Annual Orations

About the Society

The Worcester District Medical Society, a professional association representing over 2000 physicians and medical students in Massachusetts, was founded in 1794. With its offices in historic Mechanics Hall, it is one of the oldest medical societies in the United States and remains dedicated to helping physicians serve their patients.

The Worcester Medical Library was founded by the Society in 1798. The Library is dedicated to supporting educational programs for physicians and to maintaining resources on the history of medicine. In 1973 its collection was brought to the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School to establish a rare book room in the Lamar Soutter Library and an on-going partnership with the medical school was established.

About the Annual Orations

The following is an excerpt from A History of the Worcester District Medical Society 1794 – 1954, by Paul F. Bergin, MD:

“[In] the early days of our society … It has been the custom through the years for an annual paper to be delivered. The title by which this annual paper is dignified is, at first consideration a little oppressive. With the word “Oration” we associate an idea of stately dignity; we think of it as a discourse of weighty matter delivered with power of rhetoric. But this is not so although the Annual Oration is one of the oldest traditions in the life of our Society. The history of our orations begins very vaguely shortly after the Worcester Medical Society was organized. The Annual Address has usually been upon the subjects of the progress of medicine, the relations and duties of the medical profession or some specific disease or drug. The custom of the regular annual discourse started in 1840. Up to this time dissertators, with substitutes, were irregularly appointed and seen with more irregularity still, or several members were appointed by the President to report cases. And even then it often happened that literary entertainment was entirely lacking. In 1838, there were one hundred and ten physicians in the country, seventy of whom were members of the Massachusetts Medical Society and thirty of whom were members of this District Society. In 1878, our district, although including but a fraction of the territory, had a society numbering eighty-four members. At the earlier period the meetings were little more than a formal assembling of the members for the election of officers and the consumption of an ordinary dinner.”

YearOration TitleOrator
2023What They Need to Know: The Medical Students of Today Becoming the Physicians of TomorrowAnne Larkin, MD
2022What’s The Future of Healthcare Quality and Safety?Kimiyoshi Kobayashi, MD, MBA
2021The Next Gen: The Physician Workforce of the FutureN. Lynn Eckhert, M.D., MPH, DrPH
2020Two Most Important Days: Reflections on Happiness and Living With PurposeSanjiv Chopra, M.D., MACP
2019Hope for Haiti - Healing One Patient at a TimeJane Lochrie, M.D.
201812 Lessons Learned About LeadershipMarianne E. Felice, M.D.
2017A Glass (more than) Half Full: The Top Ten Reasons to be Optimistic about the Future of Medicine in WorcesterTerence R. Flotte, M.D.
2016Symphony of the BrainJoel Popkin, M.D., FACP
2015Medicine and ArtPaul M. Steen, M.D.
2014From the Roadside to the Bedside: Following the Saint of the GuttersGeorge M. Abraham, M.D., MPH, FACP
2013From Flexner to Worcester: Medicine's Next Century DawnsMichael F. Collins, M.D.
201250 Years of Medicine: Less Art, More ScienceCharles Birbara, M.D.
2011That Which Endures: The Quiet Heroes of Medical DiscoveryAnthony L. Esposito, M.D., FACP
2010"You Have Saved Our Lives"Guenter L. Spanknebel, M.D.
2009Monitoring Competence and Enhancing Performance: Effective Ways to Support the Practicing PhysicianRichard Aghababian, M.D.
2008Profiles in Medical Courage: A Message of Hope, Survival, and TranscendenceMichael P. Hirsh, M.D.
2007The Class of 1980: Medical Education Then and NowMichelle P. Pugnaire, M.D.
2006Do No Harm: From Hippocrates to the I.O.M.Harvey Kowaloff, M.D., MMM
2005Old Dog, New TricksB. Dale Magee, M.D., M.S.
2004The Most Important Patient of Our TimeWilliam G. Lavelle, M.D.
2003We Have Met The Aged And They Are UsJerry H. Gurwitz, M.D.
2002Adoption and Foster Care: Is It For You?Harvey G. Clermont, M.D.
2001May I Have The Next Slide, Please?: Deconstructing CMELynda M. Young, M.D.
2000Healthcare Delivery - DeliverersArthur M. Pappas, M.D.
1999Some Hopes and Predictions for Medicine in the 21st CenturyPeter H. Levine, M.D.
1998Stories of Shame and Humiliation in PhysiciansAaron Lazare, M.D.
1997Socrates, Einstein and the Worcester District Medical SocietyH. Brownell Wheeler, M.D.
1996Radiology: 100 Years Old and Where To Next?Murray L. Janower, M.D.
1995Problems Faced by Physicians in The Worcester District: Then and NowRalph C. Monroe, M.D.
1994No title availablePaula Stillman, M.D.
1993The Children of ChernobylEdward L. Amaral, M.D.
1992Some Comments on Resident EducationGilbert E. Levinson, M.D.
1991Coming of Age in Urban AmericaJames Barry Hanshaw, M.D.
1990Medicine - Religion or Job? - ProlegomenaThe Rev. Robert Bain, M.D.
1989When the Bottom Line Supercedes the "A" LineStuart R. Jaffee, M.D.
1988Let's Play TwoRichard H. Glew, M.D.
1987Has the Time Come to Regulate the Regulators?Saul K. Lerner, M.D.
1986Open for BusinessN. Lynn Eckhert, M.D.
1985Medicine's Burdens - Intrinsic and Extrinsic: Can Physicians' Practice Patterns Be Changed?George R. Dunlop, M.D.
1984It Was the Best of Times...Jacob Spungin, M.D.
1983The Tools of the TradeSamuel Bachrach, M.D.
1982Doctor in the Lonely Crowd: The Plight of the Physician in the 80'sLewis P. James Jr., M.D.
1981Conversations With My FatherDufault Francis X., M.D.
1980CME: Boon or BaneJoseph S. Sherer, M.D.
1979Daktari: The Emerging Endangered SpeciesElwood O. Horne, M.D.
1978Under the Sign of the CrabCharles S. Whalen, M.D.
1977The Doctors Dilemma: Villain or Victim?Edward Mason, M.D.
1976Hip, Hip, HoorayVerner S. Johnson, M.D.
1975Family PracticeRichard Walton, M.D.
1974Islands of Excellence and the Street PhysicianLeonard J. Morse, M.D.
1973The Quality of Medical CareJohn J. Massarelli, M.S. (Med.)
1972The Image of a PhysicianStanley L. Kocot, M.D.
1971Worcester as a Medical Center - Now and in the FutureDonald Hight, M.D.
1970The Psychiatric Revolution (1792-1970)Burte Guterman, M.D.
1969Cry of RachelJohn A. Duggan, M.D.
1968Some Newer Concepts Concerning an Old DiseaseRoger W. Robinson, M.D.
1967Education for Living TodayJohn A. Henderson, M.D.
1966Medical Education: A Challenge to the Community HospitalEdmund J. Croce, M.D.
1964The AMA, Villain or Victim?John G. Freymann, M.D.
1963Changing Faces of MedicineCharles V. King, M.D.
1962MaimonidesEdward Budnitz, M.D.
1961Alcohol, A Christian DiversionCarrol W. Johnson, M.D.
1960By the Stars We Chart Our CourseHarold M. Constantian, M.D.
1959Quo VadisBardwell H. Flower, M.D.
1958The Quality of CareRobert Johnson, M.D.
1957Medice, Quo Vadia?John B. Butts, M.D.
1956Changing Concepts in Physician-Hospital RelationshipsJohn A. Maroney, M.D.
1955What Now Dr. Frankenstein?Foster L. Vibber, M.D.
1954Changing Concepts in Industrial MedicineKarl T. Benedict, M.D.
1953Changing Aspects in MedicineJames T. Brosnan, M.D.
1952Some Impressions of a Small Town DoctorAnna M. Klebart, M.D.
1951Arrow WoundsJoseph A. Lundy, M.D.
1950The Problem of Ischemia of the Lower ExtremitiesGeorge R. Dunlop, M.D.
19491949Paul Dufault, M.D.
1948The Curious Death of Dr. LodgeJohn M. Fallon, M.D.
1947Prefrontal LobotomyJohn T. B. Carmody, M.D.
1946Roentgenology and the Changing Medical TrendsWilliam J. Elliott, M.D.
1945Doctors, Patients and PoliticsJohn J. Dunphy, M.D.
1944Frank Burr Mallory: The Physician's PhysicianWilliam Freeman, M.D.
1943Barron LarreyBenjamin H. Alton, M.D.
1942Early RoentgenologyAndrew E. O' Connell, M.D.
1941Experiences with DeafnessGordon Berry, M.D.
1940Painful ShouldersRalph S. Perkins, M.D.
1938Changing VistasJ. C. Austin, M.D.
1937Social Security and the PhysicianC. A. Sparrow, M.D.
1936The Relationship of Psychiatry to MedicineWilliam A. Bryant, M.D.
1935Evolution of RevolutionR. J. Ward, M.D.
1934Our Early HeritageW. F. Lynch, M.D.
1933Some Lower Lobe Lesions of the LungE. B. Emerson, M.D.
1932Congenital Pyloric StenosisW. Seelye, M.D.
1931Problems of Contagious Disease in WorcesterE. Leib, M.D.
1930Efficacy Problems in Applied SurgeryE. L. Hunt, M.D.
1929Taking Account of StockW. E. Denning, M.D.
1928A Survey of the Hospitals of the Worcester DistrictC. L. Miller, M.D.
1927Fifty Years RetrospectA. M. Shattuck, M.D.
1926No title availableF. H. Washburn, M.D.
1925Some Aspects of Mental Disease and the New Methods of InvestigationH. J. O' Meara, M.D.
1924The Development of SurgeryR. P. Watkins, M.D.
1923Can You Beat ItA. G. Hurd, M.D.
1922Changes Recurring in the Past 25 Years, Having an Effect on the Practice of MedicineArthur W. Marsh, M.D.
1921Some Problems of TuberculosisGeorge Emery, M.D.
1920Public Health and the General PractitionerLeslie R. Bragg, M.D.
1919No title availableEmerson, M.D.
1918No title availableWalkins, M.D.
1917A Physician's Impression of FloridaWilliam L. Johnson, M.D.
1916A SurveyJ. T. McGillicudy, M.D.
1915The Practice of Preventive MedicineJohn M. French, M.D.
1914The Relation of Venereal Diseases to the Public HealthFrederick H. Baker, M.D.
1913The Obligation of the Physician of TodayFrank H. Clapp, M.D.
1912Medicine and Humanity, the Physician as a Promoter of CivilizationJ. C. Berry, M.D.
1911Versatility in the Medical ProfessionJohn T. Duggan, M.D.
1910The Ideal Family PhysicianCharles A. Church, M.D.
1909A Report of Five Cases of Affections of the PancreasMichael F. Fallon, M.D.
1908VivisectionRay W. Greene, M.D.
1907Some Things Worth While to the Medical Society TodayJacob R. Lincoln, M.D.
1906The Early Days of the Worcester HospitalsLemuel F. Woodward, M.D.
1905Some Medical ResearchesEdward H. Trowbridge, M.D.
1904Forty Years' Progress and the Problems it has Brought to a District SocietyHomer Gage, M.D.
1903Some of the Recent Advancements in Medical ScienceR. W. Swan, M.D.
1902Some Fundamental Points in Neurological DiagnosisE. W. Taylor, M.D.
1901The Physician's Adaptation to Modern ConditionsE. W. Norwood, M.D.
1900Specialism in the Practice of MedicineAlbert C. Getchell, M.D.
1899How to Prepare for DeathE. R. Wheeler, M.D.
1898Serum TherapyO. H. Everett, M.D.
1897Prevention of DiseaseL. L. French, M.D.
1896Look Forward and Not Back. Look Upward and Not Down. Look Outward and Not In.S. B. Woodward, M.D.
1895The Duties, Trials and Rewards of the PhysicianComey, M.D.
1894Problems in State MedicineE. V. Scribner, M.D.
1893Our Professional RelationsF. E. Corey, M.D.
1892A Sketch of the Medical History of the Worcester District Medical SocietyM.J. Halloran, M.D.
1891A Quarter SectionFrederick A. Wilmarth, M.D.
1890Some of the Personal Elements Which Determine A Man's Success in the Practice of MedicineG. Francis, M.D.
1889Painless ParturitionA. Blodgett, M.D.
1888Treatments in Medical PracticeGeorge M. Morse, M.D.
1887Sanitary ScienceCharles A. Peabody, M.D.
1886A RetrospectF. Brigham, M.D.
1885Management of LaborW. Davis, M.D.
1884The Care and Cure of the InsaneH. Quimby, M.D.
1883No title availableW. Taylor, M.D.
1882Medical Expert TestimonyJ. Rice, M.D.
1881State and Preventative MedicineF. Kelley, M.D.
1880The Protoplasmic Theory of Life in its Relation to General MedicineW. Workman, M.D.
1879Fashion in MedicineJ. Marble, M.D.
1878Waldo and MillerLeonard Wheeler, M.D.
1877Preventative MedicineE. Harvey, M.D.
1876Humbug in MedicineA. Orcutt, M.D.
1875The Value of Special Study in MedicineS. Dixon,
1874Rational EmpiricismG. Webber, M.D.
1873Some of the Elements of Success in a Physician's PracticeG. Francis, M.D.
1872Country DoctorF. Brown, M.D.
1871Advance of MedicineE. Warner, M.D.
1870The Human TongueJ. Robinson, M.D.
1869Medical PhysiogonomyB. Trippe, M.D.
1868Influence of Time and Nature in the Cure of DiseaseJ. Park, M.D.
1867Consanguineous MarriagesA. Wood, M.D.
1866Asiatic CholeraFrancis Leland, M.D.
1865DiphtheriaChauncey A. Wilcox, M.D.
1864Evidence of Progress in Medical Science, More Especially During the Present CenturyH. Jewett, M.D.
1863The Medical Profession, Its Aims, Trials, Responsibilities and RewardsJ. West, M.D.
1862The Past, Present, and Future of the Worcester District Medical SocietyThomas Hovey Gage, M.D.
1860No title availableSouthwick, M.D.
1859No title availableWheeler, M.D.
1858The External Use of Oil in the Treatment of DiseaseClarke, M.D.
1857No title availableL. Woodward, M.D.
1856No title availableHitchcock, M.D.
1855No title availableJohnson, M.D.
1854Duties of Medical ProfessionMartin, M.D.
1852Advancement of Medical ScienceSargent, M.D.
1851No title availableMarshall, M.D.
1849No title availableJ. Tenney, M.D.
1848Medical Agents and Use of IodineDavis, M.D.
1847Puerperal FeverField, M.D.
1846Importance of DiagnosisFay, M.D.
1845Duties and Relations of Physicians to Society and Each OtherW. Workman, M.D.
1844Typhus and Typhoid FeverMetcalf, M.D.
1843Sympathy of the Stomach or Digestive Organs with Other Organs or Parts of the BodyThomas R. Boutelle, M.D.
1842No title availableJ. Robbins, M.D.
1841No title availableChandler Smith, M.D.
1840Pathology and Treatment of Different Forms of InflammationL. Woodwan, M.D.
1839ScarlitinaPartridge, M.D.
1837Anomalous Case of Cutaneous EruptionSmith, M.D.
1836Case of Inflammation of the Knee-joint Together with the Treatment PursuedWilder, M.D.
1833No title availableMetcalf, M.D.
1832No title availableW. Workman, M.D.
1831No title availablePeck, M.D.
1830No title availableWilder, M.D.
1829No title availableS. Batcheller, M.D.
1827No title availableStarbreck, M.D.
1826No title availableL. Flint, M.D.
1825No title availableB. Heywood, M.D.
1824No title availableS. Batcheller, M.D.
1823No title availableWilder, M.D.
1822No title availableJ. Homans, M.D.
1820No title available,
1819No title availableS. Manning, M.D.
1818No title availableA. Haskell, M.D.
1817GoutA. Haskell, M.D.
1816No title available,
1815History of ChemistryA. Lowe, M.D.
1814No title availableJ. Field, M.D.
1813No title available,
1812No title availableJ. Green, M.D.
1811No title availableA. Flint, M.D.
1808No title availableA. Haskell, M.D.
1807No title availableBabbitt, M.D.
1806No title availableO. Fiske, M.D.
1805No title availableJ. Osgood, M.D.
1804No title availableJ. Osgood, M.D.
1803No title availableJ. Osgood, M.D.
1802No title availableBabbitt, M.D.
1801No title available,
1800No title available,
1799No title available,
1798No title availableWhitton, M.D.
1797No title available,
1796A History of the Malignant Dysentery as it Appeared in Worcester in the Months of July, August and SeptemberO. Fiske, M.D.
1795No title availableBabbitt, M.D.
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