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The History of ACMT

Organization Development

The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) was organized in 1993 as the primary organization to serve physicians who are Medical Toxicologists. This practice includes the caring for patients with drug overdose, acute drug abuse problems, chemical exposures, and envenomations.

Medical Toxicology is a relatively new medical specialty. In 1967, the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology (AACT) was founded. Initially, the AACT was a physician-only organization representing physicians with an interest in clinical toxicology and/or poison control centers. At the time, there was no formal board certification in Medical Toxicology. In 1973, after much debate, AACT opened its membership to non-physicians with an interest in clinical toxicology. These non-physicians consisted mainly of pharmacists, and some nurses and PhDs who were associated with poison control centers.

Recognition by Organized Medicine

Board certification for physicians in Medical Toxicology began in 1975 when a subgroup of physicians from the AACT formed the American Board of Medical Toxicology (ABMT). ABMT wrote and administered this credentialing examination for physicians. ABMT also sponsored an occasional symposium at the national Clinical Toxicology meetings that were organized by AACT. During the late 1970s and 1980s fellowships in Medical Toxicology were organized around the country. These fellowships were not yet ACGME approved. Until 1992, entrance criteria to the Medical Toxicology Board Examination required the completion of a 2-year fellowship or a grandfather practice pathway.

In 1993 the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) formally recognized Medical Toxicology as a medical specialty. A group of physicians from the American Board of Emergency Medicine, American Board of Pediatrics, and American Board of Preventative Medicine met to write the Medical Toxicology examination. With this major development, the American Board of Medical Toxicology (whose primary purpose was to write the examination) was not longer necessary and went out of existence.

The Founding of ACMT

The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) was founded in 1993 to fill the void left by the disappearance of ABMT, and to provide a physician only organization for Medical Toxicologists. Since that time, the College has continued to expand. The College now represents the vast majority of physicians who are Board Certified in Medical Toxicology.

In 2000, ACGME began to credential fellowship training in Medical Toxicology. With these changes, the grandfather practice route to Board Examination eligibility has closed. At present there are 21 2-year fellowship programs across the country.

Please explore the ACMT website to find out about the large variety of endeavors currently pursued by the American College of Medical Toxicology.