A vintage photo of several doctors surround a patient on an operating table.

Images of America: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

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The success of the American Revolution produced a need for the creation of new national systems of government, finance, education, commerce--and health care. No one recognized the need for better health care more clearly than Gen. George Washington,
whose order to have the Continental Army vaccinated against smallpox helped to turn the tide of battle in favor of the colonists. And so, Benjamin Rush, MD, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and 23 other physicians founded The College of Physicians ofPhiladelphia in 1787.

This organization exerted much influence over the development of public health policies and private health practices in the new United States. More than two centuries later, it continues to serve medical professionals and the public through the resources of the world-famous Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library as well as through many educational programs, exhibitions, conferences, and other events.