Centennial reprint: 1942: ACS plays critical role in war effort

College involvement in the military is reflected in this 1942 Archives photo. Left to right: Malcolm T. MacEachern, ACS Associate Director; Brig. Gen. Hugh J. Morgan, who became Chief Consultant in Medicine, Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army; Eleanor K. Grimm, Secretary to the ACS Board of Regents; and Capt. Frederick R. Hook, U.S. Navy.

To help commemorate the American College of Surgeons’ (ACS) Centennial, the Bulletin is reprinting articles centered on the issues and developments that have defined the character and integrity of the organization throughout its history. This month, the Bulletin is reprinting two items that represent the ACS’ involvement and commitment to service during World War II: first is introductory material from the “War Issue,” published in April 1942; second is the announcement, published in September 1942, that the 1942 Clinical Congress would be cancelled.

The War Issue contained information shared at 27 ACS War Sessions in March, April, and May. A summary of the sessions is included in the reprint that follows. According to the reprint, an estimated one out of five members of the medical profession throughout the U.S. attended one War Session that year. The College continued to present the War Sessions until the war ended in September 1945.

Likewise, the Clinical Congress was cancelled in 1942, 1943, and 1944. The College’s decision to cancel the meeting was motivated by a number of factors, including patriotism, the large number of surgeons serving in the military, and the need to keep the nation’s transportation system open for transferring military personnel and equipment.

The College and its Fellows continue to serve during wartime and strive to provide excellent care to returning troops as reflected in the ACS’ participation in the Joining Force campaign, which seeks to ensure that veterans and their families have access to housing, education, and appropriate medical care.

Download the April 1942 ACS Bulletin, Volume 27 No. 2.

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