Physician Licensing

Colonial Era of United States Medicine History

During the Colonial Era in the United States, the medicine was mostly based on traditional medicines and cures of the time. Before 1750, there wasn’t a ton of physicians that were trained. But after 1750, there were some cities that had physicians who were trained in England or Scotland. There was also the start of locally trained physicians. 

In the Colonial Era, the disease rate was very high, especially for new people to the colonies and the children. Malaria was one of the most common which killed European settlers, especially in the south. Children then started to get yellow fever. 

During this time, colonial people would turn to the healers that were natural and used folk remedies. Some went to minster-physicians, barber-surgeons, apothecaries, midwives and ministers. 

Regulation of medical care or attention to public health was not a thing during this time. Government control was very little. In the 1700s two hospitals opened in Louisiana. First the Royal Hospital and second the Charity Hospital. In 1765 Philadelphia opened the Medical College of Philidelphia. King’s College in New York opened its medical department in 1767. 

In the 18th century, modern medicine was brought to the cities. These included vaccination, pathology, anatomy and pharmacology. In the same time, 117 Americans from the upper class graduated in medicine in Scotland. However many physicians were apprentices in the colonies.

In this time many women served as midwives and local healers. There were nurses who also helped with births. Elizabeth Blackwell, was the first female doctor in America, graduating from Geneva Medical College in 1849. 

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