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The History of the American College of Cardiology

The era after World War I in the United States saw an increase in the incidence of coronary heart disease, resulting in a rapid growth of the number of physicians caring for patients with cardiovascular diseases. This was also a time when many physicians with foreign (European) education and experience came to America to live and practice. Recognizing a need for a professional association to help cardiologists continually improve the care they gave patients, Dr. Franz Groedel, active in the New York Cardiological Society, founded the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in 1949. Max Miller, an attorney, was actually the first president of the College, and was succeeded by Dr. Groedel. From the outset membership was open to "professional men and women actively engaged in practice or research relating to diseases of the heart and circulation." The first annual scientific session of the ACC was held in New York on 6 November 1951, with 275 physicians attending. These meetings have grown in scope and size ever since, with 14,000 physicians and scientists having attended the most recent session in Atlanta.

The ACC membership now consists of adult cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, pediatric cardiologists and scientists working in the cardiovascular field. There are approximately 34,000 members in the ACC, 65% of whom are practicing cardiologists. Fellows of the College can use the appellation FACC, which denotes both their election to that status within the college and recognition they have successfully completed the specialty training and examination in cardiovascular diseases by the American Board.

In Oregon, an official chapter of the National ACC was formed in 1986 to give Oregon cardiologists local representation and voice, and to help local practicing cardiologists more readily access the programs and efforts of the National organization. Dr. John McAnulty was the founding and first president of the Oregon Chapter. Today, our Chapter is led by Dr. Mike Widmer, a cardiologist in Bend, Oregon.

The College continues to stress the importance of continuing education and to make that education available to practicing doctors. The college membership is active in recommending standards of care through guidelines for physicians, and has taken an active role in contributing to policy formation at both the national and local (state) levels of government. Issues of current emphasis in the policy arena are (1) access to specialty care for all Americans, (2) cessation of smoking through supportive legislation, and (3) continued funding of research.

In harmony with our parent organization, the American College of Cardiology, the Oregon Chapter of ACC seeks to promote common professional interests in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. These common interests include establishing two-way communication with and educating the general public, public officials, and legislators, promoting quality in cardiovascular medicine and patient care, and facilitating patient access to specialty care.

The American College of Cardiology is the predominant specialty society of cardiovascular physicians, surgeons, and scientists in the United States. There are currently 126 Fellows in the Oregon Chapter. This membership falls into three categories:

* Fully trained specialists who have completed the specialty certification examination, have met the other membership criteria of service and professonal behavior, and have thus been elected to the College.
* Associate Fellows, who are qualified for but have not as yet completed the certification examination.
* Affiliates who are currently in the process of completing specialty training.

The stated goals of the Oregon Chapter are as follows:

* To remain the primary professional organization for all cardiovascular specialists within the state.
* To promulgate guidelines for practice and quality improvement in cardiovascular medicine.
* To provide quality programs of continuing education for cardiovascular health professionals.
* To advise state government and its agencies proactively about issues that have a potential effect on cardiovascular care delivery.
* To promote cost effectiveness in cardiovascular research through information sharing.

To View a Copy of the Oregon ACC's Bylaws, please click here.



Oregon Chapter, American College of Cardiology
PO Box 55424

Portland, OR 97238
Phone: (503) 345-9294
Fax: (360) 256-5597
www.cardiologyinoregon.org
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