American College of Surgeons Releases Interactive Surgical Care Timeline to Celebrate 100th Anniversary

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American College of Surgeons kicks off its year-long centennial celebration with launch of comprehensive and colorful 100th anniversary interactive timeline, which chronicles ACS’s rich history and ongoing impact on inspiring quality surgical care.

100 years of Surgical Care Timeline

ACS 100th Anniversary Interactive Timeline

The Chicago-based American College of Surgeons (ACS) is kicking off a year-long celebration to commemorate its Centennial by unveiling an interactive online timeline that chronicles 100 years of inspiring quality in surgical care. The timeline provides a colorful and engaging decade-by-decade history of ACS and incorporates more than 90 milestones over the past century with more than 140 photos, images and videos. It was officially launched today at ACS’s annual Clinical Congress which runs from September 30 to October 4, at McCormick Place (West).

The timeline describes how a century ago, North American physicians worked in an unregulated, overcrowded, highly competitive and sometimes unethical medical environment marred by high infection rates, scant blood supplies, crude tools, and lax surgical practice standards. From this environment, ACS, a scientific and educational association of surgeons, was formed in 1913 in Chicago to improve the quality of care for the patient. Today, ACS has approximately 78,000 members, and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

“Our mission from the very beginning has been to improve the quality of care for patients by setting high standards for surgical education and practice,” said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, executive director of ACS. “This timeline captures in colorful detail the role that surgeons have played over the past century in diagnosing, treating, and managing diseases and conditions once thought intractable. Many of these surgeons were pioneers in the truest sense of the word and their relentless commitment to improving surgical care continues to serve as an important example for all of us.”

Aside from featuring advances such as the founding of the Joint Commission (formerly Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations), and the Committee on Trauma, the creation of the balloon catheter and the hip implant, the first fetal and robot-assisted operations and how medicine and surgery has been portrayed in popular culture such as in TV and films, the timeline also highlights the fascinating individuals instrumental in surgery and in the ACS:

  •     Franklin Martin, MD, FACS, the influential and controversial founder and long-time leader of ACS.
  •     Ernest Codman, MD, FACS, the pioneer of the “end-results idea” in surgery, and a guiding light of the health care quality movement.
  •     Harvey Cushing, MD, FACS, a prominent figure in World War I medicine and “father of neurosurgery” whose patients’ brains are on display at the Yale Medical Library.
  •     The balloon-tipped catheter developed in 1961 by Thomas J. Fogarty, MD, FACS, while a medical student, who used his boyhood fly-tying kit to attach the fingertip of a latex surgical glove to a hollow tube.
  •     The first organ implant in 1954 by Joseph E. Murray, MD, FACS, transplanting a kidney from one twin to another to avoid auto-immune rejection issues – a feat that helped him win the Nobel Prize.
  •     The first fetal operation in 1981 by Michael R. Harrison, MD, FACS, a procedure he said was considered “shocking” at the time.
  •     Charles Drew, MD, PhD, who developed mass production techniques, including adapting cream separators from dairy farms for use in producing plasma, to stockpile plasma at the outset of World War II (1941).

Serving as a companion to the online interactive timeline is a large, oversized educational exhibit that will be prominent at Clinical Congress. Called “100 Years of Inspiring Quality—An Interactive Timeline,” the exhibit also features a look at the accomplishments of the past century in surgery.

Other special events occurring at Clinical Congress to call attention to the Centennial are:

  •     ACS is releasing a new hardcover history book, “A Century of Surgeons and Surgery: The American College of Surgeons, 1913-2012,” by David L. Nahrwold, MD, FACS and Peter J. Kernahan, MD, PhD, FACS. Both authors will be at the event to sign copies of the book.
  •     ACS is also distributing a Centennial magazine publication that contains a collection of articles on the evolution of surgical practice over the past century. The nearly 30 authors write from their hearts and minds on a spectrum of surgical achievements as well as select ACS contributions to the surgical profession.
  •     Three panel discussions are being held during the event that focus on the surgery profession’s remarkable history. The panel topics are: The Founders of Private Clinics and the Early History of the ACS; Nobel-Prize-Winning Surgeons; and the Committee on Trauma of the ACS: Past, Present and Future.

In addition, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel have declared September 30 to October 4 to be “American College of Surgeons Days” in the state and city. In the proclamation, Quinn and Emmanuel encouraged “all Illinoisans to be aware of how the American College of Surgeons’ achievements have significantly influenced the course of surgery in America and around the world, and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients.”

About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the care of the surgical patient. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 78,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit

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