Our Story: Celebrating 70 Years

Whether you joined us decades ago or are new to the AAFP community, explore key highlights and milestones of our first 70 years. This is our story. Together, we’re making family medicine stronger.


Do you have an important milestone for consideration? Share it using the hashtag #AAFP70.


June 10, 1947

The Founding Year

The American Academy of General Practice (AAGP) was founded in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to maintain the high-quality standards for family doctors who were providing continuing comprehensive health care to the public.

June 21, 1948

First Delegates Meeting

The first AAGP Congress of Delegates was held in Chicago. Delegates from 26 constituent state chapters met to conduct official business.


April 1950

Read All About It!

The first issue of GP (forerunner of American Family Physician) was published. The August 1950 issue contained a section entitled “Atomic Warfare.”

March 19-22, 1956

A Surprise Visit

Vice President Richard M. Nixon made a surprise appearance at the 8th Annual Scientific Assembly held in Washington, DC.


April 1965

Equal Rights for AAGP Membership

Congress of Delegates passed Resolution No. 11, which stated the Academy was “unalterably opposed to the denial of membership in county and state chapters because of race, color, religion, ethnic affiliation, or national origin.”

February 8, 1969

Specialty Recognition

Family practice was approved as American medicine’s 20th specialty. The first certifying exam was held February 28-March 1, 1970.


October 3, 1971

New Name

The AAGP officially changed its name to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) in order to more accurately reflect the changing nature of primary health care.

April 5-7, 1974

Peers Unite

An informal meeting of the ad hoc group of residents in family practice was held in Kansas City. This group, 35 residents from 27 individual family practice programs, developed the organizational structure that is now known as the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students.

October 5, 1975

Primary Care Defined

The Congress of Delegates approved the Academy’s first definition of primary care, which emphasized ongoing responsibility for the patient in both health maintenance and therapy of illness, as well as personal care interaction and communication between the patient and the physician.


October 1987

Live Smoke Free

The AAFP Stop Smoking Kit, developed by the Committee on Health Education, publicly debuted. This kit made the AAFP the only medical organization with an ongoing program to teach physicians a systematic approach to help patients stop smoking.

September 17, 1989

Health Care for All

The AAFP committed itself to being the first medical organization to make access to health care a focused priority.


August 24-26, 1990

Where Leaders Develop

The first National Conference of women, minority, and new physicians was held to provide an opportunity for members of those special groups to have direct input into policy discussions. Today, it’s known as the National Conference of Constituency Leaders.

October 1993

Peer-reviewed Journal Launches

The first issue of Family Practice Management was published. The 150-page inaugural issue included articles on health care reform, managed care negotiations, colposcopy in family practice, and electronic claims filing.



October 6, 1993

Take a Seat

Women, minority, and new physician delegates were seated in the Congress of Delegates. For the first time, slotted seats were approved for these constituencies for a period of five years in order to allow these groups’ voices to be adequately heard when establishing AAFP policy.

February 10, 1998

AAFP Member Named Surgeon General

The U.S. Senate confirmed AAFP member David Satcher, MD, PhD, as surgeon general and assistant secretary of health. He was sworn in February 13, 1998, and was the first family physician to fill that position. He served until 2002


June 2005

Strengthening Family Medicine

FamMedPAC, a new federal political action committee, was launched. It was formed to advance the interest of family physicians in government policy.

September 27, 2006

Rally on Capitol Hill

Family medicine leaders and practicing family physicians converged on Capitol Hill for a rally called Vote for America’s Health, to emphasize to lawmakers the urgent need for health system reform.



Triple Aim for Better Care

Family Medicine for America’s Health was launched to revisit the role of Family medicine to meet the needs of the American public by achieving the triple aim of better care, better outcomes, and lower costs. This initiative included a communications program aimed at consumers, policymakers, payers, and the medical community, and a strategic plan that focused on addressing key issues facing the specialty of family medicine.

March 31, 2017

Focus to Improve Health Equity

The Center for Diversity and Health Equity was established to evaluate current research on the social determinants of health and health equity with a strong focus on collaboration, advocacy, and policy.

 Images courtesy of the Center for the History of Family Medicine