ACC History
ACC's 75th Anniversary

In 1949, 13 cardiologists led by Franz Groedel, MD, MACC and Bruno Kisch, MD, MACC, founded the ACC, creating a professional home for cardiovascular clinicians seeking the latest science, research and cutting-edge education. Fast forward 75 years later and the College has evolved into a global cardiovascular leader, uniting more than 56,000 members spanning the entire cardiovascular care team around the shared Mission of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health for all.

The past 75 years are filled with examples of men and women whose vision, leadership and commitment to patient-centered care have helped address the challenges of the day and make real differences in the lives of people living with, or at risk of, heart disease. Their contributions to science, their quest for knowledge and their belief in the power of innovation have continued to optimize the care and outcomes of patients around the world, while also leaving an indelible impact on the College and its growth and evolution.

Read more about ACC's 75 years in Cardiology magazine.

It was during the 1950s that the College introduced the concept of national meetings that brought together the cardiovascular community to meet with thought leaders in the field and present on scientific research. The first ACC meeting occurred in New York in 1951 and attracted more than 275 physicians. ACC President Bruno Kisch, MD, MACC, said that "for the first time in this country [the ACC would bring together] the clinician and scientist in common work and exchange of opinions … for the best of the suffering cardiac patient."

Cardiology Magazine ImageEliot Corday, MD, MACC

As these national meetings grew in size and popularity, the ACC held its inaugural three-day symposium at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital a decade later in 1961. Also that year, ACC President Eliot Corday, MD, MACC, sought and received federal funding for the first international circuit course to Taiwan and the Philippines. The U.S. Department of State saw immense value to these so-called "medical Peace Corps" and began underwriting some of the expenses of these educational endeavors. The program was so successful that over the next five years 44 countries were privy to 17 circuit courses.

Cardiology Magazine Image

In addition to live educational courses, the ACC also made it a goal to disseminate the latest cardiovascular information directly to its members. In 1958 the American Journal of Cardiology made its debut under the leadership of Editor Simon Dack, MD, MACC. This precursor to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology was well received and had approximately 6,000 subscribers within the first two years. Ten years later the College launched an audiotape journal called ACCESS (now called ACCEL) featuring recordings from the annual meeting, symposia and reviews of key articles from print journals.

Cardiology Magazine ImageE. Grey Dimond, MD, MACC

The advent of a new law signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson establishing Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 caused the ACC to expand its focus to include advocacy in addition to education. That year the College moved from New York City to Bethesda, MD , in order to be closer to the National Institutes of Health and the nation’s capital. Soon after, the College’s Government Relations Committee formed and the ACC assumed an active role with legislators, advocating for physicians and their patients. A decade later, ground was broken for the ACC’s Bethesda headquarters, dubbed Heart House by then President E. Grey Dimond, MD, MACC.

As cardiovascular research continued to take off throughout the 1970s it became clear that cardiovascular professionals needed tools that translated science into practice. The ACC and the American Heart Association (AHA) answered this call in 1980 by initiating a unique partnership to develop clinical guidelines. The first guideline on Pacemaker Implantation published in 1984. Since then, the two organizations have developed 23 guidelines with a total of 3,337 recommendations.

In 1981, ACC published its first Journal of the American College of Cardiology under Editor Simon Dack, MD, MACC. This significant addition to ACC publications was followed the establishment of the first ACC Chapter in 1986.


The College experienced some of its biggest changes in the 1990s. The advent of the Internet, as well as closer scrutiny by members of Congress into relationships with industry, required the College to refocus on its strategic priorities and develop new ways to meet the needs of its members. As such, the ACC's first home on the "World Wide Web" debuted in 1996, as did the College’s first relationships with industry policy. The ACC's Board of Trustees also developed a comprehensive strategic plan during this time period to reflect the changes that had occurred in governmental policies and growth of international cardiology.

Not to be overlooked, the ACC also established the NCDR and its first registry — the CathPCI Registry , which was developed to assess the characteristics, treatments and outcomes of cardiac disease patients receiving diagnostic catheterization and/or percutaneous coronary intervention procedures. "The future of medicine is increasingly in the hands of those who are effective users of clinical data," said Bill Weintraub, MD, FACC, and others in a 1997 paper on the NCDR published in JACC.

It was in the late 1990s and early 2000s that the College focused on encouraging greater participation by women and minorities in College activities. The College also started opening its doors to other members of the cardiovascular care team, including nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. This member category has further expanded over time to include practice administrators, training directors, pharmacists and cardiovascular technicians.

Also during this time, the ACC moved its headquarters from Bethesda to Washington, DC. It also launched its Political Action Committee (ACC PAC) to increase the political power and reach of the College. In addition, the College continued to expand its reach internationally and started developing member sections and councils around cardiovascular specialties and topics and other professional areas of interest.

  • 2000
    ACC partners with AHA on National Performance Measurement Standards.
  • The ACC at 50: A giant Grew in Bethesda; The Impact of the ACC on Cardiovascular Medicine
  • 2002
    ACC’s Political Action Committee is created.
  • 2003
    ACC expands membership to the cardiac care team.
  • 2004
    First ACC Mobile App is released on guidelines.
  • 2005
    First ACC Sections are established.
  • 2006
    Heart House relocates to Washington, DC.
  • 2007
    First ACC Council is established.
  • 2008
    First outpatient clinical data registry – PINNACLE Registry – launches.
  • 2009
    First International Chapter launches.

Today, with more than 56,000 members from around the world, the College is once again facing a crossroads in the midst of a constantly changing health care environment. Rapid advances in science and technology, uncertainty about systems of medical care delivery and growing demand for cardiovascular care around the globe present extraordinary challenges and opportunities for cardiovascular medicine.

Many of the challenges affecting the College and its members are remarkably similar to those faced since the ACC's founding in 1949. Embracing previous successes and learning from those who came before will ensure the College continues to grow and serve as the primary professional home for the entire cardiovascular community on a Mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health for ALL.

It's fitting that the College is launching its next five-year Strategic Plan at the same time it's celebrating its 75th Anniversary milestone. The next chapter in the College's history will be centered around the College's existing Strategic Pillars, grounded by a shared Mission and Vision and guided by core values that underscore teamwork, collaboration, professionalism, excellence, equity and a commitment to patient-centered care.

In addition to sustaining the long-standing, core work on clinical guideline and guidance development, digital transformation, innovation, diversity and inclusion, global education and more, the next Strategic Plan will focus on the following five major initiatives to:

  • Address Health Equity in Cardiovascular Care
  • Assess ACC's Educational Portfolio
  • Build a Framework For Continuous Cardiovascular Clinical Competence
  • Transform Care Delivery in New Areas
  • Enable Guidance at the Point of Care

Read More.

Cardiology Magazine ImageFranz M. Groedel, MD, MACC
(1949 - 1951)
Cardiology Magazine ImageBruno Kisch, MD, MACC
(1951 – 1953)
Cardiology Magazine ImageRobert P. Glover, MD, MACC
(1953 - 1954)
Cardiology Magazine ImageAshton Graybiel, MD, MACC
(1954 – 1955)
Cardiology Magazine ImageWalter S. Priest, MD, MACC
(1955 - 1956)
Cardiology Magazine ImageSimon Dack, MD, MACC
(1956 – 1957)
Cardiology Magazine ImageGeoger R. Meneely, MD, MACC
(1957 – 1958)
Cardiology Magazine ImageGeorge W. Calver, MD, MACC
(1958 -1959)
Cardiology Magazine ImageOsler A. Abbott, MD, MACC
(1959 -1960)
Cardiology Magazine ImageLouis F. Bishop, MD, MACC
(1960 – 1961)
Cardiology Magazine ImageE. Grey Dimond, MD, MACC
(1961 - 1962)
Cardiology Magazine ImageJohn S. LaDue, MD, MACC
(1962 – 1963)
Cardiology Magazine ImageGeorge C. Griffith, MD, MACC
(1963 – 1964)
Cardiology Magazine ImageEliot Corday, MD, MACC
Cardiology Magazine ImageC. Walton Lillehei, MD, PhD, MACC (1966-1967)
Cardiology Magazine ImageWilliam Likoff, MD, MACC
Cardiology Magazine ImageGeorge E. Burch, MD, MACC
(1968 -1969)
Cardiology Magazine ImageBill L. Martz, MD, MACC
Cardiology Magazine ImageWilliam A. Sodeman, Sr., MD, MACC (1970-1971)
Cardiology Magazine ImageForrest Adams, MD, MACC
(1971 - 1972)
Cardiology Magazine ImageSamuel M. Fox, III, MD, MACC
(1972 - 1973)
Cardiology Magazine ImageHarold J. C. Swan, MD, PhD, MACC (1973 – 1974)
Cardiology Magazine ImageHenry D. McIntosh, MD, MACC (1974 - 1975)
Cardiology Magazine ImageCharles Fisch, MD, MACC
(1975 – 1977)
Cardiology Magazine ImageDean T. Mason, MD, MACC
(1977 - 1978)
Cardiology Magazine ImageLeonard S. Dreifus, MD, MACC (1978 - 1979)
Cardiology Magazine ImageBorys Surawicz, MD, MACC
(1979 - 1980)
Cardiology Magazine ImageRobert O. Brandenburg, MD, MACC (1980 - 1981)
Cardiology Magazine ImageDan G. MacNamara, MD, MACC (1981 - 1982)
Cardiology Magazine ImageSuzanne B. Knoebel, MD, MACC (1982 - 1983)
Cardiology Magazine ImagePaul A. Ebert, MD, MACC
(1983 - 1984)
Cardiology Magazine ImageJohn F. Williams, Jr., MD, MACC (1984 - 1985)
Cardiology Magazine ImageWilliam W. Parmley, MD, MACC (1985 - 1986)
Cardiology Magazine ImageJohn Ross, Jr., MD, MACC
(1986 - 1987)
Cardiology Magazine ImageFrancis J. Klocke, MD, MACC
(1987 - 1988)
Cardiology Magazine ImageAnthony N. DeMaria, MD, MACC (1988 - 1989)
Cardiology Magazine ImageC. Richard Conti, MD, MACC
(1989 - 1990)
Cardiology Magazine ImageWilliam L. Winters, Jr., MD, MACC (1990 - 1991)
Cardiology Magazine ImageRobert L. Frye, MD, MACC
(1991 - 1992)
Cardiology Magazine ImageAdolph M. Hutter, Jr., MD, MACC (1992 - 1993)
Cardiology Magazine ImageSylvan Lee Weinberg, MD, MACC (1993 - 1994)
Cardiology Magazine ImageDaniel J. Ullyot, MD, MACC
(1994 - 1995)
Cardiology Magazine ImageJ. Ward Kennedy, MD, MACC
(1995 - 1996)
Cardiology Magazine ImageRichard P. Lewis, MD, MACC (1996 - 1997)
Cardiology Magazine ImageRichard L. Popp, MD, MACC
(1997 - 1998)
Cardiology Magazine ImageSpencer B. King, III, MD, MACC (1998 - 1999)
Cardiology Magazine ImageArthur Garson, Jr., MD, MPH, MACC (1999 - 2000)
Cardiology Magazine ImageGeorge A. Beller, MD, MACC
(2000 - 2001)
Cardiology Magazine ImageDouglas P. Zipes, MD, MACC
(2001 - 2002)
Cardiology Magazine ImageW. Bruce Fye, MD, MA, MACC
(2002 - 2003)
Cardiology Magazine ImageCarl J. Pepine, MD, MACC
(2003 - 2004)
Cardiology Magazine ImageMichael J. Wolk, MD, MACC
(2004 - 2005)
Cardiology Magazine ImagePamela S. Douglas, MD, MACC (2005 - 2006)
Cardiology Magazine ImageSteven E. Nissen, MD, MACC
(2006 - 2007)
Cardiology Magazine ImageJames T. Dove, MD, MACC
(2007 - 2008)
Cardiology Magazine ImageW. Douglas Weaver, MD, MACC (2008 - 2009)
Cardiology Magazine ImageAlfred Bove, MD, PhD, MACC
(2009 - 2010)
Cardiology Magazine ImageRalph G. Brindis, MD, MPH, MACC (2010 - 2011)
Cardiology Magazine ImageDavid R. Holmes, Jr, MD, MACC (2011 - 2012)
Cardiology Magazine ImageWilliam A. Zoghbi, MD, MACC
(2012 - 2013)
Cardiology Magazine ImageJohn Gordon Harold, MD, MACC (2013 - 2014)
Cardiology Magazine ImagePatrick T. O’Gara, MD, MACC
(2014 – 2015)
Cardiology Magazine ImageKim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, MACC (2015 – 2016)
Cardiology Magazine ImageRichard A. Chazal, MD, MACC
(2016 – 2017)
Cardiology Magazine ImageMary Norine Walsh, MD, MACC (2017 – 2018)
Cardiology Magazine ImageC. Michael Valentine, MD, MACC (2018 – 2019)
Cardiology Magazine ImageRichard J. Kovacs, MD, MACC
(2019 – 2020)
Cardiology Magazine ImageAthena Poppas, MD, MACC
(2020 – 2021)
Cardiology Magazine ImageDipti Itchhaporia, MD, MACC
(2021 – 2022)
Cardiology Magazine ImageEdward T. A. Fry, MD, MACC
(2022 – 2023)
Cardiology Magazine ImageB. Hadley Wilson, MD, MACC
Cardiology Magazine ImageCathleen Biga, MSN, FACC