Institutions, like people, have "family trees." The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio (AMCNO) genealogy goes back over 187 years to the founding of the 19th Medical District of Ohio in 1824. At that time, the laws regulating ‘the practice of the physic and surgery’ had divided Ohio into 20 districts for the purpose of organizing district medical societies. Each district was to appoint censors ‘whose duties were to examine and license all persons desirous of practicing medicine or surgery…and to exercise general supervision of medical affairs within’ each district. This plan had been initiated in 1811 as a method of licensing physicians, but the number of districts had been changed several times until February 26, 1824, when 20 districts were designated. Cuyahoga and Medina counties constituted the 19th Medical District.
The new medical society set about formalizing both medical licensure and education. Two regular meetings a year were scheduled-the last Tuesday in May and the last Tuesday in October. It was at the May meeting in 1826 at Salmon Oviatt’s Hotel in Richfield, Medina County, that the society decided to organize a medical library to be located in Cleveland. At first meetings were held in neighboring villages, such as Strongsville, Brunswick, and Richfield, but there soon developed the tendency to meet in Cleveland where better accommodations could be obtained. Little is known about the medical society during the next few years. Occasional notices of meetings appeared in the Cleveland Herald up until 1832, but the cholera epidemics of that year and in 1834 probably interfered with regular meetings.
For the next twenty years Cleveland’s medical community apparently maintained some sort of organization, possibly under several different names, although the 19th District Medical Society must have continued examining and licensing would-be physicians. At any rate, on April 7, 1859, the 19th District Medical Society reorganized as the Cuyahoga County Medical Society. Quarterly meetings were set and one member was assigned each time to read a scholarly paper. The Cleveland Medical Gazette (1859-61) reported such meetings until January 6, 1860, when the membership stood at twenty-five and the treasury contained $27.77.
On June 3, 1867, the first medical society bearing the name ‘Cleveland Academy of Medicine’ was organized with M.L. Brooks, president; J.A. Sayles, vice-president; J.C. Schenk, recording secretary; Colin MacKenzie, corresponding secretary; T.G. Cleveland, treasurer; and H.K. Cushing, W.J. Scott, and H.J. Herrick as censors. The fact that so many of the same names keep repeating as officers, suggest that the medical society, by whatever name, did maintain a continuous existence.
Meanwhile, a group of younger physicians, interested in the modern pathology of Rudolf Virchow (1812-1902), formed the Pathological Society in 1868. Apparently, there were too many medical meetings, even then, for in 1872 or 1873, the Pathological Society and the Cleveland Academy of Medicine merged to form the Cleveland Medical Association which became the Cuyahoga Medical Society in 1874.
The Cleveland Medical Society and the Cuyahoga County Medical Society continued to exist side by side from 1896 until May 23, 1902, when they united to form the present Academy of Medicine of Cleveland. The Academy was not incorporated, however, until August 1924.
Over the past few years, other changes have been made to alter our genealogical tree. In 1999, the society became independent from the State Medical Association and added the Northern Ohio Medical Association name and became the AMC/NOMA, broadening our focus as a regional organization. The AMC/NOMA was formed in order for the organization to evolve into an independent regional one representing physicians in this region.
In 2006 to coincide with moving to our new location in Independence, Ohio, the physician leadership agreed to consolidate our name. There was a lot of discussion about whether or not to retain the “Cleveland” in our name, and after reviewing the long history of the organization it was determined that the name would reflect our roots with the city as well as our extended focus of regional representation.
Therefore, as of October 2006, our new name became and remains The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio (AMCNO.) In addition, after some research, it was determined that in order to return to our true roots, the organization should use a logo depicting the practice of medicine. The original medical society logo included the Staff of Aesculapius, long known to represent medicine. Our new logo using this image represents a more contemporary design and is in keeping with our goal of directing the future of medicine in Northern Ohio.
The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio (AMCNO) is proud to carry on the rich legacy of organized medicine in Northern Ohio. We will continue to represent you — the practicing physician in this region and continue to fulfill our mission — which is to support physicians in being strong advocates for all patients and to promote the practice of the highest quality of medicine. Our new location is Park Center One, 6100 Old Oak Tree Blvd. Ste., 440, Independence, Ohio 44131. There is ample meeting space in the building, and we welcome members coming to visit our new location. Our phone and fax numbers will remain the same.
Journal of the American Medical Association,
Vol. 281, Feb 3, 1999.
Journal of the International College of Surgeons,
Vol. 37, No. 4, April 1962, by Victor Laughlin B.S., M.D.
Medicine in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County,
published by The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland, 1977.
The AMCNO Celebrates 190 Years of Organized Medicine - See our special anniversary edition of the Northern Ohio Physician