To commemorate the CAP’s continual efforts to improve patient care as the world’s largest organization of board-certified pathologists, we developed the following timeline of organizational achievements and milestones, as well as historically significant landmarks in the discipline of pathology at large. Furthermore, in celebration of the CAP’s 75th anniversary, we are pleased to present two digital publications documenting the organization’s history: In Pursuit of Excellence, covering 1946–1996, and the newly published In Further Pursuit of Excellence, covering 1997–2021.
Founding the CAP
The CAP was conceived by a group of pathologists who sought a national organization that could win recognition and respect for the specialty, while also addressing pathologist compensation issues nationally and improving laboratory medicine in the United States.
Defining and Uplifting the Profession
Three years before the CAP was founded, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates recognized pathology as the practice of medicine. Medical licensure was not required to practice pathology in many states, and many labs were run by non-medical professionals.
Against this backdrop, a major focus of the CAP in its first full decade was to not only clearly define the practice of pathology, but to move the specialty forward.
Setting the Standard
The CAP has always been a leader in laboratory quality, particularly through its accreditation of laboratories. The organization established an inspection and accreditation program before Congress mandated one.
Throughout the 1960s, the CAP worked to set the standard for laboratory quality. Several important milestones were passed ensuring greater public health for decades.
Advocating for the Profession
The CAP has long served as the most prominent voice of pathologists and pathology. In the 1970s, the organization brought that voice to the nation’s capital. Advocacy is a central tenet of what the CAP provides its thousands of members, and it has protected pathologists from potentially harmful legislative action for decades.
Sustaining the Profession
Advocacy continued to be a key CAP activity in the 1980s. At the same time, the CAP presses rolled; several publications were born during this decade. Both publishing and advocacy have increased the footprint, influence, and standing of the organization since that time.
Enhancing the Profession in the Digital World
After a decade of publishing firsts, the CAP cemented itself in the digital space in the 1990s. Highlighted by the launch of cap.org, the CAP’s Information Services Strategic Plan changed the way the organization communicated with its members and the world. During this decade, the CAP also saw significant growth and accomplishment in its accreditation programs.
Refreshing the CAP for Tomorrow's Challenges
Securely in the digital age, the CAP has used the new century to look ahead. The Laboratory Accreditation Program underwent expansive improvements while the organization as a whole undertook significant initiatives to advance the specialty and reinvigorate the brand.
The See, Test & Treat® program was introduced early in the century, and in the years since it has provided thousands of underserved women with preventative screenings and educational information to help them maintain good health.