The California Medical Association (CMA) was formed as the State Medical Society of California on March 12, 1856. The initial membership totaled 75 physicians who held their first meeting over 154 years ago at Pioneer Hall on J Street in what is now Old Town Sacramento. In 1923, the association was renamed the California Medical Association. At its 150th anniversary the membership totaled 35,000.
The CMA continues to support the people of California. It has studied the effects of lack of access to care for the poor since the 1930s, and tried to get legislation passed in the state and nation that would establish compulsory health insurance. They continue to advocate for health insurance for all, via voluntary participation, through legislation, policy and the courts.
I was privileged to see how the society works first-hand as the California Society of Plastic Surgeons Young Physician Representative to the CMA, dealing with issues such as access to care and the distribution of vaccines. The CMA continues to work closely with County Medical Societies to assist with local problems, with State Legislators for statewide medical issues, and with the American Medical Association for national health issues.