Celebrating 75 Years!

Did you know that the College is 75 years old this year? And you can rest assured this septuagenarian is still going, stronger than ever!

All year we'll be highlighting pieces of our rich history in our publications and on our website. Want to catch up on any you missed and get the scoop on what the College has been up to for three quarters of a century?

ACAAI's History

Dr. Joseph A. Bellanti ACAAI Historian Past President 1991-1992The American College of Allergists was officially incorporated as a legal entity on November 23, 1942. The American College of Allergists, the precursor organization of our current American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, was founded by a group of men and women passionate about the field of allergy and immunology as a distinct specialty. In 1974, the American Board of Allergy and Immunology was established, designating our specialty, and it remains the only allergy specialty board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. 

In 1992, ACAAI then-President Joseph A. Bellanti, M.D. gave a special historical address commemorating the 50th anniversary of the College (ACAAI). His detailed and illuminating presidential address was later published in its entirety, in this 1993 Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology article (members only).

In 2012, we celebrated our organization's 70th anniversary and reflected on how the past not only reminds us of where we have been, but where we have yet to go. At the 2012 Annual Meeting, Dr. Bellanti presented The ACAAI: A 70 year Legacy of Accomplishments (1942-2012). Part II Events and Achievements (1992-2012), which was published in a 2012 Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology article (members only).

We stand on a firm foundation of scholarship and excellence moving forward into the next era of the College.

See the College's past presidents.

The Gold-Headed Cane Award

The Gold-Headed Cane Award is a concept used by many medical schools and some specialty societies to recognize a physician who symbolizes the pursuit of the highest standards of scientific excellence and integrity to make the master doctor.  The existence of such an honor should serve as inspiration to the younger doctor and encourage him/her in family, social, civic, religious, and professional life to cultivate those essentials of character to secure the respect and good will of colleagues and the profession at large.   The original Gold-Headed Cane was carried by the personal physician of the King of England, from 1689 to 1823.  Each owner of the cane specifically chose a successor considered to be the greatest English physician of that time. These physicians were: Dr. John Radcliffe (1689-1714), Dr. Richard Mead (1714-1754), Dr. Anthony Askey (1754-1774), Dr. William Pitcairn (1774-1791), and Dr. Matthew Baillie (1791-1823). The widow of the last doctor gave the illustrious cane to the Royal College of Physicians in London, where it remains today.

Interestingly enough, the first doctor - the originator starting the tradition in 1628 – Dr. John Radcliffe took care of King William III, an asthmatic, for thirteen years.  Dr. Radcliffe’s care is credited for allowing his king to lead in victorious battles at the Bourne, in spite of asthma.  Therefore, we have good historical precedence since the first cane was held by a healer of asthma. 

The ACAAI installed this award as a tradition in 2001, with Dr. Hal Nelson as its first recipient.