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AAMC History

The AAMC was founded in 1876, when a group of deans and faculty met at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia to discuss the state of medical education in the U.S.

At that time, medical education was largely unregulated and of widely varying quality, leading to a lack of trust in the medical profession. This group of educators established basic practices for medical schools. The annual meeting of the AAMC became a forum for medical school deans to discuss issues related to medical education. 

In recent decades, the most visible work of the AAMC may be the services related to selection of applicants for medical school and residency. The association develops and administers the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT©), which is required for admission to medical school; the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), through which applicants may apply to multiple medical schools with a common application; and the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), through which medical students may apply for residencies and fellowships. 

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. 


The AAMC was founded in 1876 at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.  

Standard curriculum in 1905
A page from the AAMC archives shows the first standard medical school curriculum adopted by the AAMC membership.
AAMC Reference Center


AAMC membership adopts a standard curriculum of 4,000 hours – a forerunner of accreditation.  

Newspaper article on factories for the making of ignorant doctors
A New York Times article examines the bombshell Flexner Report that changed medical education in America.
AAMC Reference Center


The Flexner Report calls for major reforms to medical education, including higher admission standards, adherence to the scientific method in research and practice, and oversight by state licensure boards.  


AAMC and AMA begin joint medical school inspections.  


The AAMC and the American Medical Association form the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), which accredits all M.D.-granting institutions in the U.S., and publishes standards and guides relating to the teaching and training of physicians. 

MCAT form in 1947
A page from the first Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) administered by the AAMC.
AAMC Reference Center


The AAMC officially sponsors and administers the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) for the first time.  

Recommended plan of advisory and regional organization by Coggeshall in 1965
A page from the Coggeshall Report shows recommended changes to the AAMC.
AAMC Reference Center


The Coggeshall Report recommends several changes to the AAMC, transforming the association from a ‘deans club’ to an organization representing the constituencies of academic medical centers and a force for reform in medical education.  


John A.D. Cooper, MD, PhD, is appointed the first full-time, salaried president of the AAMC.  

AAMC office in Dupont Circle 1970
The AAMC's first Washington, D.C. headquarters building in Dupont Circle.
AAMC Reference Center


AAMC moves its headquarters to Washington, D.C.  

The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) is created, and allows applicants to apply to multiple medical schools through a single application. 


AAMC celebrates 100 years of service. 


AAMC receives a grant to develop a database on teaching hospitals, which later becomes COTH Annual Survey of Hospitals’ Financial and General Operating Data.


The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) is developed, allowing medical students to apply for residencies and fellowships. 


AAMC moves into new headquarters building featuring a dedicated learning center for staff and constituents.


MCAT standards revised. 

AAMC Past Presidents

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Foundations of AAMC History Collection

These digitized records are selected from various AAMC archives.

Mary H. Littlemeyer Archives

These records relate to the history, governance, and activities of the Association of American Medical Colleges.