ACEP was founded on Aug. 16, 1968, by John G. Wiegenstein, MD, John A. Rupke, MD, and six other physicians in Lansing, Michigan, who wanted to meet the needs of career emergency physicians.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 37 – No 03 – March 2018
Around the same time, and with no knowledge of the Michigan activities, Reinald L. Leidelmeyer, MD, of Fairfax, Virginia, led a physician group that practiced emergency medicine full-time, in addition to those in the Alexandria Plan, the original full-time emergency medicine staffing concept led by James D. Mills Jr., MD.
Looking to form a national organization, these founders gathered together in November 1968 at the Marriott Twin Bridges Motel in Arlington, Virginia. In all, 32 physicians from 18 states attended this meeting.
Dr. Wiegenstein and Dr. Rupke recounted some details from that first meeting and many other of ACEP’s origin stories in a session titled “Stories from the Past” at the 2003 Michigan College of Emergency Physicians meeting.
Here is an excerpt.
JW: At that meeting, Reinald got up and made a little discussion of ambulances and EMS systems and so forth. Then he said, “There’s a guy from Michigan and there’s a couple of people from Michigan who have formed a little club in Michigan, and we’d like to hear from him.” (Audience laughter)
So I got up and presented all this; the ink was still wet practically … the application blanks, the membership cards, everything. (Holds up papers)
They all looked at each other—I thought we were coming here to form an organization; it’s already formed!
Hannas [R.R. Hannas Jr., MD] stood up and said, “Why don’t we all join this group in Michigan? They’ve got it all together.” (Audience laughter)
Little did they know!
We decided we would be more national if we got together with a few of those guys at the meeting.
Who was there? Jim Mills. We had all heard about him because he was the Alexandria Plan master. So we said, “By all means, Jim, would you please be on our Board?”
Gave Reinald a seat on the Board. We gave Hannas and Graves [Harris B. Graves, MD], who were there from Nebraska and Missouri.
So we expanded our board by four people and made it, quote, “more national.”
Another thing that happened at this meeting that is of interest: A fellow came up to me and said, “I want to join right now. I want to fill out the application, and I want you to give me one of those cards.”