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What is an Internist?

An internist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) who has completed medical school and additional years of specialized training in the diagnosis, treatment  and prevention of medical disorders that affect adult men and women.

Internists provide lifelong care for their patients, from an office or clinic, during hospitalization and intensive care, and in nursing homes. When other medical specialists are involved, such as surgeons or obstetricians, internists coordinate their patient's care and manage any difficult medical problems that may be arise.

Internists focus their practice either on general internal medicine or they may take additional training to "subspecialize" in one of thirteen medical specialties. Gastrenterologists, for example, are doctors of internal medicine who subspecialize in gastrointestinal diseases and disorders. Subspecialty training, known as a "fellowship", usually requires a few additional years after the standard three year general internal medicine residency.

Professional Internal Medicine Organizations

The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a national organization of internists – physicians who specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults. ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. Its membership of 129,000 includes internists, internal medicine subspecialists, and medical students, residents, and fellows.

For more than 70 years, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has stood for the highest standard in internal medicine and its 19 subspecialties and has meant that internists have demonstrated – to their peers and to the public – that they have the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for the delivery of excellent patient care. ABIM is not a membership society, but a non-profit, independent evaluation organization. Our accountability is both to the profession of medicine and to the public.