The American College of Hyperbaric Medicine was formed in 1983 by a group of physicians practicing the developing specialty of hyperbaric medicine who noticed the need for a national professional organization dedicated to serving as a medical specialty society. Originally based in Houston Texas, the organization relocated to Milwaukee in 2006 and operated under the direction of Dr. Eric P. Kindwall the first official ACHM Executive Director.
The ACHM has worked to develop an image of hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a distinct medical specialty, often requiring full time practice. The ACHM has made significant contributions to the practice of hyperbaric medicine. One historical clinical influence was the publication of Preferred Practice Protocols for Hyperbaric Medicine. These protocols provided a basic description of how and when to use hyperbarics to aid patients with specific ailments. These were the first best practice hyperbaric guidelines and standards to be published. They were distributed throughout the U.S., and included hundreds of references to key studies that proved the effectiveness of hyperbarics in certain conditions.
The ACHM established the first pathway to clinical certification in hyperbaric medicine when it launched the Physician Certification in Hyperbaric Medicine in 2003. This pathway provides a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) and has become a recognized certification alternative for those physicians who are not eligible for formal board certification. In 2006, the ACHM initiated the Radiation Research Registry to address a growing crisis: the determination by several national insurance providers that HBOT for Radiation Necrosis should be categorized as “experimental-investigational”. This monumental effort produced the largest hyperbaric registry ever published and demonstrated the significant efficacy and usefulness of hyperbaric therapy in the management of radiation injured patients.