Mission and History

The Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) is a coalition of over 50 specialty societies representing more than 800,000 physicians across the house of medicine. CMSS works to catalyze improvement through convening, collaborating, and collective action. Together, we address critical issues across specialties that influence the future of healthcare and the patients we serve.


CMSS will be indispensable to specialty societies and the medical profession by:

  • Supporting and strengthening member societies to address future challenges
  • Catalyzing improvement through convening, collaboration, collective voice and action across specialties
  • Providing a proactive platform to assess and address emerging and critical issues across specialty societies that influence the future of healthcare and the patients we serve


CMSS has three top priorities:

  • Education: specialty society education; physician competency and accountability; new learning models
  • Quality: standards and value assessment; innovative care delivery models; equity and disparities
  • Professional Identity: professionalism; autonomy; teamwork and workforce; leadership development, including diversity and inclusion


Founded in 1965 as the Tri-College Council, CMSS was created to provide an independent forum for the discussion by medical specialists of issues of national interest and mutual concern. Founding members were the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Surgeons. In 1967, as other specialty societies joined, CMSS adopted its current name.

CMSS is unique; its membership has been historically limited to those U.S. medical specialty societies that represent diplomates certified by a Board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). In early 2005, the CMSS Council voted to expand their membership slowly by offering full membership to a limited number of sub-specialties and associate membership to a small number of organizations with which CMSS interacts. Membership is open to candidates who meet the stated criteria and are likely to engage and participate in CMSS’ mission and priorities, including support for education, quality, science, and scholarship.

Today, 51 societies with more than 800,000 U.S. physician members are members of CMSS.

Structure and Governance

CMSS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit association incorporated in the state of Illinois. CMSS has offices in Chicago, IL, and Washington, DC.  Review the CMSS Bylaws.

CMSS is governed by the CEO Council and the elected CMSS Board of Directors. Headed by a President, other Officers are the President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Past President, Public Board member, and Chief Executive Officer (ex-officio). Officers are elected to two-year terms. Review the CMSS Board of Directors.

CMSS is supported principally by annual dues contributed by its members. Review CMSS Member Organizations.