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April 8, 1983

X. The Changing Scene

Author Affiliations

From the Morris Fishbein Center, University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1983;249(14):1897-1900. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330380085035

If we had to find a single date to distinguish the old medicine from the new, the year 1886 would serve quite well. Of the innumerable events that occurred in that year, I would regard two as especially symbolic: the death of Austin Flint, Sr (1812-1886) and the founding of the American Association of Physicians (AAP).

Austin Flint, still remembered in connection with the heart murmur that bears his name, represented the old school of physicians that included William Gerhard (1809-1872), Alfred Stillé (1813-1900), William Pepper, Sr (1810-1864), Alonzo Clark (1807-1887), and Henry I. Bowditch (1808-1892). Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) could also be included in this group. These men were all teachers, and they contributed to the medical literature with textbooks or essays or both. With the exception of Holmes, all these men were practicing physicians, leaders in the profession at a time when laboratory investigation had made no impression