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North Carolina Medical Society Alliance Celebrates 100 Years

1950s Bring Continued Growth

Past Presidents

1950s Bring Continued Growth...

The Auxiliary to the Medical Society of the State of North Carolina began the 1950s with 1377 members; by 1958 there were 2258 members. The Auxiliary was structured similarly to the North Carolina Medical Society. It was divided into ten districts, each with an appointed “councilor” who presided over district meetings. Auxiliary membership continued to grow. Consequently, during Mrs. W. Reese Berryhill’s presidency in 1952, the Auxiliary formed a House of Delegates to act as its legislative and business body. The House of Delegates consisted of the Auxiliary Board of Directors and a delegate for every twenty-five state members. The House of Delegates met annually, but any Auxiliary member could attend the annual meeting as a guest. In 1955, 446 members registered at the annual meeting in Pinehurst.

Two of the Auxiliary’s earlier service projects, the tuberculosis sanitorium bed endowments and the Student Loan Fund, continued into the 1950s. Several of the sanitorium bed endowments, each with a goal of $10,000, became fully funded. To put that monetary amount in context— in 1955, the daily cost of maintenance per sanatorium patient was fifty cents. In 1955, the Student Loan Fund was extended beyond serving doctors’ children in need of financial assistance to include “worthy individuals in their junior or senior years in medicine, nursing or allied fields”.

A Nurse Recruitment Committee was started in 1952-53 and continued the Future Nurses Clubs among its efforts. Its first chairman was Mrs. John Reese of Morganton. The 1957 Annual Report showed that county Auxiliaries were giving financial support to 35 nursing students. In 1959, the committee and name were expanded to the Paramedical Careers Committee. The Community Service and the Community Health Committees were added in 1959.

In 1952, the Auxiliary created a Rural Health Committee, chaired by Mrs. J.E. Wright of Macclesfield, to bring health education to North Carolina’s rural citizens. Also in 1951-52, a Civil Defense Committee was established, with Mrs. George Harrell of Winston Salem as the first chair. Auxiliary members logged thousands of hours educating the public on emergency food storage, disseminating atomic radiation information, sky-watching and working in bloodmobiles.

Safety was a big focus in the 1950s. The Auxiliary lobbied for driver training courses in high schools and state legislation requiring chemical tests for intoxication when a driver’s competency was in question. In 1958 the Safety Committee held clinics on baby-sitter training and bicycle and water safety and offered information on home safety.

A Mental Health Chairman, Mrs. Thomas Lacy of Morganton, was appointed in 1953. Mental Health Committee members worked hard to recruit mental health professionals to North Carolina and worked in mental health hospitals, clinics, and schools themselves. In 1959 the Mental Health Endowment Fund was established. Fund earnings were given to the UNC School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry for child mental health research.

An official quarterly publication, Auxiliary News was first published in 1952. It began as a mimeographed newsletter but a year later, North Carolina Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Inc., began publishing the newsletter as a courtesy.

The first formal history of the Auxiliary was published in 1958 compiled by Mrs. Frank Jones, Historian, and her hard-working committee.

Other milestones of the 1950s include—

1950: Members framed posters of Sir Samuel Luke Filde’s painting, “The Doctor” and placed them in doctors’ offices and worked on a drive to oppose compulsory health insurance.

1951: The Auxiliary president gave the first annual report to the NCMS House of Delegates.

1956: Revision of the Constitution and Bylaws restricted membership to the wives of members of the Medical Society and widows whose husbands were members in good standing at the time of their death.

1957: Life memberships were awarded by the Auxiliary to three of its members after thirty years of membership.

1959: The first Auxiliary representatives to other organizations were appointed.



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