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History of ACOEP

On October 5, 1975 a small group of physicians met in Toledo, Ohio to develop the foundation for the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Medicine. The group composed a letter of intent to begin a specialty college, designed to serve the specialty of emergency medicine. The request to gain affiliate status was granted by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). At the 1975 AOA Convention, the group met with other physicians interested in the fledgling specialty and elected officers. The first officers elected to the AOA Board of Directors were: Bruce D. Horton, D.O., President; Anthony Gerbasi, D.O., Vice President; Richard Ballinger, D.O., Secretary; and Robert L. Hambrick, D.O., Treasurer. After three years of diligently working, the AOA recognized the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians in July 1978, issuing an official charter.

Four months later, in November 1978, the ACOEP held its first Scientific Assembly at the AOA Convention. Also later that year, the first Residency Standards for Training in Emergency Medicine were supplied to the AOA. These standards were approved by the AOA at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine; Detroit Osteopathic Hospital; Grand Rapids Osteopathic Hospital; and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in February 1979. The following July 1979, the first resident, Gerald E. Reynolds, D.O., began an osteopathic emergency medicine program at PCOM. That year, the AOA approved the creation of the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM).

The ACOEP office was moved from to Toledo to CCOM in 1980. Also in 1980, the AOA recognized and approved AOBEM as the certifying board for emergency medicine. The first written exam was given in 1981 and oral exam in 1982. In 1982, the residency paper competition was established and the ACOEP Board of Directors awarded the top papers. Also in 1982, the Board was increased from ten to twelve members.

1984 marked the first fellowship ceremony, with the Charter Fellows: Robert D. Aranosian, D.O.; Richard B. Ballinger, D.O.; John W. Becher, Jr., D.O.; James A. Budzak, D.O.; Donald D. Cucchi, D.O.; Anthony E. Gerbasi, D.O.; James F. Grate, D.O.; Robert L. Hambrick, D.O.; Bruce D. Horton, D.O.; and Edward J. Sarama, D.O.

A growing membership inspired the creation of a quarterly publication, The Pulse, in 1986 with David Brown, D.O., FACOEP as its original editor. It also became evident interest in the specialty field was booming. Now training more than 100 residents annually, students requested ways to become more involved during their third and fourth year of training. To help field their needs, the Student Chapter was formed in 1989, with Paula Willoughby as President.

To provide more in-depth training, the residency programs were increased from a two-year program to a three-year post-internship program in 1990. A special emphasis internship that provides interested interns a sample of the specialty was proposed to the AOA. Additionally, the proposal of a combined training program, Emergency Medicine/Internal Medicine, was developed and forwarded to the AOA's Committee on Postdoctoral Training. Both received the AOA's formal approval in 1991.

Bolstered by a the needs of a growing membership, the Board of Directors created the position of Adminstrator to run the College in conjuction with the Board in the spring/summer of 1992. The position was filled by Janice Wachtler on September 28, 1992. Coupled with the hiring of full-time personnel and the need for more space, the College moved its offices to the AOA building in October. That year, the Resdient Chapter was also formed, with Cary Schnieder, D.O. as President.

In 1993, the first AOA-Approved Emergency Medicine Residency Program was distributed to all Student Members of the College and sent to the Medical Libraries at Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. This guide provided the first in-depth look at the training and benefits offered by each osteopathic residency program. Also that year, the Scientific Seminar hosted the first CPC competition, an event that has grown tremendously since then. Then in 1994, the first Life Member, Anthony Gerbasi, D.O., FACOEP was inducted.

To assist the growing need for continuing medical education (CME) among the members, ACOEP began to increase its offerings. In April, the first offering of the Emergency Medicine: An Intense Review Course was held in conjunction with the Annual Spring Seminar. This CME Course has since become an annual course scheduled prior to the Part I and the Recertification exam offered by the AOBEM. The movement to add more and better offerings continued through the development of other preparatory courses, including the Review Course for the Oral Boards (1995); An Overview of Emergency Medical Services (1996), and Toxicology: An Intense Review (1999). These courses coincide with the creation of areas of Added Qualification in the areas of EMS and Toxicology. The optional afternoon programs at the Spring Seminar began in 1993, with workshops being offered for those physicians seeking more hands on experience in aspects of emergency medicine, or those seeking more in-depth knowledge of specific interest. In 1996, the College presented its first video taped series for 10 hours of CME credit. The series, Research in Emergency Medicine, was provided to each residency program as a mechanism to infuse research activities into the residency programs.

In 1996, the College hired an additional part-time person. The College then moved above the 1,000-member mark in 1997, swearing in its first Honorary Member, John Sevastos, D.O. also that year. In 1997, the College expanded again to take on its second full-time employee.