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AAMC History

In June 1876, as America prepared to celebrate its first century as a nation with a gala centennial exhibition in Philadelphia, representatives of 22 medical schools met in that same city and formed the Provisional Association of American Medical Colleges. The call for the meeting stated that "the object of the convention is to consider all matters relating to reform in medical college work."

Over the course of several days, the group considered eight questions and one resolution, and adopted a constitution, bylaws, and articles of confederation. From this modest beginning, the AAMC began its existence, firmly grounded in the notion that it should lead its members "in the advancement of medical education in the United States, and the establishment of a common policy among medical colleges in the more important matters of college management."

The association's beginnings were fraught with disagreement among its members about the appropriate course of action necessary to improve medical education. Just a few years after its initial meeting, one medical journal of the day stated that "the late meeting of this association at Richmond was a pronounced failure and the indications are that it was the beginning of the end of the organization."

The AAMC Today

Today, the AAMC survives and thrives, a testament to medical schools' impetus to provide the best possible education for tomorrow's doctors. Although the improvement of medical education is still its core purpose, the AAMC's agenda now also encompasses the biomedical research that underpins that education, the health care system that reaps its benefits, and the management of the medical schools and teaching hospitals where that education occurs.