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

7 Things You Should Know about the American College of Surgeons

Are you a surgeon in residency, or planning to pursue a career in surgery? The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is the world’s largest professional scientific and educational association of surgeons, with more than 80,000 members. The College’s mission is to improve the care of the surgical patient, and to safeguard standards of care in an optimal and ethical practice environment. How do we do that? Here are seven things you should know about ACS that demonstrate key ways we’re helping our members strengthen the field of surgery and improve care for patients.

1. We’ve been helping hospitals improve quality and patient safety longer than anyone in the U.S.  


In fact, that’s one of the reasons why ACS was founded. The College first formed a committee whose focus was improving hospital quality during the 1912 ACS Clinical Congress. This group, the Hospital Standardization Program, ultimately became The Joint Commission in 1952.

Today, ACS continues to offer surgical quality and accreditation and verification programs, and many are the gold standard for quality, such as the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®), the Commission on Cancer, and the Committee on Trauma. We also offer bariatric and breast center accreditation programs and set standards for pediatric surgery centers.

2. The ACS offers education and training programs spanning the practice life of the surgeon.

Dr. Miller 

From medical school and residency to career transitions and leadership, ACS Education and Training programs help surgeons advance their careers, build new skills, transition into practice and become better surgeons, educators, leaders, researchers, and scholars. Courses, conferences, and web-based trainings are taught by top leaders in surgery. Look to ACS for ongoing education and training throughout your career.

3. The ACS Clinical Congress is one of the largest medical meetings in the world.


ACS’ annual scientific meeting, held each fall, is among the largest medical meetings according to the Healthcare Convention & Visitors Association. Last year, close to 9,000 surgeons attended Clinical Congress. The meeting includes nearly 300 sessions, with offerings for every surgical specialist.

4. Can’t make it to the meetings?  You can also connect with surgeons in one of the 99 communities ACS hosts online.

Building Community

Have a question about a procedure? Want to network with surgeons in your specialty? Have an interest in a nonclinical area (surgical history, humanitarian outreach, diversity)?  Seek out colleagues and make connections within the ACS Member Communities.

5. We serve as your voice to policymakers. But they want to hear from you, too.

 Dr. Hoyt in Washington, DC

The ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy actively engages Federal and state policymakers and regulators on key issues impacting the surgical profession and our patients. Payment reform, work hours, quality measures, safety, and liability reform are just a few of the issues we’ve been involved in in recent years.

You can get involved, too. Each spring the ACS hosts the Leadership and Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. The event allows you to hear about key issues on leadership and advocacy before sharing your opinion directly with legislators during visits to Capitol Hill. We also facilitate communication with your Congressperson or Senator in your state.

6. We can help connect you with opportunities to give back in your community or around the world.

 Operation Giving Back

Through Operation Giving Back (the ACS humanitarian outreach program) the ACS helps surgeons—from medical students and residents to retired surgeons—use their skills to help others.
Since the program was founded, surgeons have contributed their time and skills to helping others following tragedies such as the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina, as well as provide care for those who cannot afford quality surgical care. Find opportunities in your local community or help others in any region around the world.

7. There are countless reasons to join ACS.  We stopped counting at 100.

100 Reasons to Join ACS

Watch our video, “100 Years, 100 Reasons to Join” to learn more about why you should join ACS today. Networking, education and training, internationally recognized quality programs, and advocacy are just a few of the many benefits.

Now, are you ready to join?

Visit Become a Member to learn more and join. Visit one of our meetings, learn about our programs, and ask questions. We look forward to meeting you soon.