American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a national organization of internists, who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of adults. With 154,000 members, ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States, after the American Medical Association. Its flagship journal, the Annals of Internal Medicine, is considered one of the five top medical journals in the United States and Britain.
Founded in 1915, ACP's stated mission is to "enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine." In 1998, it merged with the American Society of Internal Medicine (ASIM). ASIM's focus on the economic, political, and social aspects of medical care both enlarged and complemented its mission.
The college is governed by a board of regents, the main policy-making body that oversees its business and affairs. The Board of Regents is made up of elected officers. The board of governors serves as an advisory board to the board of regents, along with a various councils and committees. The board of governors is composed of elected governors who implement projects and initiatives at a chapter level and represent member concerns at the national level. The board of governors is composed of elected governors in chapters and regions of the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.
Levels of membership are Medical Student, Associate, Member, Fellow (FACP), and Master (MACP). Fellowship and Mastership in ACP recognize outstanding achievement in internal medicine. Fellows are recommended by their peers, endorsed by their local chapter leadership, and reviewed by a national credentials subcommittee. Masters are nominated from among the Fellows of ACP for annual election to this group. Board certification in internal medicine is not required, though potential members must be "board eligible.
The Washington, D.C., office monitors and responds to public policy issues that affect public health and the practice of medicine. Activities include development of policy statements and communication with legislative and administrative sectors of government.
The High Value Care initiative aims to help patients receive the best possible care from physicians while reducing unnecessary costs to the healthcare system. The initiative includes clinical and public policy recommendations, curriculum, and resources for physicians. For patients, ACP offers resources about the benefits, harms, costs and treatments options for common clinical issues.
ACP develops several types of clinical recommendations, including Clinical Practice Guidelines, Guidance Statements, and Best Practice Advice papers. The different types of guidance are meant to be read differently. Guidelines are seen as the strongest recommendation, while guidance statements review existing guidance and best practice advice reviews available evidence.
In 2015, the ACP advocated for a public health approach to gun violence, supporting restrictions on automatic weapons, universal background checks, and legal mechanisms to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.