Arthur Dean Bevan, MD, FACS, a founder of the American College of Surgeons, was an early colleague and sometime critic of ACS founder Franklin H. Martin, MD, FACS, during their overlapping careers in Chicago. Dr. Bevan is probably best known for his four-decades-long career at Rush Medical College and his association with the American Medical Association (AMA). In 1904, he was appointed as the first chair of the AMA Council on Medical Education and held the position until 1928, demonstrating his life-long interest in and commitment to medical education
Beginning in 1883, Dr. Bevan and Dr. Martin were colleagues in the Chicago Southside Medico-Social Society, as recent graduates of the Rush and the Chicago Medical Colleges. Dr. Bevan taught in Oregon for a few years before returning to Chicago in 1887 to become a professor of anatomy, a position from which he rose to become the Nicholas Senn Professor of Surgery and head of Rush’s department of surgery. His career at Rush and with Rush Presbyterian Hospital lasted for over four decades.
As president of the AMA during the first World War years (1917-1918), Dr. Bevan opposed the AMA’s involvement in the hospital standardization movement and the recruitment of physicians to join the Volunteer Medical Service Corps, two of Dr. Martin’s campaigns. Dr. Bevan did, however, serve in the US Surgeon General’s Office in Washington, DC, and was honored by being appointed as an officer of the Legion of Honor of France for his work in the war effort. A founder of the American Board of Surgery, and president of the American Surgical Association (1932), Dr. Bevan was a much respected and influential surgeon throughout his career.
Dr. Bevan’s research and discoveries are documented in dozens of publications. His research extended beyond his specialty of urological surgery to subjects such as spinal injuries, cancer, and anesthesia.
ACS Archives Highlights is a series showcasing the vibrant history of the American College of Surgeons, its members, and the history of surgery. For further information on our featured highlights, search the Archives Catalog or contact the ACS Archivist.