Colorado's Healthcare Heritage

Updates to Volume One — 1847

The American Medical Association was established in May 1847 by 250 delegates from 28 of the 30 states during a meeting at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Dr. Nathan Smith Davis, 30, of Chicago is considered the founder of the AMA. The following officers were elected:

  • President — Nathaniel Chapman, MD, of Pennsylvania
  • Vice Presidents — Jonathan Knight, MD, of Connecticut; Alexander H. Stevens, MD, of New York; James Moultire, MD, of South Carolina; and A.H. Buchanan, MD, of Tennessee
  • Secretaries — Alfred Stille, MD, of Pennsylvania and J.R.W. Dunbar of Maryland
  • Treasurer — Isaac Hays, MD, of Pennsylvania
Prior to 1847, the codes of medical ethics which existed in this country were instituted by State or local societies, and in many, probably in most, of the States of the Union there were none. At the convention which resulted in the organization of the American Medical Association, in 1847, a committee, of which the late Isaac Hays was chairman, were instructed to report a code of ethics. This committee reported a code which was adopted unanimously, and from that date it has been recognized as the National Code throughout the whole country. (Austin Flint, Ethics and Etiquette, 1883, pg. 4)
The AMA's first annual meeting was held in Baltimore in May 1848. Some of the more prominent professors at the nation's schools of medicine showed little interest in the new Association, which was to some extent more favored by younger physicians.

Return to Updates Index

Copyright © 2013 Thomas J. Sherlock
All Rights Reserved.