Pa. Medical Society continues to evolve 175 years later

Cris Collingwood//May 3, 2023

Dr. F. Wilson Jackson, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society - PHOTO/Cris Collingwood

Pa. Medical Society continues to evolve 175 years later

Cris Collingwood//May 3, 2023

The Pennsylvania Medical Society was founded after a meeting of 61 county and medical school representatives met at the first Methodist Episcopal Church in Lancaster. 

Major issues the group faced were Smallpox and Dysentery. 

According to the medical society, early records show the group was concerned with professional ethics, safeguarding medical education and professional qualifications. 

On Wednesday, the organization celebrated its 175th anniversary at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. 

The celebration highlighted the challenges and successes the society has seen over time in the East Wing Rotunda, attended by board members, politicians and supporters. 

Dr. Edward Balaban, board chair, said it all started with Smallpox. “Think about that. That was awhile back,” he said. “We’ve covered quite a bit, and everyone here is the soul of the original team.” 

Martin Raniowski, CEO and executive vice president, told the gathering that the Pennsylvania Medical Society is one of the oldest in the country and it has reshaped medicine for all Pennsylvania residents. 

Dr. F. Wilson Jackson, president, said the original organization members came from Lancaster and Chester counties to support the profession.  

“We’ve evolved with technology and legislation,” he told the crowd of about 80 people. “We continue to evolve, not just from 100 years ago, but from 25 and 10 years ago as things change.” 

The goals, he said, were to advance medical knowledge, elevate professional character and protect the lives of the community. 

“We’ve remained true to that through the years,” he said.  

Jackson said throughout history, the medical society has helped conquer Smallpox and Dysentery to the opioid crisis and COVID. 

In addition to medical emergencies, Balaban said physicians must pay attention to legislation. Things like tort reform, abortion and physician burnout lead the issues today, he said. 

Other current legislative issues include access to mental health services, noncompete clauses, pharmacy benefit manager accountability, reproductive rights, scope of practice and telemedicine. 

During the ceremony, state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, presented a proclamation from the House of Representatives and state Sen. Scott Martin, R-Berks and Lancaster, presented one from the Senate.