The House of Delegates (HOD) is the legislative and policy-making body of the LSMS and is composed of elected and special delegates and others as provided in the LSMS Bylaws
. The HOD transacts all business of the Society not otherwise specifically provided for in the LSMS Charter and Bylaws, elects general officers (in accordance with the Bylaws), adopts an annual budget, and establishes the official policies of the Society. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
View the Actions of the 2015 House of Delegates (must be logged in to view)
Future Dates of the House of Delegates
- January 23, 2016, Shreveport Hilton & Convention Center
From 1878 to 1903, the Louisiana State Medical Society did not have a House of Delegates. Governance rested with individual parish societies electing one representative from each of the six Congressional Districts and four to five elected state offices including President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and Orator. Any member of the Society could attend the annual meeting and vote. The primary purpose of the meetings focused on the presentation of the latest medical and scientific essays, as well as Society committee reports. Society officers were elected, as were representatives to the AMA. Over time, as membership in the Society grew, it became clear there was a need to codify a means of debating issues of the day and come to a consensus in order to establish official Society policy. The need for political organization was particularly important in developing legislation affecting the practice of medicine, specifically passage of the first Louisiana Medical Practice Act in 1894.
During the 1901 annual meeting, a Committee on the Proper Reorganization of the Society was established to consider restructuring representation in order to assure all areas of the state were equally represented in a decision-making body. The committee reported to the 1902 meeting and recommended a plan recently proposed by the AMA for state medical organizations which followed their own model. In this plan, "… the work of the Society shall be divided into scientific proceedings and legislative business … The House of Delegates shall be…the fiscal and legislative body of the Society…The House of Delegates shall consist of delegate members and the officers of the Society..."
There would be one delegate for each local society plus the officers of the state Society. The report met with considerable resistance and action on it was deferred until the 1903 meeting. By adopting the committee report in 1903, the LSMS officially established a House of Delegates.
By good fortune, the American Medical Association held its annual meeting in New Orleans one week following the 1903 LSMS meeting. The AMA architects of the plan for state medical associations were in attendance and assisted the LSMS in drafting a new constitution and bylaws reflecting the reorganization of the Society. In 1904, the LSMS celebrated its 25th annual meeting, and six officers, six Congressional District representatives, and 40 parish representatives constituted the first House of Delegates. General attendance at the annual meeting itself grew from a low of 20 in the 1890s to more than 300 in 1905.
Between 1909 and 1912 codified rules for the operation of the House of Delegates were adopted and refined as the new Constitution and Bylaws were amended. The House of Delegates would consist of delegates elected by both component Parish and District societies, the representatives of the Congressional Districts to be known as Councilors, and the President and Secretary of the Society as ex-officio members. A Chairman of the House of Delegates and a separate Secretary of the House of Delegates would also be elected and were added to the list of Society Officers.
The first House of Delegates under the newly amended Constitution and adopted rules convened on May 4, 1909 and consisted of 38 members in attendance. During this meeting, officers of the Society were first elected by the House of Delegates in a written ballot. From 1912 forward, the membership of the House of Delegates continued to grow coinciding with the population growth in the state, membership in component societies, and formation of new Congressional districts. Over the years, the primary focus of the annual meetings shifted to the consideration of business by the House of Delegates and away from the presentation of scientific papers. The issues facing the practice of medicine and the laws regulating the practice have become more and more complex. And the agenda of the House of Delegates has expanded accordingly.