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 since the initiation of the MMS in 1781. This committee meets approximately three times a year.

History of Medicine Essay Award

$1,000 Award

  • The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) supports the Committee on History in offering an annual award to be presented to a medical student for the best original, independently researched article related to the history of medicine or public health since the initiation of the MMS in 1781 to the present day. Articles relating to Massachusetts are encouraged.
  • Suggested topics include initiatives that have improved the public's health or access to medical care or a close analysis of particular movements in medical discovery, diagnostics, therapeutics, education, research, or institutional (e.g., hospitals, journals, medical societies) 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 Josh Rosenfeld at if you would like to talk to a committee member

One paragraph abstract deadline: November 19, 2019
Final essay deadline: 
January 21, 2020

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
Alfred DeMaria, Middlesex - Chair
Edith M. Jolin, Plymouth - Vice-Chair
Louis Fazen, III, Worcester
B. Dale Magee, Worcester
Scott H. Podolsky, Norfolk
Elizabeth J. Quinn, Essex North
Eric J. Reines, Essex South
Kenath Shamir, Bristol South

Resident and Fellow:  
Member: Grace Lassiter, Middlesex

Medical Students:  
Member: Tara Ahmadi, Suffolk
Alternate: Colleen Flanagan, Worcester

Advisors :
Barbara A. Rockett, Norfolk

MMS Staff Liaison
Josh Rosenfeld (

Meeting Minutes

Share on Facebook

Get Involved

Contribute your unique talents to the society's efforts. Elected, appointed and volunteer positions are available at district and statewide levels.

Facebook logoTwitter logoLinkedInYouTube logoInstagram

Copyright © 2020. Massachusetts Medical Society, 860 Winter Street, Waltham Woods Corporate Center, Waltham, MA 02451-1411

(781) 893-4610 | (781) 893-3800 | Member Information Hotline: (800) 322-2303 x7311