One hundred and seventy-five years. That’s how long it has been since a “convention of medical men” (as stated in the original resolution) gathered at Lancaster’s Methodist Episcopal Church at what would be the society’s first annual meeting. On April 11, 1848, sixty-one men representing the county medical societies and medical schools throughout Pennsylvania, set in motion the plans to establish a state medical society and elected Samuel Humes, MD of Lancaster as its first president. Dr. Humes had been active in the formation of the Lancaster County Medical Society several years prior.
In its first year, the society put together a full roster of pressing public health, ethical and legislative issues used to craft initiatives that would set the society’s direction for the next century…or more. The group discussed their concerns with the prevalence of smallpox in Lycoming County and approved an ambitious plan to pursue universal vaccination. By the meeting of 1849, the members passed a resolution to seek legislation for registration of births, marriages, and deaths throughout the Commonwealth.