This year’s observance of National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) Week, taking place April 18–24, 2021, will highlight the proud heritage of osteopathic medicine, celebrating the momentous contributions of DOs past, present and future. Join us as we recount some of the most notable moments in ACOFP history over the course of the week. In today’s edition, we will focus on certification and education milestones in osteopathic family medicine.


  • On February 11, eight osteopathic physicians from California found the American College of General Practitioners in Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (ACGPOMS) and are named to its inaugural Board of Directors. In addition to the eight officers, four “at large” members are added to the Board, for a total of 12. 


  • ACGPOMS is now referred to in the profession as the American College of General Practitioners (ACGP).


  • AOA formally recognizes hospital departments of general practice, paving the way for potential general practice residencies.
  • ACGP’s first official national medical education meeting is held in the summer in Des Moines, Iowa.


  • The “California Merger” movement attempts to absorb all of California’s DO population through amalgamation by offering an MD designation (in California) in exchange for their DO degrees. In July, AOA’s House of Delegates votes to legally challenge the California degree exchange and amalgamation. A small group of California DOs—led by ACGP member Ethan Allen, DO, FACGP, and others—sue in California State Court to reverse the intended action of the California “Merger.” The case eventually moves forward to the California Supreme Court. ACGP loses hundreds of members, as well as many of its founders and icons, due to the “California Merger” and the conversion of nearly 2,400 DO degrees to the California issued MD designation.


  • ACGP moves its operations from California to Chicago, Illinois.
  • ACGP creates a panel to accredit educational programs for its members’ educational requirements, beyond educational opportunities traditionally sponsored by AOA and others.
  • ACGP further expands its medical education programming by establishing a preceptor program for its student members.


  • ACGP seeks to establish general practice as a bona fide specialty within the osteopathic medical certification process. However, it is met with intense resistance from the members of the osteopathic certifying board, the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) and the Advisory Board to Osteopathic Specialist (ABOS), disputing that doctors could not specialize in “general” practice.


  • In February, the ACGP Board informs AOA of their intention to form an independent certifying board for family practice. After much acrimonious debate, the ACGP Board is granted permission to pursue an ACGP certifying entity.


  • The American Osteopathic Board of General Practitioners (AOBGP) is established as the certifying board for osteopathic general practitioners and elects Mancil Fish, DO, FACGP, as its first chairman.
  • AOBGP conducts its first certifying exam for general practitioners at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California, with 200 physicians completing the exam. Instrumental in all facets of making certification a reality, ACGP Immediate Past President T. Robert Sharp, DO, FACGP, is issued Certificate #1.


  • ACGP’s first residency program—headed by Residency Director Norman Jankowski, DO, FACGP—graduates its first resident in osteopathic general practice: James B. Donahue, DO.


  • On October 9, the groundbreaking ceremony takes place for ACGP’s permanent building in the northwest suburbs of Chicago at 330 East Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights, Illinois.


  • ACGP officially votes to change the name of the organization to the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) during its Congress of Delegates meeting in Orlando, Florida. The Foundation becomes the ACOFP Education & Research Foundation.
  • Several months later, AOBGP changes its name to the American Osteopathic Board of Family Practitioners (AOBFP), with focus shifting from “general” practitioners to “family” practitioners.


  • In a landmark move to protect its members from further loss of professional privileges, ACOFP reissues all Certificates of Certification, adding the words “osteopathic manipulative treatment” to “family practice.”


  • ACOFP introduces its annual Osteopathic Family Medicine In-Service Training Exam.


  • ACOFP premiers the Future Leaders Program designed for outstanding new physicians and residents interested in honing their leadership skills and style to enhance their professional performance. In Spring 2009, 15 ACOFP members participate in the first Future Leaders Conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • In July, ACOFP launches its own peer-reviewed medical journal, Osteopathic Family Physician (OFP), in partnership with publishing company Elsevier.


  • ACGME announces plans to exclude all AOA-certified post-graduate training and ceases to accept AOA-sanctioned residency training, including ACOFP training.


  • The Clinical Osteopathic Recognition Training Examination (CORTEx) is created and launched to help residency programs achieve ACGME guidelines by providing formative assessments to residents in osteopathically-recognized programs.


  • The ACOFP Education and Research Foundation launches a $2.0 million capital campaign, “Forging Our Osteopathic Future,” to ensure a promising future for osteopathic distinctiveness. A significant portion of the campaign supports the new Initial Certification Grant, developed for third-year resident members, to cover both the practical and cognitive portions of the AOBFP certification exams.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For more on the complete history of ACOFP from 1950–2004, check out The Continuing History of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

Leave a Reply