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Medical Heritage History

Medical Heritage – A Southern Tradition

Medical Heritage is the oldest continuing project of the SMA Alliance, going back to the 1930 presidential acceptance speech of Mrs. S. A. Collum of Texas. “It has occurred to me that you might like to gather the medical romances of our Southland and publish them in a form presentable to school children” she said. A Research Committee was formed and began enthusiastically to gather many “medical romances“, or biographical sketches of outstanding physicians. The Alliance voted to publish and distribute them to schools  and libraries in the Southern region.

In 1934 the SMA Journal agreed to publish in each issue a short biography of a medical “hero” from each member state in turn. 1935 saw the forerunner of our “access file,” a small printed booklet listing all the collected papers. These could be borrowed for use as programs.  By 1936 the term Romance had become attached to the Research Committee, which was known as “Research and Romance” for the next 50 years.

The Alliance’s scholarly efforts were impressive.  By 1949 it was necessary to buy a steel file to hold all the collected papers, which were shipped each year from chairman to chairman along with books and pamphlets, until permanent space was finally provided at the SMA headquarters.

A 1949 pamphlet, updated for a decade, listed the accumulated studies under the title “Suggestive Programs for the Woman’s Auxiliaries to the County Medical Societies“.

By the 1960’s, the practice of exhibiting projects at the annual meeting had begun, and in 1968 the Dr. and Mrs. Milford O. Rouse Trophy was first given for the most outstanding exhibit of Research and Romance of Medicine material.

In 1973 a committee was appointed to produce a handbook which, when printed in 1976, was packed with detailed information on terms, criteria, categories, prizes and forms.  It also outlined the SMA Alliance’s committee structure for “Research and Romance”.  The 1982 revision of this handbook showed the Alliance still giving cash prizes or $10 for first place in each category, with honorable mention for second place. The winner of the Rouse Trophy also got $10, and special certificates went to authors of books promoted by individual Alliances.

In 1986 the SMA Alliance changed the project name to Medical Heritage (Research and Romance), and the handbook was completely revised.  In 1993 new Bylaws were adopted changing the structure of SMAA, and a committee revised the guidelines for Medical Heritage.  The current handbook is based on several years experience with those guidelines.

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