The mission of the WCMS is to promote the science and art of medicine, the care and well-being of our patients, the protection of the public health, and the betterment of the medical profession; to cooperate with organizations of like purposes; and to unite with similar societies in the State of Pennsylvania as component societies of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and in conjunction with the American Medical Association.
A western land mass, now known as Westmoreland County, was established in 1773. The first physician of record was Dr. Joseph Postelwhaite who came West with General Washington in 1794 to put down the Whiskey Insurrection. He settled in Greensburg.
Some of the early physicians were brought “west” by the various coal and coke companies. They served the residents of the “patches” or villages that grew out of this industry. Others were attracted by the early hospitals in the county.
In the early 1800’s, there were several attempts to organize the physicians of Westmoreland County without success. On November 15, 1859, a group met and formed the Westmoreland County Medical Society. The preamble of the constitution of this early organization stated that it was for the study of all scientific pursuits, including medicine.
As the hospitals in the county increased in numbers, so did the number of physicians who were specialists. The need to send patients out of our county for treatment was decreasing.
The spouses of our early physicians established and organized the Westmoreland County Medical Society Auxiliary on May 12, 1925. Their objectives were to further the interest of the WCMS, to promote good fellowship among physicians’ families, and to actively support the Medical Benevolence Fund of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania and any other projects approved by the WCMS.
The Board of the Westmoreland County Medical Society hired its first paid part-time Executive Director on May 6, 1980. Dr. Richard S. Cole, M.D., F.A.C.S., continued in that position until his death on November 29, 1997. The current Executive Director is Joanne Bergquist, who succeeded Dr. Richard Cole.
Today, the medical landscape continues to change with issues that could not be foreseen at the turn of the century. Hospital mergers, law suits, and scope of practice issues drive the profession of medicine today in the courtrooms and state capitals throughout our country.
More information can be obtained by calling our executive director.