The first efforts to procure legislation that would allow the incorporation of medical  societies began in 1803. However, the real staunch activities to establish legislation resumed in 1805 and carried through to April 4, 1806, when the Legislature enacted a law allowing for such incorporation. The law is entitled, "An act to incorporate Medical Societies for the purpose of regulating the practice of physic and surgery in this state."

In the beginning, there was nothing but wilderness. Then the Indians came and brought with them the Indian medicine men who had some knowledge of herbs. They were followed by the early Jesuit missionaries who had a certain amount of medical training. They combined with the Indian medicine men to give the local population some medical care.

At the annual meeting, it was voted that the members of the society charge for their services as follows: traveling fees, one shilling and sixpence per mile; E. Dente, two shillings if charged; V. Sutis, one and sixpence; emetic or cathartic one and sixpence; for every case in the obstetric art, if natural, three dollars, but if we are obliged to have recourse to instruments, six dollars, if we are detained over nine hours, one dollar for every additional six hours, and traveling fees if over four miles; for every dislocation or simple fracture, two dollars; for consultation, 12 shillings. 

This permitted the physicians of the various counties to form county medical societies, giving them certain rights to regulate medical practice in their area, including the right to test and license young doctors, and to oppose irregular practitioners.

In the early years of the century, the State of New York, unlike Pennsylvania and the New England States, had done very little to encourage science, and there was no school of medicine worthy of the name nearer than Boston and Philadelphia. During this time period, few young men could afford to go to these schools to qualify themselves for the medical profession, whatever the inducements offered by the future. This led to the prevailing custom that young, medical aspirants joined the office of a neighboring physician, studying his books for two or three years, and accompanying the practicing physician on his patient visits. At the end of the two- to three-year term the young doctor felt qualified to begin his professional career.

In the last 50 years of medicine, technological breakthroughs and the delivery of patient care have gone through a revolution. There was the refinement in surgical technique, heart transplantation, and organ transplantation. The medical profession has witnessed the coming of ultrasynography, refined radiological imaging, and minimal invasive surgery. The "Genome" project and its direct and in- direct consequences in medical knowledge are now being realized.

Over the decades, thousands of physicians have given their time and dedication to the practice of medicine. This century in medicine is going to be as exciting as the last two. The questions the physician-community is asking today may be answered with future advances in technology by new physicians who can build on past experiences and history. With the advent of advanced research and procedures, along with more technological equipment, it is important to remember that patient care is our first priority, as well as, upholding the "Hippocratic Oath."

Our physicians' thirst for knowledge, their com- passion, and their passion for the medical profession and what it stands for, has saved lives and changed lives - for that we are thankful.