School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

70 Years of Progress: History of the D.C. Rheumatism Society, 1946-2016

Poster Number

177

Document Type

Poster

Publication Date

3-2016

Abstract

In the aftermath of the Second World War, medical practice was at a turning point. Antibiotic therapy with penicillin and anti-inflammatory therapy with aspirin had just reached mainstream use. The National Institutes of Health had just been established, creating a place for young investigators to discover novel solutions to intractable problems in medicine. Multiple national societies appeared for the benefit of countless diseases, encouraging innovation and discovery. In the midst of this national engagement, a local special interest group, the Rheumatism Society of the District of Columbia (D.C. Rheum or the Society), became one of the first local rheumatological professional society. Founded in 1946, the Society aimed “to stimulate interest in and increase the knowledge of rheumatic diseases among physicians and laymen.” Originally a collection of physicians from various fields of medicine (including cardiology, pediatrics, and orthopedic surgery), D.C. Rheum grew to be a meeting place for the capital’s foremost intellectual contributors to the state of the art in the developing specialty of rheumatology. This paper uses primary sources gathered from PubMed, family archives, and the Society’s archive of meeting minutes in order to characterize the historical contribution and development of D.C. Rheum. In addition to describing how the Society evolved over time, this study contextualizes the activities of D.C. Rheum in the overall milieu of the science of rheumatology and aims to create a sense of the ways in which local professional societies interact with rapidly evolving scientific progress.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Open Access

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Comments

Presented at: GW Research Days 2016

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70 Years of Progress: History of the D.C. Rheumatism Society, 1946-2016

In the aftermath of the Second World War, medical practice was at a turning point. Antibiotic therapy with penicillin and anti-inflammatory therapy with aspirin had just reached mainstream use. The National Institutes of Health had just been established, creating a place for young investigators to discover novel solutions to intractable problems in medicine. Multiple national societies appeared for the benefit of countless diseases, encouraging innovation and discovery. In the midst of this national engagement, a local special interest group, the Rheumatism Society of the District of Columbia (D.C. Rheum or the Society), became one of the first local rheumatological professional society. Founded in 1946, the Society aimed “to stimulate interest in and increase the knowledge of rheumatic diseases among physicians and laymen.” Originally a collection of physicians from various fields of medicine (including cardiology, pediatrics, and orthopedic surgery), D.C. Rheum grew to be a meeting place for the capital’s foremost intellectual contributors to the state of the art in the developing specialty of rheumatology. This paper uses primary sources gathered from PubMed, family archives, and the Society’s archive of meeting minutes in order to characterize the historical contribution and development of D.C. Rheum. In addition to describing how the Society evolved over time, this study contextualizes the activities of D.C. Rheum in the overall milieu of the science of rheumatology and aims to create a sense of the ways in which local professional societies interact with rapidly evolving scientific progress.