National Doctors' Day - Southern Medical Association
Celebrate National Doctors' Day

Celebrate National Doctors’ Day with the SMA Alliance.

Download a Doctors' Day brochure that you can use to order by mail or fax.

Call (800)423-4992 Ext. 124 with questions or to place an order - we are happy to help.

When is Doctors' Day celebrated?

In the United States, National Doctors' Day is celebrated each year on March 30, to recognize the contributions of physicians to individual lives and communities.

The idea of setting aside a designated day to honor physicians is not limited to the United States. Hospitals, practices, and individuals throughout the world honor their physicians in myriad ways to publicly show appreciation for the role they play in caring for the sick, advancing medical knowledge, and promoting good health.

Brazil celebrates National Doctors' Day on October 18, the day on which the Catholic Church celebrates the birthday of Saint Luke (a doctor).

Cuba, Argentina, Spain and several other Spanish-speaking countries celebrate on December 3, to commemorates the birthday of Carlos Juan Finlay. A Cuban physician and scientist credited with ultimately identifying the mosquito as the carrier of the organism causing yellow fever. Born December 3, 1833, Dr. Finlay studied at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia before returning to Cuba to practice medicine in Matanzas and Havana. His research was virtually ignored for years after being published in 1886 but was proven eventually by the Walter Reed Commission of 1900. This discovery effectively led to the eradication of yellow fever and the saving of countless lives throughout South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the southern United States.  Dr. Finlay was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine but never won.

Ontario, Canada celebrates Doctors' Day on May 1. In 2009, York Central Hospital was the first hospital in Canada to host an annual appreciation day for its doctors. Two years later, in 2011, a motion was submitted and passed by the Ontario Legislature to formally recognize May 1 as Doctors’ Day in Ontario.  The selected date marks the birthday of the first female physician in Canada, Dr. Emily Stowe.

India celebrates on July 1 to pay tribute to one of the country's most famous physicians, Dr. B. C. Roy. Born on July 1, 1882, at Bankipore in Patna in Bihar, Dr. Roy began his career as a physician in 1911 at the Calcutta Medical College after completing his MRCP at Bartholomew’s Hospital in the United Kingdom. He was a well-known physician, educator, social reformer and freedom fighter, leader of the Indian National Congress, and chief minister of West Bengal. Coincidently, the date marks not only Dr. Roy’s birth on July 1, 1882, but also his passing at the age of 80 on July 1, 1962.

Vietnam celebrates Vietnamese Doctors' Day on February 27  in recognition of individuals devoted to initiatives to improve public health care.

Iran honors its physicians on August 23, Avicenna’s birthday. Avicenna wrote numerous works on a wide variety of subjects, including 40 publications concentrated on medicine. His most famous works are The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine, both of which served as standard medical texts at many medieval universities.

Australia celebrates Doctors for Doctors' Day on September 28. Each September 28, doctors throughout Australia show their support for their colleagues by making a donation to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people throughout the world. On this day, doctors and health professionals are encouraged to recognize and help their colleagues volunteering around the globe by donating a day's pay to provide emergency medical relief in the world's trouble spots.

World Family Doctor Day is celebrated on May 19. The first World Family Doctor Day was proposed and celebrated on May 19, 2010 , y WONCA (the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians). Since then, it has gained momentum each year in its desire to provide recognition to family doctors and highlight important issues in support of community health care around the world. Nations celebrating World Family Doctor Day in 2013 included Bolivia, Croatia, Egypt, Ehtiopia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Republic of Srpska, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Many countries celebrate International Doctors' Day (also the Day of Solidarity of Doctors of the World) on the first Monday of October.

History of National Doctors' Day

The first Doctors' Day observance was held on March 30, 1933, by the Barrow County Alliance, in Winder, Georgia. The idea of setting aside a day to honor physicians was conceived by Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, and the recognition occurred on the anniversary of the first administration of anesthesia by Dr. Crawford W. Long in Jefferson, Georgia, in 1842. The Alliance immediately adopted the following resolution:

"WHEREAS the Alliance to the Barrow County Medical Society wishes to pay lasting tribute to the Doctors, therefore, be it RESOLVED by the Alliance to the Barrow County Medical that March 30, the day that famous Georgian Dr. Crawford W. Long first used ether anesthesia in surgery, be adopted as "Doctors' Day," the object to be the well-being and honor of the profession, its observance demanding some act of kindness, gift or tribute in remembrance of the Doctors."

This first observance included the mailing of cards to the physicians and their wives, flowers placed on graves of deceased doctors, including Dr. Long, and a formal dinner in the home of Dr. and Mrs. William T. Randolph. After the Barrow County Alliance adopted Mrs. Almond's resolution to pay tribute to the doctors, the plan was presented to the Georgia State Medical Alliance in 1933 by Mrs. E. R. Harris of Winder, president of the Barrow County Alliance. On May 10, 1934, the resolution was adopted at the annual state meeting in Augusta, Georgia. The resolution was introduced to the Women's Alliance of the Southern Medical Association at its 29th annual meeting held in St. Louis, Missouri, November 19-22, 1935, by the Alliance president, Mrs. J. Bonar White. Since then, Doctors' Day has become an integral part of and synonymous with, the Southern Medical Association Alliance. Through the years the red carnation has been used as the symbol of Doctors' Day. The analogy of the carnation is closely woven in medical science, so it is only fitting that this flower, so tailored by nature for masculine use with its spicy scent, was chosen as the symbol of Doctor's Day. The flower - its meaning: Divine-Rejoicing-being said to have appeared on earth for the first time when Christ was born. Crown-coronation-denotes honorary distinction. Its spicy fragrance was used in seasoning dishes "to preserve the body of men, both in mind and spirit." From the juice of its petals a wine was made "that did comfort the heart of man."

On March 30, 1958, a Resolution Commemorating Doctors' Day was adopted by the United States House of Representatives. On August 1, 1989, the SMA Alliance, under the direction of President Mrs. David Thibodeaux, dedicated a bronze marker honoring Mrs. Almond on the grounds of the Court House in Winder, Georgia. In 1990, legislation was introduced in the House and Senate by Congressmen Mike Parker (D-Mississippi) and G. V. Montgomery (D-Mississippi) and Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) to establish a national Doctors' Day. Following overwhelming approval by the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, on October 30, 1990, President George Bush signed S.J. RES. #366 (which became Public Law 101-473) designating March 30 as "National Doctors' Day":

WHEREAS society owes a debt of gratitude to physicians for the contributions of physicians in enlarging the reservoir of scientific knowledge increasing the number of scientific tools, and expanding the ability of health professionals to use the knowledge and tools effectively in the never ending fight against disease and,

WHEREAS society owes a debt of gratitude to physicians for the sympathy and compassion of physicians in ministering to the sick and in alleviating human suffering: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That;

  1. March 30, 1991, is designated as "National Doctors' Day"; and
  2. the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.

This was the culmination of the efforts of auxilians across the country, led by SMAA Presidents, Mrs. A. J. Campbell and Mrs. Jim Barnett. The enactment of this law enables the citizens of the United States to publicly show appreciation for the role of physicians in caring for the sick, advancing medical knowledge, and promoting good health.

Red Carnation - Symbol of Doctors' Day

Doctors' Day Gift Ideas

Let your favorite doctor know how much you value them. We have everything you need to celebrate this special day. Browse through the collection of Doctors' Day gifts and supplies below.

Call (800)423-4992 Ext. 124 with questions or to place an order - we are happy to help.

Something particular you would like added to our store? Email us and let us know.

Doctors' Day Gifts

Doctors' Day Cups

Doctors' Day Cards

This annual celebration provides us with an opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication of physicians. Tell a special doctor how much they mean to you by sending one of our unique National Doctors' Day cards.

All greeting cards are printed on high-quality paper.

Call (800)423-4992 Ext. 124 with questions or to place an order - we are happy to help.

Doctors' Day Card Bundles

Plan a Doctors' Day Party

Plan a party to recognize your physicians for their hard work and dedication to your hospital, practice, clinic, or health system, as well as their commitment to your community.  You can implement many of the following suggestions quickly and easily.

  • Commend physicians at your practice or facility, for their contributions and dedication to the delivery of quality care; few words have more impact than a simple, heartfelt “thank you.”
  • Host a Doctors’ Day Appreciation luncheon, breakfast, or happy hour. Present physicians with a red carnation, the symbolic flower of National Doctors’ Day.
  • Invite patients to write “Happy Doctors’ Day” notes and sign appreciation cards to their physicians.
  • Create a professional “thank you” video for your physicians, featuring members of your staff singing their praises and expressing appreciation.
  • Have a recognition ceremony, honoring doctors with a brief statement on their achievements and accolades.
  • Provide a way for patients, coworkers, and friends to make an online donation to honor physicians on National Doctors’ Day.  Support young physicians, donate to SMA's Research & Education Fund.

However you choose to commemorate National Doctors’ Day, your physicians will appreciate your gratitude for their service and acknowledgment of their valuable role in healthcare.

Doctors' Day Party Supplies

Doctors' Day Cups

Project Grant Request

  1. An annual grant of $100 is available by written request to the SMAA Finance Committee by the State SMAA Councilor. The request must be sent by June 1st.
  2. The money is to be used at the discretion of the SMAA Councilor(s) in your state in promoting Doctors’ Day community service projects.
  3. In order to qualify for the allotment the following year, at least one Doctors’ Day project with a narrative report must be exhibited at the SMAA Annual Meeting.  (2018 Annual Meeting to be held November 1-3 at The Charleston Marriott, Charleston, SC)
  4. Please refer to your Doctors’ Day Projects and Judging Guidelines for complete instructions for submitting a project.
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