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. 

Medical Student History Essay 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. 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. $1,000 award.

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 request such a consultation.

Suggested sources:

Recent winning titles have included:

One paragraph abstract deadline:  November 14, 2016
Final essay deadline: January 16, 2017

Download application (pdf)

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 
Louis Fazen, III, Worcester
Edith M. Jolin, Plymouth
B. Dale Magee, Worcester
Scott H. Podolsky, Norfolk
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
Grant V. Rodkey, Suffolk

MMS Staff Liaison
Karen Harrison (

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