Members of the Medical Society of South Carolina, largely a Charleston organization, founded the South Carolina Medical Association on February 14, 1848, in an effort to organize physicians from across the state. The object of the new association was to advance “the common interests of the medical profession in South Carolina, by promoting union, harmony, and good government among the members, and stimulating their zeal for the cultivation of Medical Science and literature.” Dr. James Moultrie was elected its first president. At the original meeting there were delegates from fifteen of the twenty-nine districts of the state. SCMA developed rather slowly both before and after the Civil War, but twentieth-century advances in medical science and public health concerns heightened the need for an effective statewide organization.
SCMA evolved into an influential professional body, providing leadership and support in statewide efforts to combat epidemic and endemic disease, build hospitals, provide vaccinations/inoculations and school examinations for children, improve medical and nursing education, and educate the profession and the public on medical matters. Additional interests have included ethics, medical education, licensure, vital statistics, and the general improvement in the public image of the medical profession. Since 1905 SCMA has published the Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, the oldest state medical journal in the South. In 2000 more than seventy percent of the licensed physicians in South Carolina were SCMA members.
South Carolina Medical Association. Minutes. Waring Historical Library, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.
Waring, Joseph I. A Brief History of the South Carolina Medical Association. Charleston: South Carolina Medical Association, 1948.
———. A History of Medicine in South Carolina. Vol. 2, 1825–1900. Columbia: South Carolina Medical Association, 1967.