Massachusetts Medical Society: Committee on History

Committee on History

Recommends actions and activities to preserve the history of the Society and recognizes its accomplishments. Sponsors an annual medical student history essay contest focused on the history of medicine or public health in Massachusetts since the initiation of the MMS in 1781. This committee meets approximately three times a year. 

Essay Contest: History of Medicine

$1,000 Award

  • The Committee on History honors a medical student for the best research essay related to the history of medicine or public health in Massachusetts since the initiation of the MMS in 1781.
  • Suggested topics include initiatives that have improved the public’s health, or a close analysis of particular moments in medical discovery, diagnostics, therapeutics, education, research, or institutional evolution. Students may also consider historically contextualizing any of the pre-1982 MMS Annual Orations, available here.
  • The article should be original, tightly argued, and well-referenced, and it will be judged on scholarship, originality, and clarity of expression.
  • Not to exceed 3,000 words, excluding citations/footnotes. Photographs and illustrations will be accepted.
  • Students are invited (but not required) to consult either in person or by phone with one of the members of the Committee on History to discuss the formulation of their research question, as well as sources to be investigated. Please contact Karen Harrison at if you would like to talk to a committee member.

One paragraph abstract deadline: November 13, 2017
Final essay deadline:
January 15, 2018

Download application (pdf)

Suggested sources:

Recent winning titles have included:

MMS Annual Orations

The MMS Annual Oration dates back more than 200 years, when in 1804, Dr. Isaac Rand addressed the topic of "On Phthisis Pulmonalis, and the Use of the Warm Bath." The historic purpose of the oration is to inform physicians of issues such as "the histories of epidemics, tables of births and deaths, diaries of the weather, etc."

While the original theme has expanded considerably through the years, the essence of the oration remains to inform Massachusetts physicians of issues pertinent to current medical practice.

View a list and text of the dissertations.

Committee Members
Scott H. Podolsky, Norfolk, Chair
Alfred DeMaria, Middlesex, Vice Chair
Louis Fazen, III, Worcester
Edith M. Jolin, Plymouth
B. Dale Magee, Worcester  
Elizabeth J. Quinn, Essex North

Resident and Fellow:  
Member: Arielle Medford, Suffolk

Medical Students:  
Member: Mark Zaki, Norfolk
Alternate: Roya Edalatpour, Suffolk

Advisors :
Barbara A. Rockett, Norfolk

MMS Staff Liaison
Josh Rosenfeld (

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