Medical Licensing and Discipline in America traces the evolution of the U.S. medical licensing system from its historical antecedents in the 18th and 19th century to its modern structure. David A. Johnson and Humayun J. Chaudhry provide an organizational history of the Federation of State Medical Boards within the broader context of the development of America’s state-based system. As the national organization representing the interests of the individual state medical boards, the Federation has been at the forefront of developments in licensing, discipline, and regulation impacting the medical profession, medical education, and health policy within the United States. The narrative shifts between micro- and macro-level developments in the evolution of America’s medical licensing system, blending national context with state-specific and Federation initiatives. For example, the book documents such milestones as the national shift toward greater public accountability by state medical boards as evidenced by California’s inclusion of public members on its medical board, New Mexico’s requirement for continuing medical education by physicians as a condition for license renewal and the Federation’s policy development work advocating for both initiatives among all state medical boards.
The book begins by examining the 18th and 19th century origins of the modern state-based medical regulatory system, including the reinstitution of licensing boards in the latter part of the 19th century and the early challenges facing boards, e.g., license portability, examinations, physician impostors, inter-professional tensions among physicians, etc. Medical Licensing and Discipline in America picks up the story of the Federation and its role in the major issue of licensing and discipline in the 20th century: uniformity in medical statute, evaluation of international medical graduates, nationally administered examinations for licensure, etc.