Frequently Asked Questions about Chapters & Regions

The College conducts many of its activities through local units called chapters and regions. Many chapters have their own Web sites.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about what our chapters and regions are, what they do, and how they are governed. Click on a question to move quickly to its answer, or simply scroll through this document.

What are chapters and regions?
What purpose do chapters serve?
What do chapters do?
How do chapters function?
What is a Governor?
Who is the Governor for my state or region
What does a Governor do?
How are local concerns brought to the national level?
How long does one serve as Governor?
How are Governors chosen?
What are the exceptions to this process?
How do chapters honor their members?
How can I become involved with my local chapter?
How are chapters recognized for their achievements?

What are chapters and regions?

Chapters are nonprofit, formally structured units of the College. There are chapters in each of the 50 states and in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Some chapters--California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas--are so large they are divided into two or more regions or chapters. In addition, there are: U.S. services chapters (for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy) and international chapters: five in Canada and six in Central and South America, Bangladesh, Caribbean, India, Japan, and Saudi Arabia Chapter. (Note: For the purpose of this FAQ, the word "chapters" will be used to refer to "chapters/regions" unless otherwise noted.)

What purpose do chapters serve?

The chapter structure has several advantages for members:

  • Provide opportunities for the involvement of College members in College activities, through continuing medical education programs and other social and educational events
  • To increase membership through local programs, personal recruitment, and customized outreach
  • Foster collegiality and professionalism among members at the local level
  • Provide opportunities for the ACP to participate actively with state medical societies, state/local government agencies, and other specialty societies to increase the visibility of the ACP as an advocate for internal medicine and highest quality patient care
  • Recognize excellence and distinguished contributions to internal medicine; examples include recognizing FACPs and participation in chapter and national awards
  • Provide a professional home (especially for students and residents) including opportunities for mentoring and social networking
  • Provide opportunities for ACP members to become engaged in chapter leadership positions, including the position of Governor
  • Provide "grassroots" input to the Board of Regents via the Board of Governors
  • Address issues of local concern thoroughly
  • Provide an infrastructure and leadership to implement ACP policies at the local level

What do chapters do?

Each chapter is unique. Depending on member need and interest, the chapter offers programs and activities such as meetings and networking opportunities for members of the College, community-based teaching programs, public policy initiatives, preceptorships for medical students, and local awards programs. For example, in the Maine Chapter, they host a successful Morning Report for Second Year Students program that encourages engagement with the ACP IMIG, and fosters interest in Internal Medicine. The Massachusetts Chapter has a Mentoring Collaborative (MC) which was created to develop activities in support of mentoring relationships, and helps members develop mentoring programs at their own institutions. The North Carolina Chapter instituted an Education Innovation Grants program to fund unique teaching approaches in the State’s medical schools and residency programs. The Georgia Chapter’s Early Career Committee implemented a poster competition and faculty development course. The program assists early career faculty in career progression, subspecialty work, and community involvement.

In addition to implementing local programs, most chapters hold an annual scientific meeting known as a chapter meeting. Chapter members and non-members can attend to update their clinical knowledge and to get to know fellow College members. Most meetings last from one to three days and offer CME credit. Many meetings also include Resident, and Student programs consisting of clinical vignettes and poster presentations. A chapter can request a Leadership Liaison (an officer or Regent of the College) to attend meetings to discuss national ACP programs and policies with the attendees. Members are encouraged to ask questions and raise issues of concern to them. Most meetings include social events. Registration fees can range from $25 to $200. Although nonmembers can attend, members receive a discount. A meeting calendar is available.

How do chapters function?

Each chapter has an Advisory Council in place made up of elected and appointed members who help the Governor with the management of the chapter and assist in the development of local activities. Most chapters also have local committees to carry out the work of the chapter. A chapter's strength depends chiefly on the level of member involvement.

What is a Governor?

A Governor is an elected officer who runs and manages a chapter or region. He/she represents local members in national activities and decisions, as well as implements national projects and initiatives at the local level. All Governors, Governors-elect (Governors in training), the Chair-elect of the Council of Early Career Physicians, the Chair-elect of the Council of Resident/Fellow, the Vice Chair of the Council of Student Members, the Vice Chair of the Council of Subspecialty Societies, and the Chair of the Board of Governors make up the full Board of Governors, an advisory board to the Board of Regents, which is the College's policy-making body.

Who is the Governor for my state or region?

Find out who your governor is by visiting the chapter website.  

What does a Governor do?

Governors have national and local duties. Governors' national responsibilities include:

  • Supporting and communicating College policy to the membership through such activities as chapter meetings, council meetings, publication of newsletters, blast e-mails, and networking
  • Bringing information to national forums regarding concerns of internists and patients in the jurisdiction, proposing solutions or recommended actions when appropriate
  • Actively participating in all deliberations when the Board of Governors advises the Board of Regents on policy issues
  • Fostering involvement of residents and medical students in all College activities
  • Recruiting new members
  • Encouraging advancements from Resident/Fellow to Membership, and from Membership to Fellowship
  • Reviewing, approving, and supporting Fellowship proposals from members in their jurisdiction
  • Responding to requests for information, professional expertise, and opinion from ACP headquarters
  • Involving the chapter in national College programs
  • Completing an annual report on chapter activities every year

How are local concerns brought to the national level?

Local concerns are most often brought to the national level through the Governor. This can happen in a variety of ways. The most common routes are:

1. Resolutions. Four months prior to the spring and fall Board of Governors (BOG) meetings (see below), ACP members may initiate a resolution addressing any issue or topic by submitting it to their Governor and/or chapter council. A resolution becomes a resolution of the chapter once it is approved by the chapter council.

Members interested in researching the College's position on an issue prior to submitting a resolution may access this information by visiting the "Advocacy" section on ACP Online. In accordance with the ACP's resolution process, resolutions should clearly distinguish the action requested within its resolved clause(s) as either a policy resolve ("Resolved that ACP policy..."), or a directive, which requests action/study on an issue ("Resolved that the Board of Regents..."). Please contact your Governor if you have any questions regarding the resolution format.

New resolutions and recommendations for follow-up are acted upon by the Board of Governors and presented to the Board of Regents. Once the Board of Regents has accepted recommendations, resolutions are either adopted as policy, or forwarded to College staff and/or committees for study and/or implementation.

2. Comments on policy papers. As national committees develop ACP policy papers, Governors are invited to review and comment on draft versions. They are encouraged to seek as much input as possible from local members, usually by circulating copies of drafts to those serving on local committees. Members' comments are collated and forwarded to the national committee responsible for writing the paper. This information is taken in consideration for the final draft of the paper, which goes to the Board of Regents for approval.

3. Board of Governor (BOG) conferences. The Governors and Governors-elect from all chapters and regions convene as a Board twice a year, once in the spring immediately prior to the annual Internal Medicine meeting, and once in the fall. At their conferences, Governors have an opportunity to present the views of their members during small group discussions or open-mike time, or by voting on specific issues. Recommendations are then brought to the Board of Regents by the Chair and Chair-elect of the Board of Governors, both of whom are voting members of the BOR.

4. Board of Governors Executive Committee. This group meets five times a year. Each committee member is charged with bringing to the table issues of concern to his/her classmates (other Governors elected in the same year as the committee member). Governors often use this vehicle to raise awareness about the concerns of their membership. After discussion by the Executive Committee, recommendations can be made to the full Board of Governors, the Board of Regents or its Executive Committee, or to another committee or workgroup.

Two other routes are also available:

1. Committee participation. Members also bring attention to local issues by serving on national committees or forwarding their thoughts to a national committee member.

2. Calls and letters. Many members choose to call or write headquarters staff or the College president when they have concerns. These issues are then forwarded to the appropriate staff or committee for follow-up.

In sum, there are many ways to get involved with the College and to make your interests known. The College welcomes your input and is made richer by it!

How long does one serve as Governor?

A Governor's term is four years. Before taking office as Governor, he or she goes through one year of training as Governor-elect.

How are Governors chosen?

With a few exceptions (see below), Governors are elected by popular vote of all ACP two-year Resident/Fellows, Members, Fellows, and Masters in the chapter or region over which he/she presides. The process is as follows:

1. In late January, third-year Governors are asked to appoint a Local Nominations Committee Chair.

2. In the spring, letters are sent to two-year Associates, Members, Fellows, and Masters of each chapter/region holding an election requesting them to send names of potential candidates to the Chairs of their Local Nominations Committees. Names are usually due to Chairs in late April.

3. The Local Nominations Committee selects two candidates from the names submitted by the membership. They are encouraged to select people who have been active in the College and to be sensitive to ACP efforts to involve members from diverse backgrounds.

4. The National Governors' Subcommittee on Nominations reviews and approves all candidates submitted by Local Nominations Committees.

5. In August, an election notice is sent to members of all regions holding elections. The notice names all candidates and contains information regarding the option to petition for additional candidates.

6. In late September or early October, after the petition deadline has passed, ballots are mailed to all members in the region who are eligible to vote. Enclosed with the ballot are each candidate's biographical sketch, vision statement and instructions for voting. This information is also posted on chapter Web sites.

7. In November, ballots are due back for computer scoring. The candidates are notified of the election results and the winners' names are listed in ACP Internist, ACP Online, and the chapter's Web site.

What are the exceptions to this process?

Governor for the US Navy are appointed by the Surgeon General of each respective service. Masters and Fellows on active duty are eligible for appointment.

How do chapters honor their members?

Chapters honor outstanding members of their chapter who have served their community, their Chapter, and the College with distinction through local awards. The Laureate Award and the Volunteerism and Community Service Award are presented the most often, although many chapters have established their own awards.

The Laureate Award is the most prestigious award given at the local level. It honors Fellows or Masters of the ACP who have demonstrated by their example and conduct an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education, or research, and in service to their community, their chapter, and the American College of Physicians.

The Volunteerism and Community Service Award honors members who have distinguished themselves in voluntary service in the area of medicine. Volunteerism and community service, like a commitment to continuing education, is an established tradition for the College and for internists. The College considers volunteerism so important that it is a major criteria for advancing to Fellowship.

Here are the historical lists for past chapter awards:

How can I become involved with my local chapter?

Chapters have a variety of opportunities for members to get involved. Fill out a volunteer form and your local chapter will contact you.

How are chapters recognized for their achievements?

Chapters are recognized through the John Tooker Evergreen Awards Program and the Chapter Excellence Awards Program.  

The John Tooker Evergreen Awards Program provides recognition and visibility to chapters that have successfully implemented programs to increase membership, improve communication, increase member involvement, enhance diversity, foster careers in internal medicine and improve management of the chapter.