Auxiliary to the Medico-Chirurgical Society of the District of Columbia, Incorporated
Who WE Are, What We’ve Done, and What We’ll Do
In 1936, Mrs. Nellie P. Stevens and Mrs. Minnie L. Johnson of Washington, DC attended the first meeting of the newly organized Women’s Auxiliary to the National Medical Association, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Full of enthusiasm, Madames Stevens and Johnson summoned the wives of Black physicians and dentists, along with women pharmacists in the DC area to a meeting at Garnet Patterson school to initiate plans for a local auxiliary to be affiliated with the national group. This group of women met several times at local DC schools in pursuit of a local auxiliary.
Upon becoming formally organized in 1937, the group decided to restrict its membership only to the wives of physicians residing in the Washington, DC area. They also decided that the group should be an auxiliary to the already formed Medico-Chirurgical Society of Washington, DC; so, they appropriately named themselves the Women’s Auxiliary to the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Washington, DC (WAMCS of D.C.). The charter members of the WAMCS of DC are Erma Cornish, Elizabeth Jason, Georgia Johnson, Minnie Johnson, Eunice Mathews, Kern Payne, Nellie Stevens, and Mabel Whitby.
The first president of the organization was Minnie L. Johnson. The other founder, Nellie P. Stevens, never wanted to hold the office of president, but her untiring spirit and incessant work led the Auxiliary to establish a transportation fund in her name.
The initial purposes of WAMCS of DC were service, education, and charity. Their major projects included fundraisers for scholarships for medical school students, the library for patients at Freedmen’s Hospital, and the Nellie P. Stevens Fund initiated in 1941, which provided needy area children with ‘carfare’ to and from Freedmen’s Hospital. This transportation fund was in existence for over 40 years.
Photo: Installation of AMCS Officers. From left to right: Myrna Carter-Taylor, Dr. Beverly Anderson (Ph.d), Myrna Chapman, Laura Tompkins, Christine Williams, Lady Marie Hammonds, Dr. Melvin Williams
Nearly thirty years after the establishment of the WAMCS of DC, Mrs. Alice Davis during her presidency in 1962, provided the leadership for the incorporation of the Auxiliary as a 501 c(3) organization. During the next decade, in recognition of the increased number of black women physicians, the name of the Auxiliary was changed to the Auxiliary to the Medico-Chirurgical Society, Inc. (AMCS of DC) and husbands of women physicians were invited to join.
Today, AMCS of DC remains a non-profit corporation consisting of spouses of members of the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Washington, DC, Inc. The purposes of AMCS of DC, Inc. are to: 1) educate the public on health matters and issues affecting the African-American community; 2) aid in the relief of issues related to health matters in the African-American community, 3) assist the Medico-Chirurgical Society of DC, and 4) provide financial support to medical school students and students in nursing and allied health.
A local affiliate of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association (ANMA), Inc. with as many as fifty other local affiliates, AMCS of DC works closely with ANMA and thus, plans and implements annual programs and activities consistent with the national thrust to improve the health of African Americans. The Auxiliary has also enjoyed a successful working relationship with the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Washington, DC, Inc. (the local affiliate of the National Medical Association). Together, several programs and activities have been planned and executed over the years to improve the health of African Americans.
In addition to awarding more than $170,000.00 in scholarships to worthy medical school students at the Howard University College of Medicine, the Auxiliary has also planned and implemented noteworthy programs and activities (many funded by the public and private sectors) to carry out its mission. These activities include:
- Received funding from CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield for the Men’s Health Program designed to address prostate health and HIV for African-American Males;
- Received funding from the Office of Minority Health, the National Center/Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Health Services and Resources Administration, and other federal agencies to provide the National African-American Youth Initiative Scholars Program (NAAYI) – an eleven-day residential program for high school students designed to increase the pool of African Americans in health related careers;
- Received funding from the Office of Minority Health, Hi-Tech, and PSA for community outreach activities on Opioid addiction and HIV/AIDs infection;
- Received funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the Office of Minority Health for the Healthy Children’s Program, held in partnership with the Washington DC Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Early Childhood Development (MACECD) to provide health education for parents, and screenings and immunizations to children;
- Received funding from AstraZeneca, American Association of Retired Professionals (AARP), and Pfizer for the Medicare Part D Program, held in partnership with Howard University Hospital and the Delta Housing Corporation, designed to reach out to, inform, and facilitate the enrollment of African Americans in Medicare Part D;
- Received funding from Pfizer Foundation for the Women’s Health Program focusing on Triple Negative Breast Cancer;
- Received funding from Chartered Health and CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield for the AMCS of DC Leadership Luncheon to expand the programmatic capacity of AMCS;
- Received funding from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation for Seminars and regional workshops on drug use and abuse, teenage pregnancy, diet and nutrition, label readings, cancer, hypertension, obesity, and men’s health;
- Partnered with Howard University for “Mammo-Day”– a bi-monthly community-wide program that offers free clinical breast examinations and mammograms for uninsured, underinsured and underserved Washington DC area residents; also, individuals with screening abnormalities are offered patient navigation services;
- Sponsored and executed workshops on Bone Marrow Donations, Environmental Protection, and Emergency Preparedness;
- Sponsored and executed programs and activities for youth, including health advocacy (youth ambassadors), health education, and health screenings in area libraries and schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, hospitals, and businesses;
- Provided transportation for ‘special’ patients at Freedmen’s Hospital, Howard University Hospital, DC General Hospital, and Providence Hospital;
- Sponsored and hosted “Doctors’ Day” celebrations at the Howard University Hospital and the Howard University College of Medicine;
- Sponsored and executed several health education and screening programs for the homeless population in the DC area;
- Furnished a room at the Ionia Whipper Home for Unwed Mothers in Washington, DC;
- Co-sponsored and executed fundraising activities with the Friends of AMCS, Cafritz Foundation, and the Federal Management Corporation to provide scholarships for worthy medical school students at the Howard University College of Medicine, and
- Executed annual fundraising activities, including the Spring Dinner Dance, Bus trips to Atlantic City, and the current Summer Soiree to raise funds for medical school students.
Because of the quality of the Auxiliary programs over the years, AMCS of DC has received numerous awards, including the Rosemary Williams Service Award for Breast Cancer and “Auxiliary of the Year” by the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association, Incorporated. AMCS of DC has received this award more than sixteen times at its annual convention, selected from a pool of as many as fifty other local affiliates. Also, by the Year 2020, thirteen of its members served as national president of ANMA, and by 2020, the honor of Member of the Year has been awarded at least twenty times to a member of AMCS of DC. The Auxiliary has also received the “Community Service Award” by the District of Columbia Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Early Childhood Development (MACECD) and several citations by the District of Columbia Department of Health, the National Medical Association, and by local groups, including Central Union Mission for providing consumer health education activities to the community.
Updated August 2020