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|History of the AAP|
Founding & Growth Through the Years
In 1967, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) was starting a new group called the Association of Academic Societies (later renamed the Council of Academic Societies). For a professional society to qualify for membership to this new group, the majority of its members had to be academicians. The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) determined that they would not qualify, so Ernest W. Johnson, MD took to finding a way to keep physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R - also known as physiatry) in the AAMC.
Dr. Johnson "wrote to 20 program directors about the need to develop an organization of teachers and researchers in physical medicine and rehabilitation," he explains in his 1988 Editorial in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. "We met around a table at the annual meeting of the Academy. Our consensus suggested a membership of full-time academic physiatrists of assistant professor or above. Limiting it to just heads of programs seemed too restrictive to our growth. Almost spontaneously from the group came the name - unanimously accepted - Association of Academic Physiatrists."
William Erdman, MD, Chair of the Department of PM&R at the University of Pennsylvania was elected as the AAP's first President. The initial requirements for membership were that you had to be nominated by a department or division head, submit a CV, certified as eligible by the AAP's Membership Committee, then elected by 3/4 of the AAP's members present at the Annual Meeting. The annual dues were $25 the first year and $15 each subsequent year.
The first constitution was created and the Association of Academic Physiatrists' objectives were as follows:
Initially, AAP members met twice a year. The first was a Fall meeting at a medical school in the same city as the AAPM&R/ ACRM meeting; the second was a Spring meeting held at a medical school. The original standing committees were Membership, Scientific Program, Nominating, By-Laws and Finance.
The original seal of the AAP, a Greek inscription written by Nicholas Checkles, MD, served as the AAP's logo until 1985.
In 1972, the AAP's bylaws were amended to permit Canadian members. Our first Canadian members were Sidney Dinsdale, Jose Jimenez and Sikhar Bannerjee. The AAP was also listed in JAMA that same year as one of the "Organizations of Medical Interest."
In 1987, the AAP launched its medical journal - the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. This came after two years of negotiation to affiliate with the existing American Journal of Physical Medicine.
From 1968 to 1992, the AAP grew to more than 1,000 members. Since the early days, the AAP has launched new programs to support education, research and leadership development. It has also now grown to a membership of more than 1,800 members in 24 countries. Stay connected to see how we continue to grow with the specialty!
AAP Past Presidents
2017-2019 John Chae, MD, ME