• rss
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • linkedin

History of the American College of Physicians in Florida

Charles K. Donegan, MD, FACP
Updated by Philip Altus, MD, FACP

The American College of Physicians was founded in 1915 to "uphold high standards in medical education, medical practice and medical research"; to preserve the history; to perpetuate the best traditions of medicine and medical ethics; and to maintain both the dignity of internal medicine and the efficiency of its function in relation to public welfare.

The first governor of the American College of Physicians for Florida was Dr. JAMES DAVIS LOVE, a pediatrician, who became a Fellow of the College in 1920. Dr. Love, one of only eight members of the College, served as governor from 1926 until his death from pneumonia on March 26, 1930 at age 57.

Dr. Love was born in Quincy, Florida and obtained an AB degree in 1897 from the West Florida Seminary in Tallahassee. He received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the University of Maryland in Baltimore, finishing ninth in his class. Following a one-year internship in the obstetrical department of the University Hospital, he then located in Jacksonville, Florida on June 6, 1898 as a general practitioner.

In 1909 he decided to devote his practice to pediatrics, and to prepare himself for this specialty undertook studies in Vienna, Paris, London, and Boston. He did postgraduate studies in Boston and New York during 1910 and 1911 and later in St. Louis. In 1913-1914 he began his practice for the diseases of children in Duval County, having served as a member of the teaching staff of the Southern Pediatric Seminary, at Saluda, North Carolina. He was an founder member of the St. Luke's Hospital medical staff, was consulting pediatrician at the Duval County Hospital, Assistant Chief of Staff of the Florida Children's Home, and a member of the staff of Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville.

Dr. Love was a member and president of the Duval County Medical Society and Florida Medical Association. He was a member and Chairman of the Pediatric Section of the Southern Medical Association. At the time of his death he was also an alternate representative of the Florida Medical Association to the AMA House of Delegates. In his obituary, Dr. R. H. Mc Ginnis, F.A.C.P. wrote, "His contributions to medicine were many; he commanded the respect and attentive caring of everyone of scientific means (his life was gentle and the elements were so blended in him that all nature might stand up and say 'There was a Man')".

Dr. TURNER ZEIGLER CASON, the second governor of the American College of Physicians in Florida, was born in Gainesville, Florida October 11, 1886 and died January 24, 1968 at age 81. He became a Fellow in 1927, was governor from 1930 until 1948, and then served as the third Vice-President of the American College of Physicians in 1949-1950.

Dr. Cason received his BS degree from the University of Florida in 1908 and an MD degree from the University of Georgia Medical Department in 1913. The University of Georgia also awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Science in Medicine and upon completing a year of internship at Georgia University Hospital and a year of residency at St. Luke's Hospital in Jacksonville, he practiced Internal Medicine in Jacksonville from 1915-1955. Dr. Cason was a founder member of the Riverside Hospital in 1921 and one of the founders of Hope Haven Hospital for Children in 1929, serving as Chief of Staff and member of the board for many years. Dr. Cason was head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Florida Graduate School until the College of Medicine was founded in 1956. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the Southern Medical Association, and the Florida Medical Association, serving as Chairman of the Postgraduate Education Committee for twenty-seven years.

During World War I Dr. Cason served as a Captain in the Medical Corps, heading a hospital unit at Camp Oglethorpe, Georgia. Upon return to civilian life after World War I, Dr. Cason studied electrocardiography, basal metabolism, stomach disorders, and heart disease in Chicago, Washington, and Boston, after which he returned to Jacksonville to begin his practice. He designed and maintained the first basal metabolism machine in Florida.

Dr. Cason was concerned with the need for continuing medical education and the paucity of courses available to physicians. In conjunction with the Florida Medical Association he initiated one of the first postgraduate courses in the nation for the practicing physician. Medical authorities from the rest of the nation were recruited for a week in Gainesville, and promised a "glorious vacation for winter-weary teachers in the land of sunshine, surf bathing, fishing and golf." The sole revenue was the $5 registration fee which scarcely covered the costs. Despite the limitation in funds, through the years the course boasted such noted medical authorities as Dr. Paul Dudley White, who later became President Eisenhower's heart specialist, and Dr. Charles Best of Canada, Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of insulin.

In spite of a slim budget, the Depression and World War II, Dr. Cason fought against complacency and disinterest. Members' opinions were surveyed, the course changed locations from Gainesville to Orlando to Jacksonville, and the annual postgraduate course continued to broaden to cover various specialties.

In 1955 when Dr. Cason retired, the course was moved to Gainesville to the new J. Hillis Miller Health Center at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Dr. Cason served terms as President of the Florida Tuberculosis Health Association, board member as well as executive committeeman of the Florida Clinical Diabetes Association, a board member of the Duval District Heart Association, and board member of the Tuberculosis Association of Duval County. Dr. Cason was also consultant to the Flagler Memorial Hospital in St. Augustine and to the Veterans' Administration facility in Lake City. At the time of his death, he was on the Executive Committee of Hope Haven Hospital, Chief Medical Consultant of the State Welfare Board, and Medical Director of the Outpatient Department of Duval Medical Center. His eighteen years as Governor of the College of Physicians were filled with progress and motivation.

The third governor of the College was Dr. WILLIAM CAMPBELL BLAKE of Tampa who served from 1948 to 1957. Dr. Blake was born in Dayton, Kentucky on February 24, 1893 and died on August 2, 1967. He obtained his BS degree from Howard College of Birmingham, Alabama and his MD degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1917. He served in the Medical Corps of the U. S. Navy during World War I and he established himself in the city of Tampa immediately after leaving the service. He was elected a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 1927.

Dr. Blake organized the West Coast Academy of Medicine in 1948 to include internists from Lakeland, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Manatee County and Sarasota. In the beginning several well attended meetings were held each year at the Columbia Restaurant in the private dining room and each meeting included a speaker on a variety of subjects not necessarily limited to medical subjects, book reports and other subjects unrelated to medicine.

During Dr. Blake's governorship, annual regional meetings were established in the Southeast consisting of Florida, Cuba, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Each year the programs were held in a different state. The rotation also included Cuba. These excellent educational programs were well attended by physicians from all of the Southeast states.

The College stopped rotating meetings to Cuba after Fidel Castro came to power and the sharing of a governorship with Cuba was discontinued after 1965. The remaining members were included under the Florida region.

At the annual meeting of the American College of Physicians in San Francisco in the spring of 1956, the American College of physicians made a decision to not be concerned or involved in the socioeconomic aspects of medical practice. At that meeting it was pointed out the American College of Physicians' sphere of interest had traditionally been the scientific and ethical aspects of medical practice. As a result of this decision, Dr. Blake attended a meeting in San Francisco held by Dr. Clark T. Calloway of San Francisco, secretary/treasurer of the American Society of Internal Medicine. Their discussions led to the expansion of the American Society of Internal Medicine to a national organization made up of state societies.

It was Dr. Blake's opinion that, as the College was not going to assume the responsibility of socioeconomics, a Florida Society of Internal Medicine should be formed. Acting upon this information, several meetings were called to discuss the feasibility of forming a Florida Society of Internal Medicine. As a result of the deliberations of these meetings, the Florida Society of Internal Medicine was chartered in St. Petersburg on October 14, 1956 with Dr. Blake's counsel and became the second component state society of the American Society of Internal Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts.

The fourth governor was Dr. KARL B. HANSON, SR. of Jacksonville who was born in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin on August 10, 1908. He became a Fellow in 1951 and served as governor from 1957-1966. Dr. Hanson obtained his AB degree from the University of South Dakota, his BS degree from the University of Chicago in 1932 and his medical degree from the University of Chicago in 1935. His postgraduate education was taken at Emory University and he was an associate in medicine at Duval Medical Center from 1937-1951.

After serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army from 1942-1946, he began his practice in Jacksonville July 1, 1936 and retired in December, 1982. He became the chairman of Internal Medicine at Duval Medical Center from 1951-1961 and was Chairman of the Departments of Medicine of St. Luke's Hospital from 1955-1961 and Baptist Memorial Hospital from 1955-1961. He was President of the Jacksonville Hospital Educational Program and was appointed as Clinical Professor of Medicine of the College of Medicine, University of Florida and President from 1966-1972.

Dr. Hanson was concerned during his term as College governor from 1957-1966 with increasing the numbers of Florida physicians in the College and encouraging increased participation in the activities of the College. During his term the very rapid growth of the Florida Chapter of the College began. He encouraged new members to take the examinations of the American Board of Internal Medicine prior to applying for Fellowship in the College and to present interesting cases or programs to their hospital medical staff meetings. In this way, he believed the members would become better informed physicians and their peers would become aware of the role of the internist as consultant and teacher. Members and Fellows of the College were encouraged strongly to attend the College's postgraduate courses, regional meetings, and Annual Session.

During Dr. Hanson's governorship, the membership of the West Coast Academy of Medicine was becoming less active, and he visited one of the meetings to encourage the involvement of more internists in the area whether they were members of the College or not. As a result of his enthusiasm, the West Coast Academy of Medicine became very, very active and is still active today.

As did Dr. Blake, Dr. Hanson encouraged the College and the Florida Society of Internal Medicine to have joint meetings and it was through his leadership that these two organizations in Florida forged a strong working relationship. Dr. Hanson also presided over the Southeast Regional annual meeting in 1962 at Point Clear, Alabama, following which the leadership of the College in Philadelphia recommended that the regional meetings of the southeast be discontinued. Since that time each state has had its own regional meeting.

Dr. DONALD F. MARION, born on August 10, 1911 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, served as the fifth governor of the ACP from 1966-1972, having received his fellowship in 1945. Dr. Marion received his BS degree at Duke University in 1934 and his MD degree at Duke University School of Medicine in 1936. He served as intern, resident, fellow and member of the associate staff of Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan from 1935 through 1942. He held the position of Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine from 1955 to 1965 and was a Professor of Medicine at the school until his death on July 10, 1979 at age 67. He was a member of the attending staff of Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and Doctor's Hospital of Coral Gables as well as consulting staff at St. Francis's Hospital in Miami Beach and Victoria Hospital in Miami.

Dr. Marion was a well-known gastroenterologist in the Miami area and served the community as a leader with many community organizations and active membership in numerous professional organizations such as the American Gastroenterology Association for whom he was membership chairman. He was the second President of the Florida Society of Internal Medicine. Dr. Marion was a member of the Southern Medical Association and served as President in 1968 and 1969.

The sixth Governor of the College was Dr. CHESTER CASSEL who was born on February 23, 1918 in New York City, became a Fellow of the College in 1951 and served as governor from 1971 to 1975. He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Florida. He received his degree in medicine from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He did postgraduate work in gastroenterology at Duke University School of Medicine. After completing his training he began a practice in Miami, Florida in 1951 as a consultant in gastroenterology.

In 1970 the College created the position of governor-elect and Dr. Cassel became the first person to hold this office in Florida beginning in April, 1971. During this period there was a rapid increase in the membership of the College throughout the state, and discussions were undertaken at the national offices of the ACP concerning the development of state chapters for the College. During Dr. Cassel's governorship, although the formal chapter structure was not developed, state-wide committees were established to encourage the educational activities for internists in the State of Florida. Also during his tenure as governor, the College began participation in the annual scientific portions of the meetings of the Florida Medical Association. In 1972 the Florida regional meeting was held at Disney World and Jack Meyers was the first Official College Representative, followed by Dr. Packard Vitter and Edward B. Flink. These meetings continued to be integrated with the annual meeting of the Florida Society of Internal Medicine. In October 1974 Dr. Cassel joined with the governors of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and had a successful regional meeting in Charleston.

During his term as governor Dr. Cassel introduced the concept of joint participation with the university programs in internal medicine and in his annual meetings he sought to involve the three medical schools by inviting them to arrange educational programs at the annual meetings.

Dr. LEIGH CLUFF assumed the office of ACP Governor for Florida in 1975. Dr. Cluff was born June 10, 1923 in Salt Lake City, Utah and earned his B.S. degree at the University of Utah in 1944, his medical degree (with distinction) at George Washington University in 1949. Following completion of his internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital on the Osler Service, he became Assistant Resident Physician at Duke University, Durham, NC (1949-1950) and completed his residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1952. He studied immunochemistry under Dr. Manfred Mayer of Baltimore and was visiting investigator and assistant physician at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research from 1952 until 1954. He accepted a faculty position at the Johns Hopkins University, Department of Medicine in 1955 and rose to the rank of Professor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Allergy and Infectious Disease at that institution in 1964. In 1966, Dr. Cluff was named chair of the Department of Medicine of the University of Florida in Gainesville where he served until 1975, when he was named Executive Vice President, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He became President of RWJF in 1986 where he served until 1990, after which Dr. Cluff returned to the University of Florida. Dr. Cluff is a distinguished physician of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dr. CHARLES DONEGAN, the eighth governor, was appointed as interim governor for the Florida region. Dr. Donegan was born in St. Petersburg, Florida on October 21, 1920, graduated from Duke University School of Medicine in 1943, and served as intern, assistant and co-resident in Internal Medicine at the Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina from January 1, 1944 to April 13, 1945. He then undertook fellowship training in cardiovascular disease at Duke from 1946 to 1948 and began his private practice of cardiology in St. Petersburg on April 1, 1948. Dr. Donegan became a Fellow of the College in 1953 and served as governor from October, 1975 to 1980.

He served as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in World War II at the U. S. Naval Hospital in Corona, California and was recalled in the Korean War as a Lieutenant Commander, Chief of Cardiovascular Diseases at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia May 1953 to June 1954.

Dr. Donegan encouraged the development of the associate program at the University of South Florida School of Medicine and the University of Florida at Gainesville and held programs featuring scientific presentations by the Associates with awards for the best papers. He undertook an enthusiastic recruitment program for members and exhorted members to become Fellows of the College. During his governorship Dr. Donegan developed a Credentials and Nominating Committee from all areas of the state to obtain new members for the College and established an active advisory committee of past governors and members from various areas of the state which was destined to become the model for the membership of the council of the state chapter .

Dr. ROY H. BEHNKE, our ninth governor and Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida in Tampa, was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 24, 1921.

He graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine in 1946. After service in the U.S. Army medical Corps, he returned to that institution and completed his internal medicine training in 1952. Dr. Behnke then joined the faculty of the department of internal medicine at Indiana, and was selected as a John and Mary R. Markle Scholar in Medicine. During his tenure at Indiana University, he became professor of medicine in 1961 and assumed the responsibility for medical service of the Veterans Administration Hospital, serving as its chief. In July 1972, he became the first professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine of the University of South Florida. Over more than twenty years, Dr. Behnke developed an outstanding department, recruiting faculty committed to the ideals of teaching, research and service to the community. Dr. Behnke was elected ACP Governor for Florida in 1980. One of the major achievements of his tenure was to accomplish the task of chapter formation. This began with preliminary discussions held concurrently with the annual fall meeting in 1981. The process proceeded to a preliminary set of by-laws which included a plan to establish districts for uniform selection of members for what was proposed to be the governor's advisory council. These were considered at the fall meeting of the succeeding year, 1982. The document was approved and presented to the parent College where, after further negotiations and change, a final by-laws document was agreed upon, eventuating in Chapter status. This was presented to the fall meeting in 1983 and was fully implemented at the time Dr. Eugene R. Schiff assumed office in 1984.

The value of this major step in chapter status has been clearly demonstrated in the enhanced membership activity within both the chapter and the governor's Advisory Council as well as a significantly expanded program of work. The expanding membership of the College in the state in 1980 included many prestigious Masters of the American College of Physicians in Florida. The annual programs of 1980-1984 years recognized our fortunate status and established a Masters lecture at each of the annual meetings in that period. The members in attendance were able to meet and learn from these acknowledged leaders of American internal medicine. Dr. Behnke himself became a Master of the American College of Physicians in 1996.

Dr. EUGENE R. SCHIFF, an internationally known specialist in liver disease, served as governor from 1984-1988. He had become a Fellow in the College in 1974. Dr. Schiff obtained his MD degree from Columbia (P&S) in 1962. He served his internship and residency at Cincinnati General Hospital and took his second year of residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas where he subsequently completed a fellowship in gastroenterology. He has been Chief of the Hepatology Section at the VA Hospital in Miami since 1972. He has been Professor of Medicine since 1978 and Chief of the Division of Hepatology since 1974. He was a Lieutenant Commander in the U. S. Public Health Service from 1964 to 1966. During Dr. Schiff's term he increased membership by writing to those internists in Florida who were board certified but had not yet become members of the College.

He established a health care retreat for various health care disciplines including physicians, representatives of the insurance and industry sectors, and state health officials which was highly successful in communicating with the financial providers of health care. Dr. Schiff also had a highly successful retreat in regard to conflict of interests. He also organized a working Advisory Council and appropriate committees for members of the Florida Chapter. He also enhanced Associate involvement in College activities.

Dr. JAMES L. BORLAND, JR., who served as ACP Governor for Florida from 1988 until 1992, was born in Durham, NC on November 29, 1932. He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Florida, where he was selected to the Coach's All America Swimming Team in 1954. He received his medical degree in 1958 from the Johns Hopkins University School of medicien and served his internship there. He was first year assistant resident at Vanderbilt University Hospital and returned in 1960 to the Osler Medical Service at Johns Hopkins to complete his residency. Dr. Borland completed a gastroenterology fellowship at Duke University Medical Center in 1963, following which he served in the U.S. Navy. After completion of his military service, he entered the private practice of gastroenterology with his father, Dr. James L. Borland, Sr. In Jacksonville, Florida.

Dr. Borland has served as president of the American Society for gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Florida Society of Internal Medicine, Florida Gastroenterologic Society, Jacksonville Hospital Education Program, Duval County Medical Society, and Foundation for Medical Care in Duval Couny. He has also served as treasurer of the American Gastroenterological Association and on the board of the American College of Gastroenterology as well as on the editorial board of Gastroenterology. He was elected to Fellowship in the American College of Physicians in 197 and in 1992 received the ACP's special Presidential Citation as Governor of the Year. Dr. Borland was elected to a term as Regent of the College in that year and currently serves as Treasurer of the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Borland held a joint planning session with members of the Florida Society of Internal Medicine at a retreat at Amelia Island in August of 1988 to formally explore the similarities and common goals. During his tenure activities in cooperation with the FSIM and other medical organizations increased. Each year the Florida Chapter organized a scientific session during the annual meeting of the Florida Medical Association and the Florida Chapter arranged for the first time to exhibit at the national meeting of the American Association of Retired Persons held in Orlando. At a time when the College was looking for ways in which to increase access to medical care for all persons, Dr. Borland organized a seminar to discuss Access to Health Care as well as "rationing." Although he has retired from the private practice of gastroenterology, he continues to be active in numerous organizations. A clinical professor of medicine of the University of Florida, Dr. Borland teaches at the UF Health Science Center in Jacksonville, is active in the Rotary Club of Jacksonville (Paul Harris Fellow, 1992), and lends his talents to the ASGE as well as his duties as the national ACP Treasurer.

Dr. PHILIP ALTUS was born in Troy, New York on October 2, 1945. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Rochester in 1967 and his medical degree in 1971 from Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, New York. He served as intern and first year assistant resident there before entering the military where he attained the rank of Major in the U.S. Air Force and was officer in charge of the General Therapy clinic from 1972 through 1975 at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado. In 1976 he completed his postgraduate training as a senior resident in the department of medicine at Syracuse Upstate Medical Center.

Dr. Altus joined the Department of Internal Medicine of the University of South Florida as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in 1976 and was ultimately promoted to Professor of Medicine at USF in 1987. During his tenure, Dr. Altus served as Chief of the University Medical Service at Tampa General Hospital, Associate Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, Program Director and Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine. He has served on multiple critical university and departmental committees including the College of Medicine Rank and Tenure Committee, the USF Task Force Committee on Graduate Medical Education, Tampa General Hospital Executive Board and the Dean's Task Force Committee on Medical School Accreditation.

He was elected to Fellowship in the American College of Physicians in 1981 and has represented the University of Florida's internal medicine residency program on the Governor's Advisory Council since 1984. He served as ACP Governor for Florida from 1992 through 1996 and has offered his talents to the College on various national committees including the Associates' Task Force and Health and Public Policy Committee. In addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities at USF, Dr. Altus continues to be active in several other organizations including the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology Practice Guidelines Committee and task Force on Early Recognition and Treatment of Myocardial Infarction. He has also served on the Board of Governors for the American contract Bridge league.

Dr. Altus' primary professional interest is in teaching and he allocated much of his time as Governor promoting the Associates program. Two internal medicine residency programs (Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and the Cleveland Clinic Florida) started up and were invited to participate in council and chapter activities. This was a time of transition: the College moved to spark a national debate on health care reform and it was Dr. Altus who unequivocally made the opinions of local members known to the national organization as well as reviewing and commenting on the numerous position papers issued by the College, a talent which landed him on the national Health & Public Policy Committee. Perhaps, though, he would probably modestly regard the greatest achievement of his tenure as putting the Chapter on firm financial ground by carefully watching the bottom line and creating a reserve fund.

Former Governor Dr. JAMIE S. BARKIN received his medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine. He completed his internship, residency and a fellowship in gastroenterology at Jackson Memorial Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Miami in 1975, after which he joined the faculty of the University of Miami. Dr. Barkin has been a Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami since 1987 and has been the Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology of Mount Sinai Medical Center since 1985.

Dr. Barkin has been a Fellow of the American College of Physicians since 1977 and in 1996 was named a Master of the American College of Gastroenterology. He has been active in numerous professional organizations and has served as President of the American College of Gastroenterology (1989-1990), Council of Regional Endoscopic Societies (1986-1988), Florida Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (1979-1981) and President of the Florida Gastro-enterological Society (1994-1995.)

In addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities, he has published extensively, has been an invited lecturer at numerous national and international meetings and is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, attaining the rank of brigadier general in 1996.

As Governor, Dr. Barkin instituted a number of innovations primarily concerned with increasing the benefits of membership. The regional meeting has been extended to include Friday, Saturday morning and Sunday morning (usually for a total of 15 CME), there is no registration fee for ACP members and the site is a family oriented resort location. Saturday afternoon allows free time for the participants to spend with their families. The membership enhancement committee has been expanded with a committee chair to address the special needs of women, Hispanics, Indian/Pakistanis and Haitians and breakfast or luncheon meetings are being held/planned throughout the state. One of the most exciting innovations will be the debut of our chapter web page under the able direction of Dr. Greg von Mering.

The current Governors are Michael Zimmer, MD, FACP and Michelle Rossi, MD, FACP.

Membership in 1920 was 0 and today is over 6000.