Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When did medical certification start being a 'thing' in western cultures, ex. among US denizens, the British, etc.? In particular, who (organization, person, etc.) came up with the first standards when?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In speaking about preliminary medical certification, there are a few elements to consider: education, ethics codes, promotion of evidence based medicine and licensing.

Education

Setting standards for education was the first undertaking, because through doing this it develops the idea of what is a "doctor" and what is not.

The first American medical school was the University of Pennsylvania, established 1765. The school was modeled on the University of Edinburgh.

Ethics Codes, Basic Standards

In the US, state and county level medical associations were developed in the 18th and 19th century to create these very elementary standards concerning the rights of patients, the duty of the doctor and to discuss the best ways to practice medicine. Doctors learned from each other what worked and what didn't, so that mistakes didn't need to be repeated.

The first state medical association was New Jersey, founded 1766.

From this grew a movement to create a national medical association and this became the American Medical Association, founded 1845.

At the founding meeting the delegates adopted the first code of medical ethics, and established the first nationwide standards for preliminary medical education and the degree of MD.

Licensing In order to practice medicine in the US, you must have a license as well as a MD. To obtain this, doctors take examinations on a regular basis to prove their medical knowledge, known as the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

Licensing dates to as far back as the 1890s.

The FSMB was founded in 1912 through a merger between the National Confederation of State Medical Examining and Licensing Boards (established in 1891) and the American Confederation of Reciprocating Examining and Licensing Boards (established in 1902).

share|improve this answer
    
This answer is strictly US-based where the question asks about Western medicine in general, not just US. A more complete answer would trace back to at least the beginning of medical regulation in the UK in 1421-1511. –  called2voyage Mar 25 at 16:19

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.