Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, nonprofit organization comprised of nearly 6,000 geriatrics healthcare professionals. For more than seven decades, the AGS has been leading efforts in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy—all aimed at improving the health, independence, and quality of life of all older people.

75 Years of Caring for Older Adults

As the AGS celebrated its 75-year history improving care for older adults in 2017, Past AGS President and veteran researcher James T. Pacala, MD, MS, AGSF, helped us highlight where geriatrics has been and where it has yet to go in a special 75th Anniversary Lecture presented by The John A. Hartford Foundation at #AGS17.


1942: Founding of AGS  
1946: First AGS Annual Scientific Meeting held 


1950: President Truman convenes first national conference on aging


  • First federal funds appropriated for social service programs for older adults
  • AGS membership crests 1,400; Annual Scientific Meeting attendance hits 330
  •  First female committee member joins Program and Education Committees

1953: AGS publishes first issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 



  • White House holds its first Conference on Aging
  • AGS establishes headquarters in New York


  • AGS celebrates successful advocacy for Medicare
  • Older Americans Act signed into law

Late 1960s: First residency and fellowship training program in geriatric medicine established



1970: AGS and American Medical Association co-sponsor national seminars to educate healthcare providers on nursing home medical direction 


  • AGS establishes Geriatrics Information and Consultation Center
  • AGS co-sponsors its first continuing medical education course

1974: National Institute on Aging established 


1982: First academic geriatrics department established in the U.S.

1984: AGS becomes one of the first medical societies to engage in medical ethics by submitting its earliest amicus curiae brief


  • AGS helps launch first certification exam in geriatrics
  • AGS and American Academy of Pediatrics cosponsor first congress of clinical societies to address medical ethics

1989: First edition of Geriatrics Review Syllabus released 


1990: Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs established

1992: AGS launches first geriatrics reference tool for average Americans, Growing Older: The Facts About Aging

1994: U.S. population older than 65 reaches 32 million

1998: First edition of Geriatrics At Your Fingertips released

1999: AGS launches Health in Aging Foundation 


2002: AGS creates Geriatrics-for-Specialists Initiative

2004: AGS begins NIA-funded Bench-to-Bedside conference series

2005: AGS publishes Caring for Older Americans: The Future of Geriatric Medicine

2007: First pharmacist elected President of the AGS


  • AGS co-convenes the Eldercare Workforce Alliance
  • AGS establishes presence on social media  



  • First nurse elected President of the AGS
  • Affordable Care Act signed into law

2011: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society named one of the most influential journals of the century


  • AGS updates Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults for the first time
  • AGS secures seat on American Medical Association’s Relative Value Scale Update Committee


  • Sustainable Growth Rate formula repealed
  • Health in Aging Foundation reaches nearly 1 million older adults and caregivers with public education
  • AGS membership crests 5,547; Annual Scientific Meeting Attendance hits 2,594


  • Advance Care Planning recognized as a reimbursable benefit under Medicare
  • Population 65-years-old and older exceeds 47 million; average U.S. life expectancy crests 78 years


  • AGS celebrates its 75th anniversary
  • AGS launched AGS CoCare: OrthoTM , a co-management program to improve hip fracture care for older adults

2018: AGS addresses a host of policy proposals that would have jeopardized care and well-being for older adults, while also successfully advocating for bipartisan legislation to support health workforce training


  • AGS unveils its latest update to the AGS Beers Criteria(R), one of geriatrics most frequently cited reference texts
  • AGS 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS19) attracts a record number of geriatrics experts to Portland, OR, for the field's largest educational event



  • AGS addresses the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing a position statement on the ethical allocation of scare resources during a public health emergency and publishing policy briefs on how government authorities should approach COVID-19 in nursing homes and assisted living facilities
  • AGS launches a multi-year, multi-pronged initiative to address structural racism and ageism in health care

Back to Top