The Michigan Board of Medicine was originally formed with the enactment of Public Act 237 of 1899. This act provided for the examination, regulation, licensing and registration of physicians and surgeons in the State of Michigan, and for the discipline of offenders against the Act. On January 8, 1974, a new Medical Practice Act, Public Act 185 of 1973, became effective. This Act continued in effect until September 30, 1978, when the Board's authority was transferred to the Public Health Code, Public Act 368 of 1978, as amended.

The practice of medicine, as defined in the Public Health Code, means the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, cure or relieving of a human disease, ailment, defect, complaint, or other physical or mental condition, by attendance, advice, device, diagnostic test, or other means, or offering, undertaking, attempting to do, or holding oneself out as able to do, any of these acts.

The Public Health Code mandates certain responsibilities and duties for a health professional licensing board. Underlying all duties is the responsibility of the board to promote and protect the public's health, safety, and welfare. This responsibility is implemented by the Board by ascertaining minimal entry level competency of medical doctors, and requiring continuing medical education during licensure. The Board also has the obligation to take disciplinary action against licensees who have violated the Michigan Public Health Code.

The Michigan Board of Medicine consists of 19 voting members: 10 medical doctors, 1 physician's assistant, and 8 public members.