HEALTHCARE IS OUR CONCERN
WE WILL CONTINUE
TO CARE FOR OUR PATIENTS WITH DEDICATION, QUALITY, AND COMPASSION.
THE LAMPAC HELP US ADVOCATE TO PROTECT OUR PATIENTS AND THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE.
ARE NOT A MEMBER CALL THE LSMS AND BECOME ONE.
Making Louisiana a Better Place to Practice Medicine Since 1878
The Louisiana State Medical Society is a voluntary association of physicians providing leadership for the advancement
of the health of the people of Louisiana and serving as the premier advocate for patients and physicians.
The LSMS is dedicated to supporting Louisiana physicians
by continually improving
the provision of quality health
care for its citizens by creating a structure which:
an appropriate physician-patient relationship based on ethical, intellectual, and scientific principles and the authority
of the physician in defining what constitutes the practice of medicine,
Educates all members regarding trends and other issues that affect them personally
to members and the general public the recommendations of the Society, its purpose, and the essential role of
physicians in healthcare,
and attempts to influence agencies regarding the essential role of physicians in the provision of healthcare, and
Provides services that support physicians
personally and professionally.
In the late 1700s, the Louisiana Territory was growing as a region for trade and water transportation. New
Orleans was becoming a center for this new commerce. It was also becoming a center for medical care due to a burgeoning population
and the maladies that came along with growth and activity. In these early years, a number of French and English-speaking medical societies were formed on the belief by these early medical practitioners that there was a
need for close professional association. However, usually due to cultural and political differences, these societies came
and went; as soon as one would disappear, another would be formed to fill the void.There was interest
as well in other parts of the state in organizing local medical
societies. The first parish is said to have been formed in St. Francisville in 1845 and was called the West Feliciana Medical
Society. Over the next 30 years, a dozen other local societies were formed, most of which did not survive.
first suggestion to form a state organization appeared in an editorial in the New Orleans Surgical Journal in 1846. The Attakapas
Medical Society — consisting of the parishes of St. Mary, Lafayette, St. Martin and Vermilion
— joined with the Physico-Medical Society of New Orleans in 1849 to form the first state
medical society. The problems of travel and communications made statewide coordination impossible at this time, and after
six annual meetings, the society ceased to exist.
Almost 25 years passed before interest in a statewide society
was rekindled. Two local resolutions emanating from Shreveport and Plaquemines Parish called attention to the need for a statewide
society. Thus, in 1878, a time that saw a renaissance in Louisiana with the birth of a new state
constitution, 80 representing 15 parishes gathered in New Orleans on January 14-16 and formed the Louisiana State Medical
Association. The name would later be changed to the Louisiana State Medical Society (LSMS). Since its inception in 1878, the
LSMS has worked for a singular purpose: to advance healthcare in the state of Louisiana.
A look at the agendas
and actions taken by these pioneering societies might surprise today’s physician, not so much for their novelty and
quaintness, but for their amazing similarity to important issues that confront the profession to this day. A committee was
appointed to consider and report on bills submitted to the state legislature regarding health. Another would look into medical
issues, such as the rapid spread of disease and compulsory vaccinations. And a need was voiced
to examine the possibility of establishing examining boards, answering questions of a judiciary
nature and developing a code of ethics. Early practitioners also appeared to be cognizant of the importance of public relations.
For years following the Civil War, too many untrained and poorly educated individuals were practicing medicine. In
response to this problem, the LSMS led the long fight that ultimately established the first effective licensure law in the
state in 1894. This would prove to be the first of many significant issues for which the Society would be the leader for change
to protect the public interest.
The functions and responsibilities assumed by the early medical pioneers are still
recognized today. However, as medicine and the practice environment have changed, the LSMS has faced more challenges, responsibilities,
and concerns and added many new programs during its evolution. The seeds of social consciousness
planted by those medical forefathers, however, pass on a tremendous responsibility to the physicians
of today — and it is that responsibility which keeps the Louisiana State Medical Society a vital and respected organization.
The material for this brief history of the LSMS was taken from the Rudolph Matas History of the Louisiana State
Medical Society, Volumes I and II. In 1926, the president of the LSMS, at the direction of the House of Delegates, formed
a committee to prepare a history of the LSMS and appointed Dr. Rudolph Matas as the Chair. Additional information on medicine
in Louisiana can be found in the Rudolph Matas History of Medicine, Volumes I and II.