American College of Surgeons

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American College of Surgeons
ACS Logo.jpeg
AbbreviationACS or ACoS
FormationNovember 25, 1912; 108 years ago (1912-11-25)[1]
TypeProfessional association
Legal status501(c)(3)[2]
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois
  • United States
Official language
Valerie W. Rusch[3]
Beth H. Sutton[3]
David B. Hoyt[4]
SubsidiariesAmerican College of Surgeons Prof Assoc, ACSPA Surgeons PAC, American College of Surgeons Foundation, Surgeons Asset Management, ACS East Ontario LLC[2]
Revenue (2014)
Expenses (2014)$83,866,437[2]
Employees (2013)
Volunteers (2013)

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is an educational association of surgeons founded in 1912.[1][5] Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, it was founded by Frederic Atwood Besley, MD, FCAS, a military surgeon. 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.[6]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 group sold the Nickerson House which currently houses a museum of decorative arts, while the Murphy Auditorium was renovated and in June 2006 reopened as a venue for public events.[13] The ACS maintains ownership of the building.

Commission on Cancer[edit]

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.[14] Another of its recent actions was to help form the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer,[15] as well as the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.


The American College of Surgeons distributes numerous publications, including peer-reviewed journals. They include:[16]

  • The Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons, the monthly news magazine for its Fellows and other constituents
  • The Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS), a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal
  • Bulletin Brief, the College's weekly e-newsletter
  • Bulletin Advocacy Brief, the College's biweekly advocacy e-newsletter
  • Selected Readings in General Surgery, presenting the most useful journal articles for students and surgeons

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "American College of Surgeons". Corporation File Detail Report. Illinois Secretary of State. Accessed on May 13, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Tax". American College of Surgeons. Guidestar. June 30, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "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. ^ a b 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. ^ a b "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. ^ Reid, Kerry (October 30, 2013). "Driehaus exhibit shows off the glory of Tiffany pieces". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  14. ^ "Cancer Program Standards (2016 Edition)". American College of Surgeons.
  15. ^ "About the Commission on Cancer". American College of Surgeons. Accessed on May 13, 2016.
  16. ^ "Publications". American College of Surgeons. Retrieved 30 Sep 2020.

External links[edit]