health departments, and health-related industries such as pharmaceuticals or insurance.

How am I like other physicians?

After college, I went to medical school for 4 years and earned a medical degree (MD or DO). Before starting training specific to preventive medicine, I completed at least one year of clinical residency training in a hospital setting. I understand the basic medical sciences, such as pathophysiology, and I have experience managing the care of individual patients with diverse diseases.

How am I different from other physicians?

In addition to my medical degree, I have an MPH, so I understand the concepts of public health (epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental/occupational health, and health management and policy). I focus on populations – groups of people, not just individual patients. I also have additional training in Preventive Medicine beyond other physicians who have earned an MPH degree. My practicum rotations introduced me to preventive medicine and public health practice, including outbreak investigations, research, policy and program development, emergency preparedness, international health, travel medicine, administrative/management activities, and more.

What do I have to offer?

As a specialist in Preventive Medicine, I am uniquely trained in both clinical medicine and public health. I have the training needed to understand and reduce the risks of disease, disability and death in individuals and in population groups, and I have the leadership skills needed to protect the public’s health.

The American Board of Preventive Medicine Examination

Every graduate of a Preventive Medicine residency should plan to sit for the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) examination. The exam is offered each fall, usually in October or November. Although this can be a difficult time for recent graduates if you have a new job and/or tight finances, it’s also the time when all your training is still fresh in your mind and might be an important tool if you’re looking for employment.

Applying for the Exam

In 2006 the exam will be offered over a two-week period from October 2-6 and October 9-13 in any Pearson VUE testing center location. The cost will be $2295. You can apply for the exam online: https://www.abprevmed.org/application/index.cfm. The online application is straightforward, but it’s not set up to let you look over the whole application; for this, refer to the sample application that’s posted: http://www.abprevmed.org/public/05sample.pdf. The sample is from 2005 but you can find the actual 2006 application as well: http://www.abprevmed.org/html/application.pdf.

To support your application package you’ll need the usual list of transcripts, diplomas, etc. A few tips:

(1) The application form itself, along with payment, is due June 1. Most of the supporting documents are due July 15, but try to submit as many as possible along with the application itself.

(2) Verification of residency / certificate of completion is due July 15; be sure to check with your program to make sure you have fulfilled all of your obligations to get the letter out on time.

(3) Letters: You will need 3 letters of reference from physicians. One letter must be from a board certified PM physician. Use the template provided by ABPM to request letters: http://www.abprevmed.org/html/apply.htm.

(4) You also need a current medical license to apply for the exam. If you have not been previously licensed, be sure to start the process as soon as possible. If you’re concerned about obtaining the license in time to complete your ABPM application, be sure to communicate to ABPM that you have started the process and let them know when you expect to obtain the license. An unofficial resource that provides a rough estimate of turn-around time and cost associated with medical licensing in various states is included at the end of this section. If possible, you should try to get licensed in a state that has some bearing on your professional career or geographic location. If you are ever asked (for example in a job interview), it might not work in your favor to explain that you’re licensed in Alabama because it was cheap.

You may occasionally find outdated material on the ABPM website (www.abprevmed.org), or it may be difficult to find particular information. Direct links to the most important information are included in this document, and the ABPM staff is responsive to queries by phone or email. In addition, once your application is submitted, ABPM is good at keeping in touch regarding the status of your application and will send out regular updates.

The Examination

The exam consists of 300 questions administered in a single day. The morning “core examination” consists of 150 questions covering the basics of preventive medicine. The afternoon “specialty examination” consists of 150 questions that specifically cover OM, GPM/PH, or ASM topics depending on which exam you’ll be taking. 3 hours are allowed for each section (1m:12s per question). All questions are multiple choice with 4 possible responses and a single best choice. The clock does not stop at any time during either the morning or afternoon session; you may leave the testing room for a restroom break (or snack, etc.) but the timer will keep running. The clock only stops during lunch, for no more than 60 minutes between your morning and afternoon examination periods. These exam time limits are not included in the info document or study guide provided by ABPM. This information was obtained from the ABPM administrator by phone. Note: In 2005 the exam was 325 questions, with 175 in the morning (3.5 hours allotted -- 1m:12s per question) and 150 questions in the afternoon (3 hours allotted -- 1m:12s per question).

Once you have registered for the exam, you may access a computer program that lets you practice using the Pearson VUE interface. The practice questions are not all geared towards preventive medicine; the intent of the exercise is to allow you practice manipulating the features of the electronic exam, rather than to learn what types of questions may be asked. Be sure to practice using the computer exam program. You can also deduce certain information about the exam based on what you see in the program; for example, you will find that a calculator is available on the exam screen, but in 2005 it had only the basic four functions of arithmetic – it would not be reasonable to expect complex biostatistics calculations to be required for any exam questions.

During the exam you will be provided with a single dry erase board and marker. No materials for erasing are provided; instructions are to request a new board when you have no space left. You will also find that the computer exam program allows you to type notes for any question you choose, and you can refer back to these notes; however, your computer notes from the morning session will not be preserved for the afternoon session.

Preparation and Review Course

Once your ABPM application has been accepted be sure to schedule your exam as soon as possible. Significant changes have been made in 2006 to avoid problems that have been experienced in previous years regarding test center availability, etc. Nonetheless, it is advisable to schedule your exam as quickly as possible in order to improve your chance of getting a seat at your preferred test center location. If you are having trouble with test center availability, be sure to contact ABPM; they are aware this has been an issue in the past and are eager to help resolve any problems.

The first step in preparing for the exam is to enroll in the board review course sponsored by ACPM. The course is $699 for APMR/ACPM members (regular price is $849); a portion of the course is offered as a “weekend refresher” that costs $349 for members (regular price is $449). You can also choose to buy only the syllabus materials, which cost $295 in 2005. You can find registration information for the course online: http://www.acpm.org/review.htm.

The ACPM review course is the only comprehensive product on the market that is available for ABPM exam preparation. The primary advantage of the course is that it will direct your studying towards topics that are frequently covered on the exam. The ACPM review course is your best first tool for preparing for the ABPM exam, but do not expect a product of the caliber of professional education outfits like Princeton Review or Kaplan.

Several available books and other materials are useful for studying, although none is adequate alone and none has sample test questions that are representative of the ABPM exam.

(1) Last JM, editor. A Dictionary of Epidemiology. 4th ed. United States: Oxford University Press; 2001. ISBN 0195141695. You may only use this occasionally, but it is an excellent reference – especially helpful at “translating” jargon used by different instructors who may (or may not) be talking about the same thing.

(2) Jekel JF, Katz DL, Elmore JG. Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine. 2nd ed. United States: WB Saunders Company; 2001. ISBN 0721690793. Useful supplement to ACPM review course, especially biostatistics section. There are some multiple choice practice questions provided, but they are not of the same caliber of question that is presented on the ABPM exam. Well-written, clear, and up-to-date.

(3) Cassens BJ. Preventive Medicine and Public Health. 2nd ed. United States: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 1992. ISBN 068306262X. Lots of questions, but some may be outdated. Probably only useful if you prefer to study from an outline-format text.

(4) Ratelle S. Preventive Medicine and Public Health: PreTest Self-Assessment and Review. 9th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill; 2001. ISBN 0071359621. Designed as a review for USMLE step 2. Lots of questions; may be useful for review.

(5) Hart RH. A USMLE Step 2 Review: Preventive Medicine and Public Health, 1st ed. United States: Appleton and Lange; 1996. ISBN 0838563198. Similar to Ratelle’s book.

(6) Flash Tables. At the ACPM board review course in 2005, a product called “Flash Tables” was for sale, authored by Philip Curd in 2000. Some information is outdated, but selected tables and grids are useful.

(7) Other resources: several websites have information that will be up-to-date and relevant to the exam. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, 2005. Pocket Guide available online; provides succinct overview of most important topics and recommendations. Order a copy for free or download the PDF: http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/pocketgd.htm. CDC has many materials that provide the best information on topics that will be tested. For example, charts with the leading causes of death: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/osp/charts.htm

ABPM itself has a study guide that is useful and includes 4 sample questions that accurately reflect the actual exam questions. It also includes an outline of exam content, which is very important for directing your studying and also helps clarify what language the exam uses when it comes to various techniques or approaches that may be known by different names (e.g. in biostatistics). You can access the guide online: http://www.abprevmed.org/html/studyguide.pdf.

It may or may not be useful to use your in-service results as a guideline for studying. There is no robust data that demonstrates a useful correlation between in-service scores and ABPM exam scores.

Medical Licensing by State

State -- Fee -- Notes

Alabama -- $270 -- 8 weeks processing time

Alaska -- $840 -- 8-12 weeks processing time

Arkansas -- $500 -- 4-6 weeks processing time

Arizona -- $500 -- There's also a prorated license fee

California -- $530 -- 6-8 weeks processing time

Colorado -- $425 -- After May 1, must pay fee AGAIN

Connecticut -- $450

DC -- $546 -- 2-4 weeks processing time; Board meets last Wed of every month, must have ALL paperwork in by 1 week before Board meets

Delaware -- $245 -- Must interview with Board.

Florida -- $552

Georgia -- $400 -- 6-8 weeks processing time

Idaho -- $446 -- Personal interview may be required

Illinois -- $300

Indiana -- $250

Kansas -- $300 -- Board is called "The Kansas Board of Healing Arts"

Kentucky -- $250 -- 3 weeks processing time

Louisiana -- $382 -- Must interview with Board

Mass. -- $600 -- 8-12 weeks processing time

Maryland -- $817

Maine -- $700

Michigan -- $150 -- 4-6 weeks processing time

External links

  Results from FactBites:
GoArmy.com > Careers & Jobs > Preventive Medicine Specialist (68S) (269 words)
Preventive medicine is integral to maintaining the health and well-being of all Army Soldiers and personnel.
Preventive Medicine Specialists are the central members of the Medical Services Corps Preventive Medicine Sciences team, which is charged with studying and preventing the spread of disease and infection within the Army.
Preventive Medicine Specialists are primarily responsible for conducting or assisting with preventive medicine inspections, surveys and preventative medicine laboratory procedures.
Preventive medicine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (304 words)
Generally speaking, preventive medicine (often mis-spelled and mis-pronounced "preventative medicine") is that part of medicine engaged with preventing disease rather than curing it.
In the United States, preventive medicine is a medical specialty, one of the 24 recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
Undersea and hyperbaric medicine (UHB), formerly "undersea medicine"
  More results at FactBites »



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