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Know your Medical Societies and Associations

In 1660, Sir Christopher Wren founded the first “invisible college of natural philosophers and physicians” known as the “Royal Society of London,” even though its members were not royal. Membership was by invitation only, and therefore a highly selective and elite bunch.

Christopher Wren

Since that time, there has been an explosion of professional medical societies and their associated society publications. There are newer organizations such as SPIE: The international society of optics and photonics, which produces The Journal of Biomedical Optics. There is the American Society of Genetics with its flagship journal, Genetics. There are venerable societies such as the American Medical Association produces JAMA:  Journal of the American Medical Association. There is also the Massachusetts Medical Society’s New England Journal of Medicine and the American College of Physician’s Annals of Internal Medicine.

The TMC Library provides access to over 100 society publications, many of which pertain to specialized areas of medicine, including Hematology (Blood, from the American Society of Hematologists), Radiology (Radiology/ Radiographics, from the Radiological Society of North America), Nursing (American Journal of Nursing) and Tropical Medicine (The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, from the American Society for Tropical Medicine).

The United States has its own version of the Royal Society, the National Academy of Science, which produces PNAS:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US of America. Only existing members can nominate new members to this prestigious association, and there is an extensive vetting process candidates must undergo.

However, there are many professional medical associations students can join as students. Students benefit from learning about the professional associations in their fields, as well as reading their scholarly publications. Many associations host conferences and provide networking opportunities for students. Membership is often available to students at a drastically reduced cost, and as a member you will receive their journal. If they still produce a journal in print, you can impress your friends, professors and family members by walking around with it. Of course, if you opt not to join, you can still access almost all of these journals through the TMC Library.

Make it a New Year’s Resolution to discover your professional associations.

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