For 217 years, MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society’s members have made notable contributions to promote the health of citizens and we stand today among the oldest medical associations in the United States. MedChi’s members have worked together to find solutions to the challenges of healthcare since our inception.
Originally named The Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of the State of Maryland (chirurgical comes from the Latin word for surgical), the society was founded by physicians who were concerned for the welfare of citizens at a time when people were practicing medicine without training and qualifications. The physicians fought against the prevalence of quackery by establishing regulatory and educational standards.
In 1799, just south of Baltimore in Annapolis, 101 leaders of Maryland’s medical profession from nearly every county convened to hear whether their petition for a charter for an incorporated society of physicians had been approved. Although the 18th century was a time of medical improvements, many dangerous theories were flourishing, jeopardizing the public’s health.
As written in the society's incorporation, this special act of the Maryland legislature was intended to "prevent the citizens (of Maryland) from risking their lives in the hands of ignorant practitioners or pretenders to the healing art." For two centuries, MedChi’s members have made innumerable achievements for physicians and patients in preserving quality healthcare delivery.
Members succeeded in bringing these goals to fruition in the 1800’s:
- Giving free vaccinations to the public.
- Establishing the College of Medicine of Maryland, forerunner to the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
- Opening a library to reinforce the guiding principle that knowledge is the key to effective medical treatments.
- Founding The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (a school of the University of Maryland) in 1839, the first institution of its kind in the world.
- Creating a college of pharmacy in 1857.
- Lobbying the state legislature for a state board of health to be established in 1874.
- Working to form a board of medical examiners to license physicians in 1892.
With these contributions, members persevered and continued to advance medicine into the 20th century.
In the 1900's, the Society’s members accomplished these feats:
- Building a headquarters building and medical library with more than 65,000 volumes.
- Celebrating 150 years of service to the physicians of Maryland.
- Creating the CPR technique.
In 1999, the society approved its commonly-known trade name, MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society. Today, MedChi, one of the most progressive medical societies in the nation, speaks on behalf of over 22,000 licensed physicians in the state who practice in more than 50 medical specialties. MedChi is composed of 24 component medical societies, plus a medical students' and residents' section. MedChi is a component of the American Medical Association.
For a list of MedChi’s legislative successes over the past twenty years please see the brochure What Has MedChi Done For Me?