Historically, the IHMA was first organized in Peoria on December 6, 1855 and was first incorporated on October 24, 1881. It was at the second meeting of the association, in Springfield on January 12, 1857 when Dr. David Sheppard Smith, was elected it’s president. The association at that time had 41 members but by 1904 membership increased to 475.
Dr. David Sheppard Smith was a traditionally trained physician who learned of homeopathy while visiting his native state of New Jersey. He became convinced that homeopathic prescribing offered a far superior method of treatment for disease than any he had been previously taught. In 1843, he brought this method to Chicago and became Illinois’ first homeopathic physician.
With legal assistance from Mr. Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Smith worked diligently and successfully securing state legislature to establish the Hahnemann Medical College (1855-1922). This was Illinois’ first homeopathic medical school.
By the 1950s and 1960s, the IHMA ceased to exist as a viable association due to the fact that all its members were either retired or had died. Since the resurgence of homeopathy in this country began in the mid 1970’s the number of homeopathic physicians in Illinois began to steadily increase. In the early 1990’s a group of these homeopathic physicians met and decided to reestablish the IHMA under the same name. Reincorporation took place in 1992 and this not-for-profit corporation under section 501(c) 6 of the Internal Revenue code has been a thriving organization since that time.
The IHMA has held annual meetings since 1992. It has sponsored numerous educational conferences which have allowed some of the world’s leading homeopathic practitioners to share their expertise with us.
ILLINOIS HOMEOPATHIC ORGANIZATIONS OF THE PAST
The Illinois homeopaths formed up to 24 separately named and founded organizations in various parts of the state, all dedicated to the science of practicing and promoting homeopathy. Noteworthy among these state homeopathic medical societies were two:
The first was the Women’s Homeopathic Medical Society of Chicago, organized on April 17, 1879. This was the first medical society of its kind in the country as it was formed and governed exclusively by women.
The second was the Chicago Academy of Homeopathic Physicians and Surgeons, founded in 1873. This organization lobbied successfully in 1881 to have part of Cook County Hospital set aside for the medical and surgical treatment of patients by homeopathic practitioners. This homeopathic department of Cook County Hospital was opened on January 1, 1882 and was staffed from the various homeopathic medical colleges in Chicago. It continued to be a viable part of Cook County Hospital at least until 1904 when there were 150 patient beds in the homeopathic department.
Even though homeopathy spread westward after it was first introduction to America in New York by Han Burch Gram in 1825, Illinois has always played a pivotal role in the history of homeopathy in the United States. In fact one historian wrote, “Chicago medical colleges have educated and sent out into the professional world more homeopathic physicians than any other city in America.”