Our History

The History of AAWC

The Association for the Advancement of Wound Care 

1988
In April of 1988, Health Management Publications, Inc., known now as HMP Global, sponsored the 1st Annual Symposium on Advanced Wound Care (SAWC).

1995
Using the SAWC as a forum not only for education but also as the optimal location for networking, a small group of like-minded colleagues gathered in 1995 to discuss how to have more of an impact on wound management. On August 19, 1995, eleven interested colleagues gathered to meet and discuss the development of a new organization.

The Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC) was officially incorporated on September 18, 1995, in the state of Pennsylvania as a 501(c)3 organization. The intent was to speak to the needs of our constituents and initiate change to impact the field of wound management. Fifteen members comprised the first AAWC Board of Directors. Evonne Fowler, RN, CNS, CWOCN was appointed as Founding President, and Diane Krasner, Ph.D., RN, CWOCN, CWS, FAAN was hired as the Founding AAWC Executive Director. HMP was chosen as the Association Management Firm. 

1996
By the spring of 1996, five hundred founding members were on board as the first AAWC Membership Meeting was launched at the 9th Annual Symposium on Advanced Wound Care in Atlanta, Georgia. Since the debut of SAWC Fall in 2009, there are now two premier forums each year for the multidisciplinary wound care community to meet, greet and share its research and clinical practice.

1997
Two AAWC Educational Wound Image Slide Sets were created for purchase in 1997. These products were not only important for generating non-dues revenue, but also paramount for meeting wound care professionals’ needs for photos for lectures and in-services.

1998
In 1998, the first membership-driven AAWC Board of Directors Election took place. Many Board members have remained on the Board for several years, serving in different capacities from general board members to officers, while new members have continued to rotate in to provide fresh perspectives.

1999
AAWC’s first Wound Care Clinic/Facility Directory was launched at the 1999 SAWC. Since then, it has been updated every year, and it now has over 1000 national and international listings.

2000
Under the leadership of AAWC President Dot Weir, RN, CWOCN (2000-2002) and with the help of the late Stanley Carson, MD, FACS, CWS, Physician Board Member (2000-2002), the AAWC’s website was updated from a simple webpage to a multipage site. 

2001
In 2001 AAWC created its Scholarship Fund. The principle of the Scholarship Fund serves as a rainy-day or special needs account, while gains and interest are used for awarding scholarships. Applications are accepted annually from May 1 – August 31 for education, and travel/exchange programs.

2002
Four AAWC Task Forces were developed for Members only in 2002. Each Task Force had a very specific, yet generalized goal that related to its subject area. Task forces include: Research, Public Awareness, Government and Regulatory Affairs (now Healthcare Public Policy) and Quality of Care. Under the leadership of Laura Bolton, Ph.D., and Lisa Corbett, APRN, BC, CWOCN, the Government and Regulatory Affairs Task Force began with a vision to complete an evidence-based and validated venous ulcer algorithm. 

2003
In 2003 Tina Thomas, the Association’s Liaison at the business office since 1999, was selected as AAWC's Executive Director. AAWC also helped to form and ultimately joined as a participating member of the Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders and became a collaborating organization with the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel in late 2003. 

2004
Supported by the AAWC Board of Directors and spearheaded by Dr. Robert S. Kirsner, now Past President of the AAWC (2004-2006), leaders from the AAWC and representatives from major corporations engaged in discussions about a non-branded, industry-wide campaign in 2004. Similar to the “Got Milk” campaign, this non-branded initiative entitled “Advancing the Practice” (ATP) would spread awareness about wound care as a specialty to ultimately advance the field.

2005
Near the end of the industry-wide campaign, AAWC decided to make ATP under its wing in 2005 and redesign its website to include all of ATPs practical and professional enhancement tools, information on guidelines and standards, and educational resources – everything from journals and books to associations and certification, to products and therapies.

2006
AAWC’s main mission in 2006 was to embrace cyberspace. The new website launched later that year, providing a dynamic forum for information access and internet participation in the global expansion of wound healing.

2007
The Wound Care Specialty Task Force was designed to publicly establish wound care as a recognized medical specialty in 2007. The infrastructure consists of four special interest groups: The National Institutes of Health, Federal Drug Administration, Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services and National Quality Forum.

2008
In 2008 AAWC formalized the Regulatory Committee. Their task is to inform Board and membership of changes to proposed regulations impacting coverage, coding and payment and pending legislation that can impact the practice of members and their patients. Also, AAWC released Patient Education Brochure “The SKIN You’re IN” on protecting skin from climate and the environment, which was released in Spanish in 2011.

2009
AAWC released a new patient education brochure “Dress and Compress for Success,” a guide to healing venous ulcers in 2009.

2010
During 2010, AAWC revised AAWC Venous Ulcer Guideline and the AAWC Pressure Ulcer Guideline both published on the AHRQ National Guideline Clearinghouse. In this year AAWC Research Committee initiated Poster Grand Rounds at the SAWC.

2011
AAWC released its Quality of Care Wound Glossary and formalized it's Corporate Advisory Committee/Panel in 2011.

2012
By 2012, AAWC had initiated the patient/caregiver as a no-fee membership category and launched AAWC global volunteers & speaker presentation training sessions at SAWC.

2014
Educate the Generalist was launched as a core strategic initiative to focus on the education of wound care to the generalist medical specialties, family and internal medicine along with PAs, NPs, and associated allied health professionals that treated and see wound care patients in 2014. Also, AAWC published the Joint Position Document in JWC “Managing Wounds as a TEAM” which was a collaborative effort between AAWC, AUMA, and EWMA. 

2015
AAWC collaborated with the Wound Healing Society and the Canadian Association of Enterostomal Therapists in 2015 to form the International Consolidated Guideline Task Force (ICGTF) to update former AAWC Venous and Pressure Ulcer Guidelines. Today, these are known as International Consolidated Venous Ulcer Guidelines (ICVUG) or Pressure Ulcer Guidelines.

2016
In 2016 AAWC released it's Patient Education Brochure “WIN THE BATTLE AGAINST INFECTION” on prevention and signs of infection. 

2017
Victoria Elliott, RPh, MBA, CAE was appointed Chief Executive Officer. AAWC embarked on a brand and marketing assessment to gradually shift its brand, brand promise and brand experience from a transaction-oriented brand to one that more adequately reflects the true nature of the organization: relationship-driven and member-centric. The AAWC identified that it strives to be accessible, connected and collaborative. In 2017 the AAWC held its first-ever Town Hall meeting at SAWC Fall with Greg Bohn President as emcee. 

2018
During 2018, AAWC launched the first-ever Pressure Ulcer Summit which attracted a sold-out crowd. The Summit featured 37 speakers and moderators and hosted 75 representatives from 21 sponsoring companies and organizations. The Journal Club Webinar Series was also launched. The webinar series is held monthly and uses contemporary peer-reviewed literature to impart key learnings on selected subject matter that is most relevant to members working in the wound care space.

AAWC also sought independence to be optimally positioned for a new future by concluding its relationship with HMP/NACCME. During this transition, leadership conducted a series of virtual Town Hall meetings to introduce the new strategic plan with a focus on three key pillars: education, public policy, and research. In the interim, AAWC management support services transitioned to Talley Management Group in Mount Royal, New Jersey. The annual board elections had been put on hold until AAWC navigated management transition plans.

2019
The focus of AAWC in 2019 was to build a stronger association than ever before. With a clear mission, vision, and purpose, AAWC made strategic improvements to provide its members and their patients with the best resources, ongoing education, and support network available for wound care practitioners in today's medical industry. AAWC hosted the second annual Pressure Ulcer Summit and the Lower Extremity Summit. In addition, the AAWC brought education to DFCon, PRESENTS Desert Foot, and the Wound Care Tricks of the Trade Pre-Conference Workshop.

Additionally, the AAWC unveiled a new logo for the association that better speaks to its core values. Ruth Byrant, represented AAWC on Capitol Hill to meet with several House and Senate offices educating lawmakers on the need for increased prevention of pressure ulcers for our nation’s veterans. In 2019 AAWC engaged MCI USA as its new association management partner. 

2020
This year the AAWC has several new board members who are paving the way for wound care through AAWC initiatives. The AAWC has created the Wound Care and COVID-19 center to provide resources and updates for wound care clinicians during the coronavirus pandemic. To supplement the resource center, the AAWC has created a series of webinars to disseminate important information, research, and spark conversation among wound care experts.