American College of Physicians

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The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a national organization of doctors of internal medicine (internists), physicians who specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults. With more than 119,000 members, ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States of America. ACP provides information and advocacy for its members as they practice internal medicine and related subspecialties. ACP members are also involved in medical education, research, and administration. Membership also includes medical students, residents, and fellows.

History and mission

The American College of Physicians’ stated mission is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine. It was founded in 1915 to promote the science and practice of medicine. In 1998, ACP merged with the American Society of Internal Medicine (ASIM), which was established in 1956 to study economic aspects of medicine. Known as ACP-ASIM from 1998 to 2003, the organization then re-adopted American College of Physicians as its corporate name.


ACP is governed by a Board of Regents elected by ACP members. The Board is advised by a network of ACP committees and by the ACP Board of Governors, which is composed of 79 elected Governors in chapters and regions of the United States, Canada, Central and South America, and Japan. ACP sponsors the Council of Subspecialty Societies, which represents 25 subspecialty societies and internal medicine organizations. ACP is represented in the American Medical Association, the Federated Council for Internal Medicine, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, and other organizations.


Levels of membership in ACP are Medical Student, Associate, Member, Fellow ("FACP"), Honorary Fellow, and Master ("MACP"). Fellowship and Mastership in ACP are the organization's way of noting outstanding achievement in internal medicine. Fellows are recommended by their peers, endorsed by their local chapter leadership, and reviewed by a national credentials subcommittee. Masters are nominated from among the Fellows of ACP for annual election to this highly selective group. ACP Affiliate membership is available to physician assistants (PAs) who are Fellow Members of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

With the exception of physician assistants, membership in ACP is restricted to physicians and medical students interested in internal medicine. Board certification in internal medicine is not required, however potential members must be "board eligible."

Internists complete a three-year internal medicine training program after medical school, focusing on how to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases primarily affecting adults. Subspecialty internists complete one to three years of additional training in such fields as cardiology, endocrinology, geriatrics, nephrology, gastroenterology, and infectious diseases.


Annals of Internal Medicine, published by ACP twice-monthly, is one of the most-cited medical journals in the world. ACP Journal Club summarizes important clinical articles for internists from more than 100 medical journals. ACP Observer is the organization's monthly newsmagazine for internists. ACP Medicine is a continually updated, evidence-based reference of internal medicine. ACP also publishes a variety of books about health care and medical practice.


ACP’s Washington, D.C. office monitors and responds to public policy issues that affect public health and the practice of medicine. Activities include development of policy statements and communication with legislative and administrative sectors of government.

The ACP Center for Ethics and Professionalism seeks to advance physician and public understanding of ethics and professionalism issues in the practice of medicine, in order to enhance patient care by promoting the highest ethical standards.

The ACP Foundation exists to support the mission of the American College of Physicians and to improve the health of the public through the creation and support of programs in education, research, service, and professionalism.

Education and information resources

ACP’s continuing medical education programs for internists include Annual Session, its national scientific meeting featuring more than 260 presentations; the Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program (MKSAP), now in its 13th edition; postgraduate board review courses; recertification courses; and chapter/regional meetings. For future internists, ACP provides education and career information, produces MKSAP for Students, and administers an In-Training Examination for residents.

ACP electronic information resources include PIER (Physicians’ Information and Education Resource), a Web-based decision-support tool that delivers evidence-based guidance to physicians in more than 400 modules, or clinical areas. Other resources include MKSAP 13 and MKSAP 13 Update; and a PDA Portal on its Web site. Clinical Skills Teaching Modules bring proven teaching techniques to classrooms.

The ACP Practice Management Center offers members information to assist them as they practice in today's health care environment. The Center offers practical written guides, practice management tools, and personalized advice. The Medical Laboratory Evaluation Program (MLE) offers proficiency testing for laboratories in the United States and abroad.

ACP also publishes the Doctors For Adults® patient education website for the public and provides free patient education brochures and videos/DVDs for physicians who wish to raise awareness and educate their patients and communities. All information on is reviewed by ACP physicians and contains no commercial endorsements.

In 2007, the ACP launched its Diabetes Portal, an interactive resource for patients and clinicians.

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