Controlled medical vocabularies are useful in application areas such as medical information-systems and decision-support. However, such vocabularies are large and complex, and working with them can be daunting. It is important to provide a means for orienting users to the vocabulary's contents. This paper introduces a methodology for partitioning a vocabulary into small, meaningful pieces. The partitioning is done with respect to the vocabulary's IS-A hierarchy. The methodology, based on a set of rules for refining the IS-A hierarchy, is a process carried out by a user in conjunction with the computer. The methodology is demonstrated on a complex portion of a vocabulary.