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With One Voice: The Association of American Medical Colleges, 1876-2002
By Mark D. Bowles and Virginia P. Dawson
Published 2003


Founded in 1876, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) came into existence at a time when some thought that medical schools were “no better equipped to teach medicine than is a Turkish-bath establishment or a barbershop.” Its early years were marked by internal dissention that threatened to dissolve the fragile union among medical schools with very diverse standards and curricula. Over time the AAMC was able to achieve consensus among its membership about the need for national leadership dedicated to promoting quality in medical education. Today, the AAMC is a strong and vibrant national voice for the medical schools and teaching hospitals that it represents, with a solid history of accomplishment in improving medical education in the United States.

With One Voice, a History Enterprises project, examines the history of crises faced by medical schools and describes the ways in which the AAMC positioned itself to become the leading advocate for medical education in the United States. In the process of establishing medical education standards and the shaping the AAMC to become the national voice of medical education, the organization’s leaders have endeavored to speak “with one voice” as the leading advocate for medical schools and teaching hospitals, and their interrelated missions of medical education, research, and patient care.