ASCP Celebrates 100 Years

By Kelly Swails - December 20, 2021


In the 1922, pathology as a medical specialty was in its infancy, and was originally practiced by clinicians who saw the potential of laboratory medicine to help diagnose their patients. When the umbrella of the American Medical Association failed to recognize these clinicians and the critical importance of diagnostic medicine, they banded together and created a national organization. That organization was the American Society for Clinical Pathologists—ASCP—and included 145 charter members. Its objectives included promoting the practice of medicine through the application of clinical laboratory methods; stimulating original research; establishing uniform standards for laboratory tests; elevating the professional status of those practicing laboratory medicine; and encouraging collaboration with their colleagues in other branches of medicine.

In 2022, ASCP—now called, of course, The American Society for Clinical Pathology—celebrates its 100th anniversary. It’s an impressive milestone, and to celebrate, ASCP is taking a look back at everything the Society has accomplished over the past century. They include, but certainly aren’t limited to1:

  • Creating the first certification agency for laboratory professionals in 1928. This Board of Registry (BOR)—now called the Board of Certification (BOC)—began assessing the competency of laboratory personnel in 1933. And, in 1948, it became the first medical certification agency to use machine grading of its exams.
  • Launching the first medical journal dedicated to Laboratory medicine—the American Journal of Clinical Pathology—in 1931. This journal is still in existence today and continues to be a leader in pathology research and practice.
  • Establishing the Board of Pathology in 1934. The American Board of Pathology (ABP) performs the same function for pathologists as the BOR (now BOC) performs for laboratory professionals. The APB was approved by the American Board of Medicinal Specialties in 1936 to provide certification for anatomic and clinical pathology practitioners.
  • Creating the College of American Pathologists (CAP) in 1946 to handle economic matters, professional relations, and state and federal legislation issues.
  • Electing Emma Moss president of the organization in 1955. Not only was she the first woman president of ASCP, she was the first woman president of any national medical organization.
  • Establishing a baccalaureate degree as the minimum requirement for MT certification per the ASCP BOR in 1972.
  • Sponsoring and leading National Medical Laboratory Week—colloquially referred to as “lab week”—since 1977 as a way to celebrate laboratory professionals.
  • Developing an assessment tool for residents (RISE) and guidelines for continuing medical laboratory education (CMLE) in the 1980s.

The goals of ASCP as an organization today aren’t so very different than they were in 1922. There is a continued mission is to provide excellence in education, certification, and advocacy on behalf of patients, pathologists, and laboratory professionals all around the world. Current activities include work in low- and middle-income countries to improve clinical laboratories and cancer diagnostics; the ASCP Annual Meeting, which provides the opportunity to earn more than 100 CME credits each year; and international certification of clinical laboratory scientists.

ASCP is taking the opportunity of its centennial to celebrate the many accomplishments of the Society, as well as look ahead to the future. By way of celebration, listen in on podcasts on the history of the profession and the organization, visit Critical Values online to ready essays that look back on the practice of pathology, and more. ASCP is also waiving the in-person admission fee to the 2022 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL on September 7-9, 2022. Other activities are planned for throughout the year—be sure to bookmark to keep apprised of ways to celebrate ASCP at 100.


  1. Fred H. Rodriguez, Jr, MD, FASCP, John R. Ball, MD, JD, MACP, The American Society for Clinical Pathology: The Pathology Society of “Firsts”, Laboratory Medicine, Volume 38, Issue 10, October 2007, Pages 595–601,

Kelly Swails

Laboratory professional, web editor of Laboratory Medicine magazine and editor of Lablogatory