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1776-1799

Revolutionary War Era Medicine in America

  • From the Colonial period in America, most physicians were trained by the apprenticeship method, serving for a given period of time , customarily five to seven years, and often living with the physician’s family.
  • The MD degree was so unusual that of the 3,500 practicing physicians in the colonies during the period of the Revolutionary War, less than 300 had received a medical degree.
  • Of the 300 physicians with degrees, most had earned those degrees in Europe, because the Philadelphia Medical College (later University of Pennsylvania) and King’s College (later Columbia University) were the only medical schools available to Americans in their homeland.

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 38