American College of Physicians
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The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a national organization of internal medicine physicians (internists)—specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. With 141,000 members, ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States.
Mission and History
ACP's 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, the main policy-making body that oversees the business and affairs of the College. The Board of Regents is made up of elected officers. The Board of Governors serves as an advisory board to the Board of Regents, along with a various councils and committees. The Board of Governors is composed of elected governors who implement projects and initiatives at a chapter level and represent member concerns at the national level. The Board of Governors is composed of elected Governors in chapters and regions of the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. ACP sponsors the Council of Subspecialty Societies, which is composed of representatives of internal medicine subspecialty societies and related organizations.
Levels of ACP membership are Medical Student, Associate, Member, Fellow (FACP), 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. Board certification in internal medicine is not required. However, potential members must be "board eligible."
Non-Physician Affiliate membership is available to licensed non-physician health care professionals working on a patient-care team led by an MD, DO, or a physician holding an internationally equivalent degree and who maintain their professional credentials to practice.
Internists complete a three-year internal medicine training program after medical school, focusing on how to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases primarily affecting adults. Those wishing to become subspecialty internists can then complete one to three years of additional training in such fields as cardiology, nephrology, hematology/oncology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, geriatric medicine, infectious diseases, and hepatology.
Publications and Products
The American College of Physicians distributes numerous publications and products to members. They include:
- Annals of Internal Medicine, the weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, in print twice per month and alternately online.
- ACP Internist, an award-winning monthly newspaper for internists.
- ACP Hospitalist, monthly newspaper written for those in hospital practice.
- ACP JournalWise, program that summarizes the most important medical articles from more than 120 medical journals around the world
- ACP’s Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program (MKSAP) gives internists the opportunity to test their knowledge and compare results with national averages. ACP also produces MKSAP for Students, and provides education and career information, and administers an In-Training Examination for residents.
- ACP Smart Medicine  is a clinical decision support tool for internal medicine that provides information and guidance on a range of diseases and conditions. Physicians can earn CME credit through the program. ACP Smart Medicine content from Annals of Internal Medicine, ACP JournalWise, and ACP clinical practice guidelines.
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.
ACP's Center for Ethics & 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 sixth edition of the ACP Ethics Manual was published in 2012.
ACP’s High Value Care initiative aims to help patients receive the best possible care from physicians while reducing unnecessary costs to the healthcare system. The initiative includes clinical and public policy recommendations, curriculum, and resources for physicians. For patients, ACP offers resources about the benefits, harms, costs and treatments options for common clinical issues.
Education and Information Resources
ACP supports the optimal practice of medicine by providing opportunities for continuing medical education. ACP medical education programs include its annual scientific meeting, Internal Medicine Meeting 2015, will be held April 30–May 2 in Boston.
ACP develops several types of clinical recommendations, including Clinical Practice Guidelines, Guidance Statements, and Best Practice Advice papers. ACP's goal is to provide clinicians with recommendations based on the best available evidence; to inform clinicians of when there is no evidence; and to help clinicians deliver the best health care possible.
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- American College of Physicians website
- MKSAP Online - the online version of the ACP's flagship self-assessment program