From Then to Now: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Celebrating 25 Years of Sweeping Advancements

ORLANDO, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#25thAACE–The year was 1991.

NBC’s “Cheers” was the highest-rated show on television. The
highest-grossing film was “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” Grunge and
alternative rock dominated radio airwaves. Led by then-President George
H.W. Bush, the U.S. military and a United Nations Coalition of more than
30 countries liberated Kuwait from Iraqi forces in the 40-day Persian
Gulf War. The Soviet Union was dissolved, effectively leading to the
collapse of the Communist Party. And, on August 6, the World Wide Web
went live to the world…with little fanfare – and the release of the
Apple iPhone was still 16 years away.

And it was amidst these changing times and somewhat tumultuous backdrop
that the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) was
born.

Twenty-five years ago, much was different in the U.S. medical field as
well, particularly within the highly specialized discipline of clinical
endocrinology. At the time, no organization provided an opportunity for
colleagues to interface about the dramatic improvements in endocrinology
diagnostics and other relevant advances. Physicians in the sub-specialty
had little-to-no input into the decision-making of the Health Care
Financing Administration (HCFA), the federal government behemoth
responsible for protecting Americans’ through enforcement of health and
safety standards. Nor did they have representation as a sub-specialty in
the vital healthcare policymaking bodies of the country’s physician
organizations.

In a watershed moment in time, a small group of determined physicians –
dubbed the “Florida Four” – set out to change that, soliciting 26
esteemed colleagues from across the country to join a steering committee
tasked with creating an avenue for clinical endocrinologists to
collectively examine scientific, economic and political aspects of the
specialty in order to maintain the highest levels of patient care and
standards of medical practice.

The need for such an organization was evidenced by AACE’s immediate
success: in the organization’s first year alone, 1,162 membership
applications were received. Today, with more than 7,000 members and 37
chapters – of which 15 are located internationally – AACE is celebrating
its silver anniversary with a look back at some of its more notable
achievements during the last two-and-a-half decades.

  • Publication of clinical care guidelines and algorithms

Key among AACE’s accomplishments is the creation and publication of
ground-breaking, comprehensive clinical care guidelines and algorithms
to assist healthcare professionals in medical decision-making. The
conditions reported on over the years have included diabetes mellitus,
obesity, perioperative care of the bariatric patient, menopause, thyroid
cancer, hypogonadism, dietary supplements and nutraceuticals, growth
hormone use, post-menopausal osteoporosis and many, many more.

  • Physician training

A depth and breadth of programs have been created by AACE to advance
physicians’ skills, including Endocrine University™, a comprehensive,
week-long program held annually since 2002 to prepare final-year fellows
for entering clinical practice by enhancing their clinical endocrinology
knowledge in a number of practice areas; Endocrine Certification in Neck
Ultrasound (ECNU) for physicians who perform thyroid and parathyroid
disorders evaluations through diagnostic ultrasound and
ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (UGFNA); and a variety of
meetings and workshops held throughout the year to advance clinical
skills for allied healthcare professionals.

  • Legislative and advocacy efforts

AACE also has been involved with representing patients in the
legislative arena, conducting spring congressional visitations every
year since 1999. AACE advocacy efforts have resulted in the introduction
of the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act, legislation to
improve the quality of diabetes clinical care and improve the
coordination of federal diabetes activities. Its collaboration with
other medical specialty societies has resulted in the introduction of
The Medicare CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) Access Act to improve
Medicare patients’ CGM coverage and the Increasing Access to
Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act.

In 2011, AACE took the lead in recognizing obesity as a disease,
officially stating its position publicly in an effort to pave the way
for more therapies and treatments for Americans suffering from the
condition. Two years later, following AACE’s lead, the American Medical
Association’s House of Delegates officially declared obesity a disease.

  • Patient Education Programs

In 2003, the scientific, educational and charitable arm of AACE—the
American College of Endocrinology (ACE)—launched the EmPower® patient
engagement program to increase awareness of endocrine-related diseases
and conditions, symptoms, treatment options and tips for a healthier
lifestyle. The umbrella under which all patient education programs
reside, the EmPower™ programs include a 32-page, quarterly, patient
magazine – EmPower Magazine and accompanying website; an annual
thyroid awareness campaign; Blood Sugar Basics, which teaches
patients and their families how to set and attain blood sugar goals; the My
Diabetes Emergency Plan
, a website and comprehensive printed
checklist of essential items needed to be assembled to help people with
diabetes prepare in advance of emergency situations; and Get To The
Heart Of It
, an online resource where visitors can calculate their
LCL cholesterol-related risk for heart disease.

“During the process of building AACE and ACE programs and activities
over the past 25 years, the common denominator has been a vast team of
dedicated individuals who have voluntarily invested countless hours of
time and expertise to ensure patient care was continually advancing and
improving,” said 2015-2016 AACE President Dr. George Grunberger, FACP,
FACE. “To think that when we began this organization, we only had two
drugs to treat type 2 diabetes and now we have 12 classes
– not 12 drugs – approved for treatment, is astonishing.”

“I’m exceedingly proud to be a part of an organization working so
diligently to further the practice of endocrinology,” Dr. Grunberger
added. “It will be exciting to see how AACE enhances patient care,
education and clinical research in the years to come.”

About the American Association of Clinical
Endocrinologists (AACE)

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents
more than 7,000 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE
is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world.
The majority of AACE members are certified in endocrinology, diabetes
and metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with
endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders,
osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders,
hypertension and obesity. Visit our site at www.aace.com.

About the American College of Endocrinology
(ACE)

The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) is the educational and
scientific arm of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
(AACE). ACE is the leader in advancing the care and prevention of
endocrine and metabolic disorders by: providing professional education
and reliable public health information; recognizing excellence in
education, research and service; promoting clinical research and
defining the future of Clinical Endocrinology. For more information,
visit www.aace.com/college.

Contacts

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
Mary Green,
407-506-2960
mgreen@aace.com