Improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by supporting and strengthening physicians' ability to practice high-quality patient care in a changing environment.

Wisconsin Medical Society celebrates 175th anniversary

Release Date: January 11, 2016
Contact: Kendi Parvin - 608.442.3748 kendi.parvin@wismed.org

Madison, WI (Jan. 11, 2016)—2016 represents a significant milestone for the Wisconsin Medical Society (Society)—its 175th anniversary. Created by an act of the Territorial Legislature in 1841, the Society today is the largest physician advocacy organization in Wisconsin, representing nearly 13,000 physicians statewide.

“For 175 years—even before Wisconsin became a state—the physicians of the Wisconsin Medical Society have been at the forefront of medicine, working to advance both the health of Wisconsin’s patients and the profession; and the Society has been integral to those efforts,” said Society CEO Rick Abrams. “Now, as we embark upon the next stage in our journey and with membership at an all-time high, I’m confident that same level of progressiveness and innovation will only continue.”

Under the banner “Honoring the past. Shaping the future.”, the Society plans to pay tribute throughout the year to the physicians and events that shaped the history of both the organization and the profession of medicine in Wisconsin over the past 175 years, while also highlighting current efforts. Priorities include addressing critical public health issues like opioid overuse and abuse and protecting the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship.

Before the proliferation and nationwide accreditation of medical education, any individual with an interest in the study of anatomical sciences could call himself a “physician.” The law that created the “Medical Society of the Territory of Wisconsin” was intended to provide a set of scientific, professional and ethical standards individuals had to meet in order to care for the people of a territory, but the organization’s mission expanded to address a wide range of public health and policy issues.

“The advancements in medical care that have occurred since the early days of the Society are nothing short of extraordinary, but our core objectives have remained consistent,” said Society President Jerry Halverson, MD. “Then and now, we have continually strived to improve the health of patients throughout Wisconsin by ensuring that they have access to high quality care in an ever-changing environment. And that’s something I have no doubt will drive our efforts for the next 175 years.”

With over 12,800 members dedicated to the best interests of their patients, the Wisconsin Medical Society is the largest association of medical doctors in the state and a trusted source for health policy leadership since 1841.