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History of National Doctors Day - March 30th

The first Doctors' Day observance was held on March 30, 1933, by the Barrow County Auxiliary, in Winder, Georgia. The idea of setting aside a day to honor physicians was conceived by Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, and the recognition occurred on the anniversary of the first administration of anesthesia by Dr. Crawford W. Long in Jefferson, Georgia, in 1842. The Barrow County Auxiliary immediately adopted the following resolution:

"WHEREAS the Auxiliary to the Barrow County Medical Society wishes to pay lasting tribute to the Doctors, therefore, be it RESOLVED by the Auxiliary to the Barrow County Medical Society that March 30, the day that famous Georgian Dr. Crawford W. Long first used ether anesthesia in surgery, be adopted as "Doctors' Day," the object to be the well-being and honor of the profession, its observance demanding some act of kindness, gift, or tribute in remembrance of the Doctors."

This first observance included the mailing of cards to physicians, and flowers placed on graves of deceased doctors, including Dr. Long. On May 10, 1934, the resolution was adopted at the Annual Meeting of the Georgia State Medical Association, in Augusta, Georgia. The resolution was introduced to the Women's Auxiliary of the Southern Medical Association at its 29th Annual Meeting held in St. Louis, Missouri, November 19-22, 1935, by the Auxiliary President, Mrs. J. Bonar White.

  • On March 30, 1958, a resolution commemorating Doctors' Day was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • On August 1, 1989, the SMA Auxiliary, under the direction of President Barbara Thibodeaux, dedicated a bronze marker honoring Mrs. Almond on the grounds of the Court House in Winder, Georgia.
  • In 1990, legislation was introduced in the House and Senate to establish a national Doctors' Day.
  • On October 30, 1990, following overwhelming approval by the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives,  President George Bush signed S.J. RES. #366 designating March 30 as "National Doctors' Day":

WHEREAS society owes a debt of gratitude to physicians for the contributions of physicians in enlarging the reservoir of scientific knowledge increasing the number of scientific tools, and expanding the ability of health professionals to use the knowledge and tools effectively in the never ending fight against disease and,

WHEREAS society owes a debt of gratitude to physicians for the sympathy and compassion of physicians in ministering to the sick and in alleviating human suffering: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That;

1. March 30, 1991, is designated as "National Doctors' Day"; and

2. the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.

This was the culmination of the efforts of Auxilians across the country, led by SMA Auxiliary Presidents:

          • 1988-1989 SMAA President Mrs. Barbara (David) Thibodeaux
          • 1989-1990 SMAA President Mrs. Janet (A. J.) Campbell (1978-1979 MSMA Alliance Past President, Sedalia, Missouri/Pettis County) 
          • 1990-1991 SMAA President Mrs. Roberta (Jim) Barnett

The enactment of this law enables the citizens of the United States to publicly show appreciation for the role of physicians in caring for the sick, advancing medical knowledge, and promoting good health.

Through the years the red carnation has been used as the symbol of Doctors' Day. The carnation flower symbolizes love, affection, and distinction.

Today, Alliances from all over the nation, including the Southern Medical Association Alliance and the American Medical Association, celebrate Doctors' Day. 


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