American College of Surgeons

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American College of Surgeons
ACS Logo.jpeg
AbbreviationACS or ACoS
FormationNovember 25, 1912;107 years ago (1912-11-25) [1]
Type Professional association
36-2192800 [2]
Legal status 501(c)(3) [2]
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
  • United States
Official language
Ronald V. Maier [3]
Gerald M. Fried [3]
David B. Hoyt [4]
Subsidiaries American College of Surgeons Prof Assoc, ACSPA Surgeons PAC, American College of Surgeons Foundation, Surgeons Asset Management, ACS East Ontario LLC [2]
Revenue (2014)
$108,526,895 [2]
Expenses (2014)$83,866,437 [2]
Endowment $231,379,060 [2]
Employees (2013)
375 [2]
Volunteers (2013)
250 [2]

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is an educational association of surgeons founded in 1912. [1] [5] Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the ACS provides membership for doctors worldwide specializing in surgery who pass a set of rigorous qualifications.



The ACS is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1912 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice. [5]


Frederic Atwood Besley was the founder of the ACS. Besley, Frederic Atwood (1868-1944) CIPB2056.jpg
Frederic Atwood Besley was the founder of the ACS.

Members of the ACS are referred to as "Fellows." Members abbreviate their membership status in the ACS by using the letters "FACS" (Fellow, American College of Surgeons). Those letters after a surgeon's name mean that the surgeon's education and training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have passed a rigorous evaluation, and have been found to be consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the College.

The College recognizes fourteen surgical specialties: cardiothoracic surgery, colon and rectal surgery, general surgery, gynecology and obstetrics, gynecologic oncology, neurological surgery, ophthalmic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthopaedic surgery, otorhinolaryngology, pediatric surgery, plastic and maxillofacial surgery, urology, and vascular surgery.

"Associate Fellow" is another category of ACS membership. Associate Fellowship provides an opportunity for surgeons who are beginning surgical practice and who meet specific requirements to assume an active role in the ACS at an early stage in their careers. In order to provide education and other benefits for allied professionals who deal with surgical patients, but who are not surgeons, the "Affiliate Member" category was created.

Currently, there are more than 82,000 members, including more than 70,000 Fellows in the U.S. and Canada and more than 6,600 Fellows in other countries, which makes the ACS the largest organization of surgeons in the world. There are presently more than 3,200 Associate Fellows. [7]

Patricia L. Turner, MD, FACS, became the director of the Division of Member Services in 2011. [8]


Twenty-two members make up a board of regents that governs the ACS. The board of regents is selected by an elected board of governors representing different specialties and geographical locations (the number of governors is based on the amount of Fellows in a region). While the board of regents is an administrative body, the board of regents serve as the representative body of the ACS between Fellows and the board of regents. [9]

Within the ACS are numerous committees and advisory councils, studying and serving as a liaison for different specialties and aspects of the surgical profession. [10] [11] Examples include the Committee on Trauma, the Patient Education Committee, and the Advisory Council on General Surgery.

As of 2019 there are 113 chapters into which ACS Fellows are organized: 65 chapters in the United States, 2 in Canada, and 46 in other countries around the world. [7]

Major activities

Through its Inspiring Quality initiative, the ACS drives awareness of its quality improvement programs such as the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) and ACS NSQIP Pediatric. The initiative is intended to enable the College to have a dialogue and work together with health care leaders around the nation, to continue to have a tremendous impact on improving surgical care, and to lead our health care system in the right direction.

By administering myriad continuing medical education offerings, reflecting technology advancements and distance-learning options; accrediting simulation institutes that offer surgeons and surgical residents opportunities to learn new procedures and emerging technology; and providing surgeons with opportunities to record and obtain information they need for American surgical specialty board Maintenance of Certification requirements, the College "promotes high quality educational programs designed to educate surgeons and directly improve the health and safety of surgical patients."

By means of standard setting and rigorous review processes through its Commission on Cancer, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer, Committee on Trauma, and Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, the American College of Surgeons accredits and verifies facilities to help ensure that surgical patients get high-quality care.

In an effort to provide surgeons with the best scientific evidence available through evidence-based data, ACS works to improve the quality of surgical care through the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, National Cancer Data Base, National Trauma Data Bank, and Trauma Quality Improvement Program.

ACS monitors and analyzes socioeconomic, legislative, and regulatory issues affecting the practice of surgery through its Division of Advocacy and Health Policy based in Washington, DC, and the ACS Professional Association. The College participates in health policy development on these issues, prepares responses to Congress and federal agencies, and serves as a liaison between the ACS and Congress and federal agencies, as well as the offices of other surgical and medical associations regarding health policy matters of importance to surgeons and surgical patients.

The Murphy Auditorium

The Nickerson Mansion was the College's headquarters from 1919 to 1963 -- it also built the Murphy Memorial Auditorium (right) , which it still owns Nickerson Mansion and Murphy Auditorium.jpg
The Nickerson Mansion was the College's headquarters from 1919 to 1963 -- it also built the Murphy Memorial Auditorium (right) , which it still owns

In 1919, the headquarters of the ACS were a former private residence at 40 East Erie Street near downtown Chicago, the Samuel M. Nickerson House. In 1923, on property adjacent to the Nickerson House, the ACS commissioned the creation of the John B. Murphy Memorial Auditorium from the architectural firm of Marshall and Fox. [12] By 2003, the organization grew larger than the space provided by these two buildings and moved to the present location at 633 N. Saint Clair. The Nickerson House was sold and later served as a museum, while the Murphy Auditorium was renovated and in June 2006 reopened as a venue for public events. The ACS maintains ownership of the building.

Commission on Cancer

The American College of Surgeons established the Commission on Cancer (CoC) in 1922 to develop standards for treating cancer. In 2016, the CoC began working to ensure a patient-centered standard of care across programs. [13] Another of its recent actions was to help form the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer. [14]


The American College of Surgeons distributes numerous publications, including peer-reviewed journals. They include:

See also

Related Research Articles

General surgery medical specialty

General surgery is a surgical specialty that focuses on abdominal contents including esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, appendix and bile ducts, and often the thyroid gland. They also deal with diseases involving the skin, breast, soft tissue, trauma, Peripheral artery disease and hernias and perform endoscopic procedures such as gastroscopy and colonoscopy.

Trauma center type of hospital

A trauma center is a hospital equipped and staffed to provide care for patients suffering from major traumatic injuries such as falls, motor vehicle collisions, or gunshot wounds. A trauma center may also refer to an emergency department without the presence of specialized services to care for victims of major trauma.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a surgical specialty focusing on the oral cavity, reconstructive surgery of the face, head and neck, mouth, and jaws, as well as facial cosmetic surgery and facial trauma surgery. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to recognize and treat a wide spectrum of diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. They are trained to treat problems such as the extraction of wisdom teeth, misaligned jaws, tumors and cysts of the jaw and mouth, head and neck cancer, and to perform dental implant surgery. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to administer general anesthesia and deep sedation and are licensed to do so in a hospital or office setting.

Prosthodontics, also known as dental prosthetics or prosthetic dentistry, is the area of dentistry that focuses on dental prostheses. It is one of 12 dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA), Royal College of Surgeons of England, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons of Glasgow, Royal College of Dentists of Canada, and Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons. The ADA defines it as "the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes."

Surgical technologist profession

A surgical technologist, also called a scrub, scrub tech, surgical technician, or operating room technician, is an allied health professional working as a part of the team delivering surgical care. Surgical technologists are members of the surgical team. The members of the team include the surgeon, surgeon's assistant, circulator nurse and anesthesia provider (anesthesiologist). They possess knowledge and skills in sterile and aseptic techniques. There are few mandatory professional requirements for surgical technologists, and the scope of practice varies widely across countries and jurisdictions. Surgical technologists attend junior colleges and technical schools, and many are trained in military schools. In the military they perform the duties of both the circulator and the scrub. The goal is for surgical technologists to be able to anticipate the next move the surgeon is going to make in order to make the procedure as smooth and efficient as possible. They do this by having knowledge of hundreds of surgical procedures and the steps the surgeon needs to take in order to complete the procedure, including the very wide range of surgical instruments they may need. Specialties can include, but are not limited to, the following: genitourinary, obstetrics and gynaecology, urology, ENT, plastics, general, orthopedics, neurology, and cardiovascular. They only work in surgical or perioperative areas and are highly specialized.

Josef E. Fischer, M.D. is an American surgeon, scientist, and professor at Harvard Medical School.

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The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program was started in the American Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In the mid-1980s the VHA was criticized for their high operative mortality. To that end, Congress passed Public Law 99-166 in December 1985 which mandated the VHA to report their outcomes in comparison to national averages and the information must be risk-adjusted to account for the severity of illness of the VHA surgical patient population. In 1991 the National VA Surgical Risk Study (NVASRS) began in 44 Veteran's Administration Medical Centers. By 31 December 1993 there was information for 500,000 non-cardiac surgical procedures. In 1994 NVASRS was expanded to all 128 HVA hospitals that performed surgery. The name was then changed to the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

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J. Michael Henderson American surgeon

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National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer

The National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC) was formed to address the differences between patient outcomes in the United States as compared to Europe. According to the American College of Surgeons, outcomes for rectal cancer patients in Europe have for years been significantly better than for those in the U.S. Characterized by the use of multidisciplinary teams to make treatment decisions, the NAPRC standards aim to decrease the average circumferential resection margins, decrease the overall colostomy rate, and increase quality of life as reported by recovering patients.

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David B. Hoyt MD, FACS is the Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons.


  1. 1 2 "American College of Surgeons". Corporation File Detail Report. Illinois Secretary of State. Accessed on May 13, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Tax". American College of Surgeons. Guidestar. June 30, 2014.
  3. 1 2 "Board of Regents". American College of Surgeons. Accessed on April 16, 2019.
  4. "Executive Staff". American College of Surgeons. Accessed on May 13, 2016.
  5. 1 2 American College of Surgeons Online - "What is the American College of Surgeons?"
  6. "Frederic Atwood Besley, MD, FACS, 1868-1944". American College of Surgeons. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  7. 1 2 "About ACS". American College of Surgeons. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  8. "Patricia L. Turner, MD, FACS, Named Director of ACS Member Services". American College of Surgeons. October 6, 2011.
  9. American College of Surgeons (31 October 2012). "American College of Surgeons: Considerations for the Selection of Candidates For the Board of Governors" . Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  10. American College of Surgeons (25 June 2012). "Advisory Councils for the Surgical Specialties" . Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  11. American College of Surgeons (25 January 2013). "Committees of the American College of Surgeons" . Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  12. The Murphy Chicago (2013). "John B. Murphy Memorial Auditorium" . Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  13. "Cancer Program Standards (2016 Edition)". American College of Surgeons.
  14. "About the Commission on Cancer". American College of Surgeons. Accessed on May 13, 2016.