Every organization has a unique story. The PCP story spans five decades. It began in the early 1950’s as a cast of twenty internists, who had the guts to form a society at a time when the norm for hundreds of other internists was to be a non-member. Thus, Dr. Gonzalo Austria’s group struggled for the rest of the fifties, going through a sort of gestational period.
By the 1960’s, changes were afoot as dynamic PCP leaders dared to envision the PCP leading a federation of societies. It tried to wield control and influence over six specialty societies existing at the time. With only a little over a hundred members, the PCP persisted on a dream of becoming the internists’ gatekeeper establishing a Specialty Accreditation Board where all other internists would have to pass through. Despite a period of debate, the PCP persevered in its vision, to the extent of getting every potential detractor into the society, as a PCP Fellow, using a grandfathers’ clause.
The PCP achieved its first majority victory in the 1970’s. With a sudden increase in membership, especially the senior doctors, it was now much easier to bargain with other subspecialty societies that the PCP should rightfully be the leader of this federation of societies. By 1974, this dream was achieved and a working system, a set of activities (conventions, symposia) and a journal sprung forth. Here, we catch a glimpse of the supersociety of today.
Not content with its newfound strength, the PCP in the 1980’s embarked on an intensive internal training and testing of its members, and by the decade’s end enjoyed widening control over a majority of internal medicine graduates, training hospitals and research activities.
By the 1990’s, we see that the capacity building of the eighties had borne fruit. From a membership of 100 in the sixties, members reached 444 in the eighties, and in 2002, the PCP boasts an astonishing 5,000 members. Today, this “mother organization” has amalgamated thirteen specialty societies and has reached unheard of power and prestige. But the tale does not have a certain happy ending as sudden political challenges in the new millennium places the PCP in yet another crossroads.
Taken from the PCP Coffee Table Book
"PCP Through 50 Years: Fulfilling the Vision"