Going National

 On November 16 of 1968, 29 emergency physicians answered the call of Dr. Reinald Leidelmeyer to convene and discuss the formation of a nationwide organization.

Dr. Leidelmeyer practiced emergency medicine in Fairfax, Virginia and had occasional contact with Dr. James Mills’ pioneering group in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1966, he defined the basic elements of specialty status for emergency medicine in the Virginia Medical Monthly. The Arlington meeting grew out of a 1968 article in Medical World News quoting Dr. Leidelmeyer on the benefits of a national organization of emergency specialists.

Five of ACEP’s founding members made the trip from Michigan to the Marriott Twin Bridges in Arlington. Dr. Mills was covering his emergency department that morning, but attended in the afternoon.

Dr. Leidelmeyer began the meeting with a presentation on the local growth and evolution of ED’s, and with a call for better ambulance service. Then Dr. John Wiegenstein took the podium to explain ACEP’s formative months while his colleagues distributed a brochure, constitution, and bylaws. Dr. R.R. Hannas spoke next on the specialty recognition efforts of the American Academy of General Practice.

Finally a motion was made to recognize ACEP as a national group, retaining its officers until an election could provide a more national board. Six of the men in the room that day would end up ACEP presidents: Dr. Wiegenstein (1968-1971), Dr. Mills (1971-1973), Dr. Hannas (1973-1974), Dr. William Haeck (1974-1975), Dr. Harris Graves (1975-1976),  and Dr. John McDade (1979-1980).

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