Honoring the History, Forecasting the Future: MSMS Celebrates 150 Years

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Honoring the History, Forecasting the Future: MSMS Celebrates 150 Years

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When 100 physicians from across Michigan gathered in 1866 to form a circle of support, they might not have known that the impact they would have was indefinite. What these physicians did know was they were creating a society that would offer support for physicians, allowing them to enhance their patient care. Over the past 150 years, the Michigan State Medical Society has fostered an atmosphere that grants physicians -- individually and as a representative whole -- the ability to advance the medical field and the overall health and welfare in the state of Michigan.

In the formative years following, countless and crucial medical advancements were made and the Michigan State Medical Society grew from a circle of support to a full on society of professionals. Vaccines for the plague, pertussis, influenza and polio were developed. The Board of Health was established, the first statewide medical journal was published and the MSMS Foundation was created.

MSMS 150th Anniversary photo albumMSMS 150th Anniversary photo album

Nearing upon the 100-year milestone in 1959, the Society settled into a new headquarters located in East Lansing, Michigan. The building -- engineered by renowned World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki -- and its breathtaking design is reflective of the legacy Michigan State Medical Society had embarked on creating.

In the inaugural celebration of the new landmark, memorabilia from the year and predictions about the future of medicine in the 21st century were sealed into a cornerstone by MSMS president G.B. Saltonstall, MD, chairman of the council E. Schiller, MD and president-elect Milton A. Darling, MD

At the time the cornerstone was sealed, there was not yet a vaccine for measles, law did not require seatbelt use, the human genome project had not yet been proposed and MSMS had not been led by a woman president. Over the next 50 years, a preventative vaccination for the deadly measles disease was developed and is now given to children as young as twelve months, MSMS lead state legislation for mandatory seatbelt use, the human genome project was completed, stands as the largest international collaborative biological project and transformed the way medicine is approached, and the Michigan State Medical Society has had multiple influential women leaders including current president Rose M. Ramirez, MD.

These accomplishments and beyond were celebrated at the 150th Anniversary Cornerstone Celebration on October 7, 2015. Immediate past president James D. Grant, MD, was tasked with the privilege of opening the cornerstone. Doctor Grant shared the 1959 cornerstone elements with many other distinguished individuals in attendance, including physicians, past and president society members, MSMS advocates and government officials.

Doctor Grant shared a précis of the letters full of 21st century medical prophecies left by the governor and lieutenant governor, health commissioners, university presidents, physicians and other advocates. Predictions included a growing concern in mental health, an increase in average lifespan to 85 years for men and 90 years for women, an electronic takeover of the clerical aspects of patient care and larger government influence over medicine.

The privilege was then passed over to president-elect David M. Krhovsky, MD, to close the cornerstone. The cornerstone, set to open again in 2065, was re-sealed with memorabilia from this year, including tokens from the October 7 celebration, and predictions for the next 50 years of medicine. Predictions for health care were made by many in attendance at the celebration and include medical-altering advances in technology, elimination of malignant and chronic deteriorating diseases, identification devices implanted at birth, genetic manipulation, universal health care and emerging categories of health care professionals, like preventionists.

Doctor Krhovsky, as president-elect, will lead the future of Michigan State Medical Society and contribute his talents as a driving force in the future of medicine.

"I look forward to building upon the successes of the last 50 years, and in particular those of the last 10 years," Doctor Krhovsky said. "I feel a great deal of pride in the organization. We have demonstrated a great staying power."

On September 15, 1959, Women's Auxiliary to the Michigan State Medical Society president Agnes H. Reagan wrote, "The state of medicine and health in 2000 A.D.? Of two things I am sure; there will be sick people and there will be doctors."

Gathered outside at the 150th Anniversary Cornerstone Ceremony on October 7, 2015 during the presentation, an ambulance zoomed by with sirens blaring. We don't know where that ambulance was heading, who was in it or any circumstances of the emergency at all -- but two things were for certain. Someone was sick or hurt and a doctor was surely there to care for him or her. This is the guarantee and the mission MSMS physicians have abided by, past, present and future.

We will gather again in 2065 to reopen the cornerstone and celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Michigan State Medical Society. Jokes will be likely be made about texting and iPads, as jokes were this year about typewriters and phones attached to walls. Some of the predictions made this year may hold true, while some may not. Regardless of the state of technology, medicine and health care in 2065, there will be sick people, there will be doctors and Michigan State Medical Society will exist to support these physicians in enhancing patient care.

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