The ideas for the initiative originated throughout 2008/2009 in recognition of both the globalization of medicine and the recommendations of the Bologna Accord for the creation of a European Higher Education Area. Throughout these early years there were a series of meetings in Europe with a wider group, principally from the US National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and the US ECFMG who supported us in thinking through our role and focus. We were influenced by the history of how the NBME came into being in 1915, and struck by the similarity of the challenges they faced with those we knew we would encounter  in establishing EBMA. Later the NBME helped us by providing the means to deliver the first pilot for the EBMA knowledge test. The organisations are separate now but connected through a common commitment to excellence in assessment and personal friendships.

So, while affirming support for the general principles laid down in the Bologna Declaration, we recognized that there is a need to have common standards in assessing medical knowledge and clinical competence in order to establish a quality assurance framework throughout Europe.

And, with patients and doctors moving freely through multi-cultural Europe, it is important to improve the dependability of medical care regardless of in which country, and by which doctor, care is provided. Therefore, patient health and wellbeing and public confidence in the standards to be expected from medical practitioners were the primary drivers for our initiative.