The LACMA Story

The story of the Los Angeles County Medical Association began on a quiet Tuesday evening – January 31, 1871 – when a group of seven dedicated physicians gathered in the offices of two colleagues. United by a common commitment to their profession, their patients and their growing community, these founders set out standards of professional excellence that, even to this day, define what it means to practice medicine in Los Angeles County.

In the preamble to the Association’s Constitution, the founders wrote: “This association is devoted to the development of the science and art of medicine, the conservation and protection of public health, and the betterment of the medical profession.” As Los Angeles grew, so did LACMA. In its first 30 years, the Association’s member physicians were instrumental in establishing Los Angeles’s first hospitals and clinics, and in founding the medical school at the University of Southern California.

Since World War II, LACMA has remained at the forefront of healthcare, especially on issues related to the area’s postwar population boom and changing culture and values. Air and water pollution, cardiac and pulmonary disease, cancer and HIV represent just a handful of public health issues that LACMA members have been aggressively committed to fighting.

Today, while LACMA members are more committed than ever to curing disease and caring for patients, new challenges have emerged. The advent of managed care, escalating healthcare costs, rampant mal practice lawsuits and diminished access to care for patients have dramatically altered the playing field.

Today, more than ever, physician autonomy is being undermined, and more involvement is needed. As in LACMA’s early days, the Association continues to recognize and respect the physician’s strong individualism while striving to define a powerful, unified voice for protecting physician and patient rights. Only through the sustained engagement of dedicated area physicians, residents and medical students can LACMA continue to uphold the original vision.