BCMS Leadership Values IDEA: Past, Present, and Future

September 22, 2021

As early as 1940, BCMS engaged with Monumental City Medical Society, the membership organization of non-Caucasian physicians, and the local affiliate of the National Medical Association. One of the earliest activities were joint scientific and other medical education meetings, since “Negroes” were excluded from membership in Caucasian organizations, including Baltimore City Medical Society and MedChi. Over the years, BCMS and Monumental have continued to hold joint scientific and other educational programs, and social activities.

A December 18, 1948 Baltimore Sun article, “Medical Society to Admit Negroes,” reported on the previous evening’s meeting which received a unanimous vote, from the 250 Baltimore City Medical Society members in attendance, to admit “Negro physicians.” Then BCMS President, Horsley Gantt, M.D., noted that 40 of the approximately 80 “Negro” physicians in Baltimore would probably want to join. In 1950, the Sidney Hollander Foundation presented A Certificate of Award to BCMS for its “..contribution toward the achievement of equal rights and opportunities for Negroes…” The first five physicians to join were Maurice Adams, M.D., Gilbert Banfield, M.D., I. Bradshaw Higgins, M.D., Walter Shervington, M.D., and N. Louise Young, M.D.

In 1978, Roland T. Smoot, M.D., earned the distinction as the first black physician elected BCMS president; he would go on to become MedChi’s president in 1983. Willarda V. Edwards, M.D., followed Dr. Smoot, serving as BCMS president in 1995, while simultaneously serving as Monumental President, and was elected MedChi ‘s second woman president in 2004.

Baltimore City Medical Society

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