History of the Hampden District Medical Society

The petition of the majority of the members residing in Hampden County was accepted at the meeting of the Council on May 28, 1840.  According to the 1840 catalogue there were fourteen members in the County.  Records show that the Hampden District Medical Society had been organized previous to the meeting of the Council in 1840 and is one of the oldest medical societies in the Country. 

The overall mission shall be to do all things as may be necessary and appropriate to advance medical knowledge, to develop and maintain the highest professional and ethical standards of medical practice and health care, and to promote medical institutions formed on liberal principles for the health, benefit and welfare of the citizens of Hampden County.

The Hampden District Medical Society is in its 170th year and is a dues member organization that serves as a referral service for the public. 

There are 1120 members and 8 working committees to which any member may chose to belong.   The purpose of the committees is to work and support the ongoing strategic direction of the Society.

Hampden District serves as the model for what a district medical society should be in the context of a state medical society and a national medical organization.  Although the membership may be small, the influence is large and positive.  The leadership is much greater than that of many districts that are much larger. 

While the Society is not organized around any specific hospital, it partner's with hospitals and healthcare facilities within the District for programs such as High School Dr. for a Day, Medical Ethics Seminar, Legislative Breakfast and Doctor Appreciation Day.
 
The Medico-Legal Committee was created in Hampden County in 1992 between Hampden District Medical Society and the Hampden County Bar Association, the first of its kind in Massachusetts and perhaps a national prototype was developed.  The goal was in the interest of both parties to try to work out the differences because it was found to make life easier and most importantly, it helps the client and the patient who are one and the same.   Whatever differences, the two professions have much in common and this is the only local event which brings the two groups together."

Programs and participation that might be unique to the District and should be a part of the district's collective history include:

  • Annual High School Doctor for a Day/Student/Doctor mentoring program
  • "Soapy" MMS, Hand-washing Mascot participation in Springfield's Community Baby Shower and Hand-washing program to elementary school children in Hampden County.
  • AMA MAC's Doctors Back to School program, minority physicians from across the country visit schools in their communities to encourage young people, especially in underrepresented minority groups, to pursue medical careers.  Lincoln School in Springfield was the first school in the nation to present the Doctors Back to School program.
  • Senior Physician Writing Workshop:  Writing Your Life Story
  • 2001, World Trade Center and Pentagon Relief Fund ($28,785.71 collected and sent to the," September 11, 2001 Victim Fund".
  • Bioterrorism Program for health care professionals.
  • Task Force on Medicare and Medicaid.
  • HIV/Aides & Pregnancy Workshops: Springfield Boy's & Girl's Club & area faith based organizations.
  • Massachusetts State House Health Care Disparities Hearings, Testimony Forum
  • Dr. Appreciation Day, Red Carnation Distribution to Hampden County hospitals and doctor offices.
  • Resident's from Baystate Medical Center: Partnership with Springfield Boy's and Girl's Club Intervention programs and workshop series/Sexually Transmitted Disease, Prevention in Adolescents
  • Participation in Springfield Health & Human Services Health Month
  • Steps to Success Career Day, Springfield Boy's and Girl's Club:  Mission is to afford youngsters ages 10-13 grades 5 through 8, the opportunity to better understand and become award of the options available to them and the steps they can take toward successful careers.
  • Springfield Forest Park Petting Zoo: Sanitary measures taken for Children.
  • Springfield MMRS Steering Committee, Pandemic and Biological Incident Operations
  • BIOMASS Project ongoing/Stop the threat to the environment and people in Western Massachusetts:  Resulting in Resolution to the MMS, House of Delegates
  • Doctor On the Hill Day, Boston
  • Alliance, Family's Make a Difference
  • September, Women in Medicine Month: Health & Wellness Spa Party: "When you don't fit the Mold"

The district nominates deserving members each year for the following awards.

  • HDMS Member Awards
  • Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Stethoscope
  • Senior Volunteer Physician of the Year  
  • Community Clinician of the Year   
  • Young Physician Leadership Award  
  •  2000 Henry Ingersoll Bodwitch Award for Excellence in Public Health 
    Dr. Robert Kasper
  • MMS, 2001 Senior Volunteer Physician of the Year Award
    Dr. Alonzo Sheffield
  • MMS 2005 Award for Distinguished for Service to the Massachusetts Medical Society 
    Dr. Claudia L. Koppelman
  • MMS 2004 Henry Ingersoll Bodwitch Award for Excellence in Public Health
    Dr. Deborah Hoadley

The Community Clinician of the Year Award was adopted at the Interim House of Delegates meeting in November 1998.  It was established to recognize a practitioner from each district medical society who has made significant contributions to patients and the community

Recipients of the Community Clinician of the Year Award: 

  • 2010  Michael D'Alessandro, M.D., Springfield
  • 2009  Thomas E. Judd, M.D., Holyoke
  • 2008  Richard Courtney & Barry Sachs, M.D., Springfield
  • 2007  Sarah Mullan, M.D, Chicopee
  • 2006  Alicia Ross, M.D., Holyoke
  • 2005  Mark Mullan, M.D. Springfield
  • 2004  Winthrop Whitcomb, M.D. Springfield
  • 2003  Jean Talati, M.D. Springfield
  • 2002  James Wang, M.D., Westfield
  • 2001  Mohan Rao, M.D. Springfield
  • 2000  Claudia Koppelman, M.D., Holyoke

If you know of a doctor who is deserving of being honored with the 2011 Community Clinician of the Year Award, please send a nomination letter to, Suzanne Skibinski, Executive Director, 1111 Elm Street, Suite 22, 01089-1540

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