The 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).
Celebrating 75 Years
Did you know that the College turned 75 years in 2017? And you can rest assured this septuagenarian is still going, stronger than ever!
In celebration, we highlighted 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?
- Our first thirty years of Annual Meetings
- Why was Jonas Salk, MD at our 1971 Annual Scientific Meeting?
- Bernard Halpern, MD – a friend of the College, discovered one of the first antihistamines
- From Benadryl to biologics: 75 years of advancements in allergy
- Step back in time with us to see what allergy practice looked like in 1942
- A glimpse into the future
- Want your Rx straight up or on the rocks?
- 75 years of cha-cha-cha-changes
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.