The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) first discussed certification of thoracic surgeons at its 1936 meeting in Rochester, Minnesota, but it was the consensus that no need for certification existed at that time. As a result of the rapid growth and importance of thoracic surgery as a specialty during the succeeding years, the need for a specialty board in thoracic surgery became apparent.
Recognizing that a large part of its membership wanted such a board, the AATS President reappointed the original committee in 1945 to study the matter. The committee’s report at the 1946 AATS meeting, held in Detroit, prompted a recommendation that a Board of Thoracic Surgery be formed in affiliation with the American Board of Surgery.
An AATS committee was appointed to confer with a similar committee appointed by the American Board of Surgery. The necessary steps with the Advisory Board of Medical Specialties were accomplished, and at the AATS meeting held in St. Louis in May 1947, the committee’s report was submitted and adopted unanimously.
Through negotiations, a plan of organization was worked out and approved by the American Board of Surgery. and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery at their respective meetings in Quebec in 1948. The organization of the Board of Thoracic Surgery was structured in accordance with provisions of the plan, and the first, or organizational, meeting was held in Detroit on October 2, 1948.
On January 1, 1971, the Board of Thoracic Surgery became a primary board and changed its named to the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. It is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) which encompasses 24 specialties with primary Boards. The purpose of these Boards is to certify physicians who have completed an ACGME-approved residency in a specialty and, through their Maintenance of Certification (MOC) programs, promote lifelong learning and practice improvement. These processes has been instituted in the public interest.