John Morgan in the land of doges


The origin of Modern Medicine in the US has its roots in Padua.

On July 24, 1764 John Morgan, a young doctor from Philadelphia just graduated in Edinburg, met Giovanni Battista Morgagni in Padua. The visit to the old Morgagni (“still alert”) inspired the young Morgan. It was quite touching for me to find in the College of Physicians’ library in Philadelphia the original De Sedibus, which Morgagni donated to Morgan.

He spent the following ten days in Venice, “a city rising out of the waves of the sea”, fascinated by the palaces reflected in the Grand Canal, St. Mark’s Square, the glasses in Murano and the Arsenal. Finally, on August 7th 1764, he moved to Vicenza seeing the Theatrum Olympicorum and the Palladio Palaces.

Back to Philadelphia in 1765, he founded the first School of Medicine and the first College of Medicine in the English colonies. He established the need to attend a regular school before practising Medicine, thus delineating three distinct professional profiles: physic, surgeon and apothecary.

The same year he published “A Discourse upon the Institution of Medical Schools in America”, where he set the principles of Medicine as “The Guardian of life and health, against death and disease”, with a rigorous curriculum studiorum.

Since then a terrific development of Medicine occurred in terms of discoveries and inventions, according to the triad “Patient care, teaching and research”. Nowadays the US rank worldwide first in Medicine.

Research material: