History of the ACR
Origins - 1925 - 1938
In 1925 under the leadership of Dutch physician Jan van Breeman, physicians from several European countries agreed to collaborate in the study and control of rheumatic diseases. Stemmed from this initiative a few years later the American Committee for the Control of Rheumatism (ACCR) was instituted with 15 members and in 1932 the first annual meeting was held in New Orleans. Between 1934 and 1938 the committee name was changed to the American Rheumatism Association (ARA). In 1938 the first ARA annual meeting was held in San Francisco.
Pan-American League Against Rheumatism (PANLAR) formed, with ARA as a member.
Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation (ARF) incorporated as a national voluntary health agency, with ARA stimulus and sponsorship.
Inauguration of the International League Against Rheumatism.
First ARA Interim Scientific Session held in Bethesda. These additional annual scientific meetings, with emphasis on clinical presentations, were replaced in 1972 by regional meetings.
First issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism published.
Marian W. Ropes, MD, the first women president of the ARA was elected.
ARA unifies with the Arthritis Foundation, functioning as the American Rheumatism Association Section of the AF. It retained its independent internal organization and management as well as its name.
In the same year, efforts of the AF brought about organization of the Arthritis Health Professions Association (AHPA), organized as a section.
ARA 50th Anniversary celebrated at the 48th Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. The proceedings spanned five days, attracted 3800 attendees, and offered more than 500 presentations. Of the 868 abstract submissions, 425 were accepted.
ARA severed its association with the AF as a Section.
ARA becomes the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).
AHPA separates from the AF and joins the ACR as a Division in January 1994. The name was changed to the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP) at that time.
The International League Against Rheumatism is reincorporated as the International League of Associations for Rheumatology with a more focused mission to advance rheumatology in developing countries. Moving forward, the ACR president and presidents elect will serve on ILAR’s executive committee.
ACR 75th Anniversary celebrated at the 73rd Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. The proceedings attracted almost 15,000 attendees, and offered more than 250 scientific sessions. Of the 3287 abstract submissions, 1956 were accepted.
The historical information listed was adapted from the 75th Anniversary Publication The ACR at 75 A Diamond Jubilee, published by John Wiley & Sons.
Videos of Members Interviews
These interviews were recorded at the annual meeting in 2009.
Lynn Bonfiglio, MACR
Long Island, NY
Charles L. Christian, MD
ARA Past President, 1976-77
Past Editor Arthritis & Rheumatism, 1971-1975
Raphael J. "Ralph" DeHoratius, MD
ACR Past President, 2002-03
Allan Gibofsky, MD, JD
ACR Past President, 2001-02
New York, NY
Edward D. "Ted" Harris, Jr., MD
ARA Past President, 1985-86
Stephen I. Katz, MD, PhD
Ronald L. Kaufman, MD, MBA
ACR Past President, 1997-98
Santa Ana, CA
Ron Lamont-Havers, MD
Stephen E. Malawista, MD
ACR Past President, 1991-92
New Haven, CT
Robert F. Meenan, MD, MPH, MBA
ACR Past President, 1990-91
Richard S. Panush, MD
Charles M. Plotz, MD
ACR Gold Medal Recipient
Westley H. Reeves, MD
ACR Henry Kunkle Young Investigator Award Winner
John S. Sergent, MD
ACR Past President 1992-93
Lawrence E. "Larry" Schulman, MD, PhD
ACR Presidential Gold Medal Recipient
ARA Past President 1974-75
Dr. Schulman identified a syndrome known as eosinophilic fasciitis, now Shulman's Syndrome.
Allen C. Steere, MD
Arthur L. Weaver, MD
ACR Past President 1995-96
Pequot Lakes, MN
Michael E. Weinblatt, MD
ACR Past President, 2000-01
David Wofsy, MD
ACR Past President, 2003-04
San Francisco, CA
Nathan Zvaifler, MD
Past Editor Arthritis & Rheumatism, 1980-1985
San Diego, CA