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October 8, 1982

IV. The Founding of the American Medical Association

Author Affiliations

From the Morris Fishbein Center, University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1982;248(14):1749-1752. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330140059036

A medical society is not a philanthropic or altruistic organization. It exists for the sake of its members, to help them gain certain benefits. Societies come into existence when a group of individuals, having aims in common, feel that they can achieve their aims more readily by joint action than by individual effort. If other members of the community also benefit, this will be a plus value that will promote general goodwill and induce more ready acceptance of the society's goals.

The American Medical Association, whose origins are well documented, is a prime example of this total process. At its birth in 1846 (under a different name), the reasons for its existence were clearly stated: "Resolved, That it is expedient for the Medical Profession of the United States, to institute a National Medical Association, for the protection of their interests, for the maintenance of their honour and respectability, for the