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College History, Leadership & Awards 

 The History of ACAAI

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 remains the only Allergy specialty board
recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

In 1992, then ACAAI 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). As we celebrated our organization's 70th anniversary in 2012, 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) was published in a recent 2012 Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology article (members only).

We stand on a firm foundation of scholarship and excellence moving forward into the next
era of the College.

 Dr. Joseph A. Bellanti
ACAAI Historian
Past President 1991-1992

 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.  The Gold-Headed Cane Award history, by year since inception, is as follows:

2001               Harold S. Nelson, MD

2002               Joseph A. Bellanti, MD

2003               Edward J. O’Connell, MD

2004               Elliot F. Ellis, MD

2005               John C. Selner, MD [Deceased]

2006               Phillip L. Lieberman, MD

2007               Betty B. Wray, MD

2008               Donald W. Aaronson, MD, JD

2009               Emil J. Bardana, Jr., MD

2010              Raymond Slavin, MD

2011               Ira Finegold, MD

2012               Rufus E. Lee, Jr., MD

2013               Michael S. Blaiss, MD



 Named Lectureships by year

 Past Leadership, by category and year


 Grants and Support Awards by year

 Awards by year

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