ACMQ History


The American College of Medical Quality (ACMQ) is a national organization of health care professionals who are interested in the advancement of medical quality as a field. Composed primarily of doctorate-level individuals in medicine, dentistry, and podiatry, it also includes affiliate members in pre-professional training and nursing.

Origins of the organization date to 1973, when it was first called the American College of Utilization Review Physicians (ACURP). It is formally recognized by the American Medical Association and holds a seat in its House of Delegates. The college view the advancement of medical quality as a field of study within itself and offers multiple venues for self-education, testing and professional networking for its members.

Early College History 1970s

The College was originally formed by 5 physicians in central Pennsylvania who were working in the public payer and insurance sector and who were coping with implementing new regulations.


  • Shue Hamman, MD
  • Robert Barto, MD
  • James Forsyth, MD, JD
  • Oliver Schwarts, Jr., MD
  • George Weber, MD

The intent, led by Dr. Hamman, was to create a national organization, with chapters across the United States, which ultimately were created.

The inaugural meeting was held on October 13, 1973. At this meeting, in Camp Hill Pennsylvania, approximately 15 physicians met to exchange ideas, network and produce the College’s first seminar "Humanistic Medical Team". Additionally, an organizational structure was developed, officers elected and legal steps initiated to meet the requirements as a nonprofit organization and establish the name.

First Elected Leadership

  • Dr. Barto, President
  • Dr. Weber, Vice-President
  • Dr. Hamman, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Dr. Forsyth, Richard Cleckner, Esq, Bylaws authors
  • William Shoemaker, Advisor

The original College functions were reportedly informal affairs, with the national office being established in Dr. Hamman’s professional offices in Mechanicsburg, PA and Dr. Hamman’s wife, Betty, serving as executive secretary.

May 1975 - The ACURP had between 50-100 members. Mr. Thomas Powell, with the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania, was given the College’s first honorary membership for his work using his resources to produce programs, create mass mailings and other such tasks to grow the organization. The Hospital Association of Pennsylvania assisted in various administrative roles.

On June 8, 1975 ACURP held its second meeting, "Utilization Review Procedures - Local, State and Federal," in Harrisburg, PA. Speakers included:

  • Raymond Saloom, MD, PSRO National Advisory Council
  • William Orner, PA State PSRO Support Center
  • George Weber, MD, Bureau of Medical Assistance, Utilization Review Division

October 9, 1974 - ACURP held its third meeting at the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburg, PA. At this meeting it was determined that, going forward, the College should hold 2 meetings each year.

February 1976 - ACURP’s first formal newsletter was produced. The content of the newsletters through the 70s focused on upcoming meeting announcements, topics in UR and announcements of recently released government programs and mandates.

Fall 1976 - Nigel Roberts, MD produced the first Handbook of the College which sold for $2.00

January 1977 - New York became the first chapter to be officially installed. Over the next several years more chapters were installed. Following is a list of chapters with their initial dates of installation:

  • 1977 New York regional chapter
  • 1977 California regional chapter
  • 1977 Pennsylvania regional chapter
  • 1978 New Jersey regional chapter
  • 1978 Illinois regional chapter
  • 1979 Southwest regional chapter
  • 1981 South Atlantic chapter
  • 1982 Great Lakes regional chapter
  • 1987 New England regional chapter
  • 1988 Great Plains regional chapter

June 17, 1977 - The AMA awarded the ACURP a certificate of accreditation for CME, which would allow it to provide formal CME credit for its meetings and educational activities.

October 15, 1977 - The American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians (ABQAURP) was approved by the ACURP. In 1985, the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review was founded separately. However, the distinction was largely semantic for the purposes of the organization’s routine operations.

April 28, 1978 - The ABQAURP held its first exam during the ACURP meeting in Chicago, IL.

Fall 1978 - ACURP decided that the national organization would hold only one meeting per year, in the fall.

August 17, 1979 - The ACURP was listed for the first time in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s "Organizations of Medical Interest". In the fall, the college was formally recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 organization.

College History: 1980s

In 1981 and 1984, ACURP was recognized by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to be able to award credits in CME.

Spring 1985 - The first edition of ACURP’s formal scholarly journal was released at the annual meeting. It is interesting to note that the original title was to be Utilization Review and Quality Assurance but was changed to Quality Assurance and Utilization Review, in recognition of the changing focus in the field to emphasize quality.

  • David Jones, MD was the first editor
  • Charles Pratt, MD was the first associate editor

1985 - John Williamson, MD was honored with the J. Shue Hamman Award, which subsequently became the College’s Founders’ Award. The Founders’ Award continued to become a regular recognition bestowed by the College on important individuals in the field.

February 1986 - The inaugural issue of the journal, titled Quality Assurance and Utilization Review: Official Journal of the American College of Utilization Review Physicians was published. It was produced from then on as a professional, peer-reviewed journal with a formal editor and clinical advisory board and would also be reviewed by a committee of the college. All issues of the journal and its successor are available on the Web site of the current publisher, Sage.

Also in February 1986, ACURP formally created the ACRUP Foundation, Inc. under the laws of Pennsylvania. The plan appeared to be the creation of a consulting unit within ACURP to do contract work for various organizations. References to the foundation were not numerous in the following period, suggesting that less research was requested than originally projected. It was eventually discontinued in June of 1993.

November 1986 - The ABQAURP made a $50,000 gift to the Department of Medicine at the Pennsylvania State University in the Rare Books Room at the Hershey Medical Center. At that point, the board had certified approximately 1200 diplomats and wished to contribute to the development of a formal residency—fellowship program. Residencies and fellowships were to be offered at the Hershey Medical Center at the Pennsylvania State University.

February 1987 - ACURP opened a formal office in Venice, FL after Dr. and Mrs. Hamman retired, to handle the increasing growth of the organization.

1988 - ABQAURP announced the creation of three physician QA/UR fellowship residencies and 1 QA/UR fellowship residency for RNs.

June 28, 1988 - ACURP received formal recognition from the American Medical Association (AMA). Acting on recommendations by the Board of Trustees and the Reference Committee on Constitution and Bylaws of the AMA, approximately 70% of delegates to the AMA’s House of Delegates voted to grant ACURP a seat. Alex Rodriguez, MD and Sybil Hart, MD became the first AMA Delegate and Alternate Delegate respectively.

College History: 1990s

Early 1990s - The College added a special category of membership for students and residents and one for institutional members.

October 1990 - ACURP changed its name to ACMQ, starting off the new decade with a new outlook and definition. The change came as a result of a landmark 2-day strategic planning meeting. The name of the journal published by the College was changed to AJMQ.

1991 - The organization closed its offices in Venice, FL and relocated operations to the Washington, DC area.

Also in 1991, the College published Health Care Quality Management for the 21st Century in conjunction with the American College of Physician Executives. It was edited by James B. Couch, MD, JD and contained a forward by J.M. Juran. It was the first major textbook developed with the College’s imprimatur and presented a comprehensive review of quality management written with an impressive list of contributors.

1992 - The College newsletter was restarted after having been out of publication since 1988. Reborn as Focus, the newsletter has been published by the College on a regular basis to the present.

1993 - Distinguished Fellow was added to the Member and Fellow categories.

June 1993 - The board of trustees voted to close down the ACURP Foundation.

1996 - The board of trustees voted to no longer financially support regional chapters. Some chapters remained active for some time thereafter, but eventually disappeared as individual entities. The last board of trustees meeting at which a board member self-identified as a representative of a chapter was around 2003.

1997 - ACMQ and ABQAURP mutually agreed to go their own ways, with formal collaboration ending.

May 1997 - The organization moved its location from the home of the executive vice president to an office in Bethesda, MD.

1999 - The college began to fund the creation of the ABMQ.

2000 - The College newsletter, Focus, moved to an electronic format.

College History: 2000-Present

2002 - The annual national meeting became broader in this decade by combining and sharing facilities with the National Association for Healthcare Quality for several years and with the American College of Preventive Medicine since 2002.

2005 - With a sizeable grant of $100,000 from Merck, the College produced its first textbook on medical quality, titled A Core Curriculum for Medical Quality Management. The textbook was edited by Dr. Ziegenfuss and Mark Lyles, MD, MBA.

2007 - After several years of development, including a "beta" exam in 2006, the ABMQ offered its first test exam in 2007, followed by certification exams for the Certificate in Medical Quality in 2008, 2009 and 2010 at the annual national meeting. Although a separate organization, the ABMQ seeks to test its members on the program content that was largely developed within the College, including Medical Quality Management and AJMQ.

2009 - The textbook was followed with a revised, updated second edition, titled Medical Quality Management. The textbook was edited by Prathiba Varkey, MBBS, MPH, MHPE.

2009 - The student and resident section was invited to send a representative to the board of trustees, which was amended to include representative s from both the student and resident section, formalizing a board position for a member to oversee student and resident activities.

2010 - The College agreed to sponsor student representatives to the AMA student House of Delegates.

2011 - Long-time Executive Vice President contemplated retirement. The College hired a professional management organization, PAI Management to assist with with a more formal and structure business support services and to work to increase the size and profitability of the College in the future.

This history is adapted from A History of the American College of Medical Quality.

Fetterolf, MD, MBA, Donald, and Bridget Brodie. "A History of the American College of Medical Quality." American Journal of Medical Quality 26: 59-72. Web.

American College of Medical Quality
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Phone: 312-663-8026