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Advocacy Toolkit: Modernizing License and Credentialing Applications to Not Stigmatize Mental Health

Published 1/21/2022 | Updated 9/22/2022

In 2018, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) adopted a policy recommending that state boards approach physician wellness and burnout from a nonpunitive perspective, evaluating whether it is necessary to ask probing questions about mental health, addiction, or substance use, particularly in the applicant's past.

Included in this toolkit are tools and resources that clinicians can use to advocate for organizations and state medical boards to change or remove inappropriate medical licensing and application questions that perpetuate the stigma about receiving mental health care or having a mental health diagnosis, that may result in physicians not receiving care.

Please contact with questions or for additional resources.


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  2. Dyrbye  LN, West  CP, Sinsky  CA, Goeders  LE, Satele  DV, Shanafelt  TD.  Medical licensure questions and physician reluctance to seek care for mental health conditions.   Mayo Clin Proc. 2017;92(10):1486-1493.
  3. James T.R. Jones, Carol S. North, Suzanne Vogel-Scibilia, Michael F. Myers, Richard R. Owen. Medical Licensure Questions About Mental Illness and Compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. J of the Am Acad of Psych and the Law Online Dec 2018, 46 (4) 458-471; DOI: 10.29158/JAAPL.003789-18
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  8. Barrett, E., Hingle, S. T., Smith, C. D., & Moyer, D. V. (2021). Getting Through COVID-19: Keeping Clinicians in the Workforce. Annals of internal medicine, 174(11), 1614–1615.
  9. Candilis PJ, Kim DT, Sulmasy LS, for the ACP Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee.  Physician impairment and rehabilitation: reintegration into medical practice while ensuring patient safety: a position paper from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2019;170:871-9.
  10. DeCamp M, Levine M, for the ACP Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee. Physician suicide prevention and the ethics and role of a healing community: an American College of Physicians policy paper. J Gen Intern Med. 2021;36:2829-35.