The American College of Surgeons was founded in 1913 as a professional association devoted to the advancement of the science of surgery and the ethical and competent practice of its art. Over the next several decades, the College gradually prospered and grew; and membership in the organization became regarded as evidence that one's surgical competence and ethical standards, as judged by his peers, were of the highest caliber.

Our History

Began in Brooklyn 90 years ago

Some of the success and achievements of the ACS can be credited to the Brooklyn-Long Island Chapter which had its beginnings in Brooklyn ninety years ago in April, 1930, when Dr. John E. Jennings and Dr. Charles A. Gordon began negotiations with the College's Board of Regents to establish such a chapter. This proposal was a bold, entirely new concept for the College, and it was debated in numerous conferences at the central headquarters before it was finally approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents on December 9, 1930.

The Great Seal of the American College of Surgeons has been the official Insignia of the College since 1915. It is used on all official material and publications.

In 1915, the first Director of the College, Dr. John G. Bowman, urged the Regents and the Secretary, Dr. Franklin H. Martin to authorize a competition among Chicago artists for the design of a seal, to replace a simple rod and serpent used in the first yearbooks. The prized result has been in use ever since, without change.

Image courtesy of the Archives of the American College of Surgeons.

The official description of the Seal reads as follows: The tree is said to represent the tree of knowledge, appearing to shelter Aesculapius and the Indian Medicine Man. Aesculapius was a Greek god synonymous with healing. Aesculapius is draped in conventional Greek fashion, wears sandals and holds aloft, the rod and serpent, a common emblem of mystery and healing. The Indian Medicine Man, an important figure in most primitive societies, is garbed in a buffalo robe, and moccasins, with a white feather in his hair, a gourd rattle in one hand, and a skin medicine pouch, decorated with feathers and paint, at his side. These are typical of the native resources in America.

The words “American College of Surgeons” appear in a circle around the upper portion of the emblem. Below it appear the words “Founded in 1913” and “Omnibus per artem fidemque prodesse”: “To serve all with skill and fidelity.”

Founding Meeting

At the Chapter's founding meeting, officers were elected as well as a council, a Committee on Applicants, a Committee on Practice, and a Scientific Committee were appointed. The founders and officers recognized early that the Chapter could be of tremendous value to the local Fellows. Aside from sectional meetings and annual congresses, most Fellows seemed to feel that little was being done for them by the College itself. To offset this and to correct it, the Chapter's Scientific Committee began arranging almost immediately for field trips to various outstanding medical centers. This, then, was the beginning of continuing medical education and the enhancement of surgical knowledge and techniques.

Our Program

The American College of Surgeons had begun its Hospital Standardization Program in 1917, and for many years it sent surveyors across the nations to examine hospitals for quality of care. The program was an excellent, wholly unselfish project which had been developed in the public interest and was financed by the College through its practicing surgeons and offered without cost to the populace. Faced by rising costs and the interests of other groups who sought a role in the standardization of hospitals, the College relinquished this important task to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals in 1955.

In 1955, on petition to the Board of Regents, the Brooklyn-Long Island Chapter was granted Charter No. 1 by the College on August 6, 1951.

In 1972, the Chapter organized it Young Surgeons program, consisting of all Fellows less than 45 years of age.