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 membership 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. 


  • In March 1953, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) formally recognizes ACGPOMS in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association as the “youngest professional organization in osteopathic medicine,” saying: “This new group is one of the most important to arise in our profession’s history.”


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


  • ACGP awards its first “Practitioner of the Year” Honor Award to Frank MacCracken, DO. It is now known as the “Family Physician of the Year” Award, the organization’s most prestigious honor.


  • ACGP debuts its first student chapter—the “Alpha Chapter”—led by Chapter President N. Robert Brethouwer, DO, FACOFP, at the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine.


  • AOA formally recognizes hospital departments of general practice, paving the way for potential general practice residencies.


  • 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 further expands its medical education programming by establishing a preceptor program for its student members.
  • The Conclave of Fellows award is created by President-Elect James Rowland, DO, FACGP, to recognize those who had made a significant contribution to ACGP.


  • In September 1965, the Inaugural Conclave of Fellows induction ceremony is held with the induction of its first 24 ACGP Fellows.
  • J. Myron Auld, DO, FACGP, is elected as the Conclave’s first president.


  • 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.


  • ACOFP awards its first class of Distinguished Fellows. Two ACOFP past presidents are honored with the inaugural award: Mary McClellan Burnett, DO, FACOFP dist., and John Sevastos, DO, FACOFP dist.


  • In July, ACOFP launches its own peer-reviewed medical journal, Osteopathic Family Physician (OFP), in partnership with publishing company Elsevier.


  • The ACOFP Awards Committee creates the Osteopathic Family Physician Educator of the Year Award. Joseph Stella, DO, is the first recipient of the award, honored for his commitment to starting osteopathic residencies in Allentown, Pennsylvania.


  • The ACOFP Congress of Delegates votes to include allopathic physicians as full-voting members.

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

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