History & Timeline

The American Vein & Lymphatic Society (AVLS) was originally founded in 1985 as the North American Society of Phlebology by Dr. Anton Butie. The purpose of the AVLS was to bring together physicians and surgeons from diverse specialties who share an interest in the diagnosis and treatment of venous disease.

In 1986, the organization was incorporated and in 1997, the Society changed its name from the North American Society of Phlebology to the American Vein & Lymphatic Society to reflect the broadened scope and improved quality of the educational sessions sponsored by the organization. As the organization continued growing it expanded to provide advocacy, research and education for all vein and lymphatic medical practitioners, the board of directors and membership changed the name to the American Vein & Lymphatic Society.

As set out by our visionary founders, the AVLS has always been an inclusive organization.

The AVLS has taken a broad approach to the advancement of the field of vein care, and welcomes physicians from various specialty backgrounds and recognizes nurses and ultrasound technology health professionals as valued contributors. Through a broad membership base, knowledge is disseminated, greater insights realized, and the care of this vast group of patients is improved more rapidly.

The history of the Society has been one of dramatic growth and expansion.

The first meeting was held on August 4th, 1985, with fourteen founding members present in Encinitas, California. Since that time the American Vein & Lymphatic Society has held over thirty Annual Congresses. The Annual Congress is now the premier educational event for physicians and allied healthcare providers dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of venous and lymphatic disorders, averaging more than 900 attendees and 75 exhibitors each year.

Add to this, the more than 1,500 physician and allied health members that make up the the AVLS, and it’s easy to see why the AVLS has grown to be the leading association for providers working in vein care.

As a result of the initiatives undertaken by the AVLS, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced the decision to approve the AVLS’ application for recognition of phlebology as a self-designated specialty.

An AMA member can now designate phlebology as a primary or secondary specialty, the same as dermatology, cardiology, or any other recognized specialty. This recognition is a pivotal step toward increasing the credibility and visibility of the specialty by colleagues in other fields, industry and patients. Recently, the American Osteopathic Association also recognized phlebology as a distinct practice discipline as have a number of state medical organizations.

The AVLS Board of Directors recognized the opportunity and responsibility that came with the AMA decision, but realized that the major initiatives our membership wanted required the commitment of major resources. To find such resources, the Foundation for Venous & Lymphatic Disease (FVLD) was founded at the  November 2006 Annual Congress as the Foundation for Venous & Lymphatic Disease. Establishment of the FVLD laid the groundwork for the expansion of programs and initiatives well into the future.

Defining the content of phlebology training programs became the next strategic priority.  In pursuit of this, the AVLS Board Certification Development Task Force selected an outside organization to assist in the development of a comprehensive, high quality, psychometrically valid exam in phlebology. In support and partnership with AVLS, the FVLD Board of Directors approved funding the development of the exam. The first American Board of Phlebology Certification exam was administered in May 2008.

The Fellowship Program Committee simultaneously established a Phlebology Fellowship Program patterned after an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) post-graduate medical training program. After a competitive selection process, the first AVLS Phlebology Fellowship program was approved at UCSD under the direction of Dr. John J. Bergan, which commenced in July 2007.  The program was then moved to the prestigious NYU Langone Medical Center under the direction of Dr. Lowell Kabnick. The fellowship program is now a part of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.

The American Vein & Lymphatic Society is poised to have an enormous impact on the care of patients with venous and lymphatic disease.

We continue to seek new opportunities to improve the education of physicians, medical staff, and laypersons about phlebology and to advance the highest standard of care for patients with venous and lymphatic disease.

Currently, the AVLS is working on a number of new initiatives. To learn more, view our progress.

Presidents of the AVLS

  • 1985 – 1988: Anton Butie, MD
  • 1989 – 1990: Walter P. de Groot, MD
  • 1991 – 1992: Mitchel P. Goldman, MD
  • 1993 – 1994: David E. Smith, MD
  • 1995 – 1996: Wayne M. Marley, MD
  • 1997 – 1998: Robert A. Weiss, MD
  • 1999 – 2000: Helane S. Fronek, MD
  • 2001 – 2002: Craig F. Feied, MD
  • 2003 – 2004: Neil S. Sadick, MD
  • 2005 – 2006: Steven E. Zimmet, MD
  • 2007 – 2008: Robert J. Min, MD
  • 2009 – 2010: Nick Morrison, MD
  • 2011 – 2012: John Mauriello, MD
  • 2013 – 2014: Melvin Rosenblatt, MD
  • 2015 – 2016: Mark Forrestal, MD
  • 2016 – 2018: Neil M. Khilnani, MD, FACPh
  • 2018 – current: Marlin Schul, MD, FACPh, MBA, RPhS, RVT