American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

About the American College of Surgeons

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The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice.


Members of the ACS are referred to as “Fellows.” The letters FACS (Fellow, American College of Surgeons) after a surgeon’s name mean that the surgeon’s education and training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have passed a rigorous evaluation, and have been found to be consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the College.

There is also another category of membership known as “Associate Fellow.” This category provides an opportunity for surgeons who are beginning surgical practice and who meet specific requirements to assume an active role in the College at an early stage in their careers.  The “Affiliate Member” category was created to provide education and other benefits for all who deal with surgical patients, but who are not surgeons.

The College currently has more than 82,000 members, including more than 57,000 Fellows in the U.S. and Canada and more than 7,000 Fellows in other countries, making it the largest organization of surgeons in the world.  The remaining members are in other membership categories including surgical residents, medical students, and affiliate members.

Major Activities of the College

The College administers an array of continuing medical education offerings reflecting technology advancements and distance-learning options and accredits simulation institutes that offer surgeons and surgical residents opportunities to learn new procedures and emerging technology.

The College accredits and verifies facilities through standard setting and rigorous review processes through its Commission on Cancer, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer, Trauma Center Verification Program, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, Children’s Surgery Verification Program, and Geriatric Surgery Verification Program. The new ACS Quality Verification Program has recently been introduced that will serve as a template for creating a surgical quality program at a hospital or across a hospital system or network.

With a focus on data, ACS works to improve the quality of surgical care by providing surgeons with the best scientific evidence available through the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program®, National Cancer Database, National Trauma Quality Improvement Program, and Surgeon Specific Registry.

ACS monitors and analyzes socioeconomic, legislative, and regulatory issues affecting the practice of surgery through its Division of Advocacy and Health Policy based in Washington, DC. The College participates in health policy development on these issues, prepares responses to Congress and federal agencies, and serves as a liaison between the ACS and Congress and federal agencies, as well as the offices of other surgical and medical associations.


The Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons is the College’s monthly news magazine for its Fellows and other constituents.  It contains articles that the surgeon finds helpful in the daily practice of his or her profession, columns and articles that highlight and analyze socioeconomic trends, major addresses given at the Clinical Congress, a news section, and detailed reports on College activities.  It is published in print and in an online magazine format.

The Journal of the American College of Surgeons, the College’s official scientific journal, is published monthly and currently is ranked 13th in “impact factor” among 200 scholarly surgical journals.

The ACS Bulletin Brief, the College’s weekly electronic newsletter provides updates on College news, programs, and activities, concise commentaries from ACS leaders, video interviews with health care leaders who impact surgical care around the world, and summaries of new crucial literature giving surgeons a heads up on the science they need to know.

The ACS manual known as the Red Book, Optimal Resources for Surgical Quality and Safety, builds on the College’s long tradition of developing successful quality programs for improving surgical care.  It introduces key concepts in quality, safety, and reliability and explores the essential elements that all hospitals should have in place to ensure patient-centered care. The new ACS Verification Program is based on the Red Book.

The College annually produces and publishes more than 200 other publications on a variety of topics that affect surgical practice, including clinical resources, manuals that focus on ways of improving surgical practice, guidelines for trauma and cancer care, and surgical patient education materials.

The College’s website——provides members, the public, and other interested nonmembers with access to information about the College and the practice of surgery with extensive content that a wide variety of site visitors find informative.

Administration of the College

The College is governed by a 23-member Board of Regents that is elected by a geographically balanced and specialty-representative Board of Governors.

On the local level, Fellows of the College are organized into 114 chapters: currently, there are 67 domestic chapters and 47 international chapters. The College has numerous committees whose members are top surgical specialists in their fields.  These committees study particular aspects of surgery and make recommendations for improvement in these areas.

College Officials

Executive Director: David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, Chicago, IL

Officers to take office on 10/4/2020:

President: J. Wayne Meredith, MD, FACS, Winston-Salem, NC
First Vice-President: H. Randolph Bailey, MD, FACS, FASCRS, Houston, TX
Second Vice-President: Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH, FACS, FASCO, New York, NY