The National Medical Association was formed in 1895 at a time when African American physicians were not allowed to join the American Medical Association. The National Medical Association was “Conceived in no spirit of racial exclusiveness, fostering no ethnic antagonism, but born of the exigencies of the American environment, the National Medical Association has for it’s object the banding together for mutual cooperation and helpfulness, the men and women of African descent who are legally and honorably engaged in the practice of medicine…Charles V. Roman, M.D. NMA Founding Member and First Editor of the JNMA 1908.”
The Cook County Physicians Association (CCPA), which is the 111-year-old local society of the National Medical Association was founded in the same American environment in 1911 by Dr. George Cleveland Hall. The state society is the Prairie State Medical Society (PSMS). CCPA and PSMS are in Region IV of NMA.
The Cook County Physicians Association was founded in order to address racial, political and economic problems in the delivery of medical care and education, especially as they impact African Americans. Among the goals of the Cook County Physicians Association is the desire to increase the number of African American physicians, as this is one of the critical issues of this time.
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- To sustain the highest standards of the medical profession and medical education;
- To foster favorable role models for the community;
- To provide on-going education and mentoring of minority physicians and student physicians;
- To set standards and guidelines for quality education of minority physicians on all levels by providing consultation to medical school faculties and monitoring for proper utilization and placement of minority physicians;
- To increase the number of underrepresented minority physicians dedicated to the delivery of health care;
- To ensure sound health care legislation reflective of African-American and other minority concerns;
- To work towards universal medical knowledge and universal health coverage by supporting and providing input that relates to an adequate health care system.
Audrey L. Tanksley, MD
Trained at UIC/Advocate Christ Medical Center in Internal Medicine
Stephen Watson, MD
CCPA Immediate Past President
Trained at Northwestern University in Ophthalmology
Kerri Lockhart, MD
CCPA Vice President
Trained at Loyola University School of Medicine, General Pediatrics
Whitney Lyn, MD
Trained at Cook County-Loyola-Provident in Family Medicine
Erica E. Taylor, MD
Trained at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Yvonne Collins, MD
NMA Region IV Chair
Trained at at Cook County Hospital in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.
Honoring Our Ancestors
The NMA was founded in 1895, during an era in US history when the majority of African Americans were disenfranchised. The segregated policy of “separate but equal” dictated virtually every aspect of society. Racially exclusive “Jim Crow” laws dominated employment, housing, transportation, recreation, education, and medicine. Black Americans were subjected to all the injustices inherent in a dual medical care system.
Under the backdrop of racial exclusivity, membership in America’s professional organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), was restricted to whites only. The AMA determined medical policy for the country and played an influential role in broadening the expertise of physicians. When a group of black doctors sought membership into the AMA, they were repeatedly denied admission. Subsequently, the NMA was created for black doctors and health professionals who found it necessary to establish their own medical societies and hospitals.
“Conceived in no spirit of racial exclusiveness, fostering no ethnic antagonisms, but born out of the exigency of the American environment…” the NMA extended equal rights and privileges to all physicians.
In 1895, the charter members who were present during the Cotton States and International Exposition at the first meeting, chose officers. Robert F. Boyd, M.D., of Nashville, TN, served as its first president. The other officers were Daniel Hale Williams, M.D., from Chicago, vice president; Daniel L. Martin, M.D., of Nashville, TN, secretary; David H. C. Scott, M.D., Montgomery, AL, treasurer; and H. R. Butler, M.D., Atlanta, GA, chairman of the executive committee. Miles V. Lynk, M.D., of Memphis, TN, and Robert F. Boyd, M.D. were the prime moving spirits of the formation of the organization. The two men had invited all professional persons who could be located at the exposition to meet at the First Congregational Church, and the NMA was born.
In 1891 Dr. Daniel Hale Williams with the assistance of private and community investors opened Provident Hospital and Training School Association. The hospital was established after a young black woman was denied admission to nursing school and sought help from Dr. Williams. In the setting of racism, he was unable to help her gain admission. Cook County Physician Association was founded later under similar racial tension. Dr. George Cleveland Hall was one of the city’s leading black physicians. As the Great Migration brought tens of thousands of black people to the city, Hall oversaw the expanding healthcare delivery system for the new residents. In 1911 he founded Cook County Physicians’ Association of Chicago, the only organization of black doctors in the city. In 1918 he organized Provident Hospital’s first postgraduate courses. In 1926 he was appointed chief of staff of Provident, which was the largest black hospital in the nation at that time.