You are cordially invited to the next NLM History of Medicine lecture, to be held on Tuesday, July 15, from 2pm to 3pm in the Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD. As its Annual James H. Cassedy Memorial Lecture, we are proud to present Dale Smith, PhD, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, who will speak on "Anatomy Acts and the Shaping of the American Medical Profession's Social Contract."
Since the time of the Hippocratics, physicians had been offering society a community of practitioners committed to patient care, high moral values, and lifelong learning, but societies across the ancient world and early modern Europe were reluctant to set physicians apart. In the early United States, the exceptionalism of physicians was less widely acknowledged because of the Jacksonian emphasis on self-sufficiency. Colonial licensure laws which tried to register qualified practitioners were repealed. Medical education was voluntary, variable, and completely self-funded; schools were owned by the faculty and operated as proprietary ventures. The medical sects – botanic, hydropathic, homeopathic – were often accepted but had little in the way of professional discipline. Physicians wanted to be set apart as a profession, but American society did not accept the offer of professionalization until after the Civil War, when 'regular' physicians reaped the benefits of their wartime service. Ultimately the American system of licensure based on examination was instituted by states and affirmed by the courts. In return for the promise of good medicine today and better medicine tomorrow, the profession of medicine obtained legal protection, subsidized education, and socially supported and separately financed practice venues. As part of this transformation, anatomy acts were passed by the individual states: they were, in many cases, the first move to affirm a "social contract" between physicians and the communities they served.
All are welcome.
Sign language interpretation is provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate may contact Stephen Greenberg at 301-435-4995, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).
Due to current security measures at NIH, off-campus visitors are advised to consult the NLM Visitors and Security website:
NLM's History of Medicine Division
Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, Chief
Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine, NIH