In the late 1990s, several GIM division chiefs began to develop workshops at SGIM related to the challenges they were facing. Jim Byrd (the Division Chief at East Carolina at that time) and I ran a couple of workshops on “Should You Become a Division Chief?” At the same time, Mark Linzer (then at University of Wisconsin) and Wendy Levinson (then at University of Chicago) proposed a workshop based on the concept of Division Chiefs supporting each other. In 1999, we were asked to join workshop forces. Our new workshop attracted more than 40 Division Chiefs at the SGIM Annual Meeting. Our conversations convinced us that we needed an organization to help Division Chiefs do their jobs better and to provide comparative information. We hoped to prepare future Division Chiefs for their roles and include advice for negotiating their offers.
As a result, in 2000, we became the Association of Chiefs of General Internal Medicine (ACGIM) and, in 2001, Bob Centor became the first President with Mark Linzer as the Vice President. We worked closely together to establish our mission and recruit more chiefs. In the early years, several things became clear:

  1. Division Chiefs, both new and old, could benefit from leadership training.
  2. Getting to know and speak with other chiefs often gave us a broader perspective.
  3. This group gave us an opportunity to have positive interactions with the Association of Specialty Professors (Division Directors in Subspecialty Internal Medicine) and allowed us to join that organization.
  4. It also gave us better access to educate others about the roles and challenges of GIM division leaders.

Over the years, we learned that we had a larger role for many SGIM members. For example, under Karen DeSalvo’s leadership, we expanded the organization to include other leaders (thus adding the “L” to our name). We recognized the importance of sharing ideas with a broader audience, so the ACLGIM Leadership Forum was created. While the ACLGIM Leadership Forum content will be integrated into the SGIM Forum, ACLGIM remains a vital organization with frequent high-impact conversations around pressing issues for our division members. We are here to stay as a leadership organization within SGIM—and our journey continues!




Author Descriptions

Dr. Centor ( is currently the Associate Dean for the Huntsville Regional Medical and Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Linzer ( is the Vice-Chief of the Department of Medicine at Hennepin Healthcare and the Director of the Office of Professional Worklife, and Director of the Center for Patient and Provider Experience at Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute