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On September 3, 1895, 

in a second floor office at 217 Franklin Street, over the Bay Pharmacy, the Hillsborough County Medical Society (HCMS) was founded. Dr. B. G. Abernathy served as the HCMS’s first President, alongside Dr. L. W. Weeden, Vice President, Dr. L. S. Oppenheimer, Secretary & Treasurer, and Dr. U. S. Bird serving as Corresponding Secretary.

Physicians have been working hard since 1895 to practice medicine in our community at the highest standards. This was accomplished by elevating the criteria for what determined the quality of patient care. Our medical forefathers persisted for those ideals: continue to fight as the patients’ advocate, accept nothing less than the highest standard of care, and continue to promote the practice of medicine and professionalism.

The HCMA’s current mission statement,

Advocating for Physicians and the Health of the Communities We Serve,

was a vital objective in 1895 and remains our vision today.

quick facts

1902 - Membership dues: $2.00. 49 members.

1914 - At the August 18th meeting of the HCMS, Dr. Fred Strong gave an interesting talk concerning a new blood parasite associated with hemorrhagic fever, the Haemazoon Vermicularis.

1933 - At the April 24th meeting of the HCMS, Dr. Henry Hanson, State Health Officer, gave a brief presentation on the prevalence of Leprosy in Florida.

1941 - Life magazine photographs Lieutenant Colonel Frank Adamo, MD, of Tampa tending the wounded. Because of his heroics and his time as a prisoner of war, April 27, 1945 was proclaimed Frank S. Adamo Day by then Mayor Hixon. Dr. Adamo became HCMA President in 1955.

1948 - The HCMA incorporated and became the Hillsborough County Medical Association (HCMA), identifying closer with the Florida Medical Association and the American Medical Association. The HCMA fostered solidarity and loyalty.

The HCMA Auxiliary (later called the HCMA Alliance) was also formed. The Auxiliary was comprised of the wives of the physician members. Now, the Alliance welcomes the spouses, significant others, parents, and children of HCMA members along with medical students, interns, and residents.

1952 - The HCMA accepted its first two African American members, Dr. R. Reche Williams Sr., and Dr. E.O. Archie.

1967-1981 - HCMA member, Richard Hodes, MD, served as a state representative, serving as House Majority Leader in 1980. Dr. Hodes also served as FMA President in 1967 and HCMA President in 1977.

1971The University of South Florida (USF) College of Medicine enrolled its charter class. In 2011 it was renamed the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Drs. Richard Connar (HCMA President 1970), Frank Coleman (HCMA President 1979), James Ingram (HCMA President 1969), and Thomas McKell (HCMA President 1976) were instrumental in the efforts to create and develop the medical school. The HCMA implemented a valuable partnership with USF, its faculty, in-training physicians, and medical students during the following decade.   

1977 - The HCMA Administrative office moved from downtown Tampa to a location on South Boulevard, in Hyde Park. The building was purchased and remained HCMA’s home for 44 years.

1990 - The HCMA Foundation, under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, was formed. In 1997, the HCMA Foundation received its own charitable 501c3 status and continues to provide grants to non-profit organizations for programs designed to promote awareness and support of health and health-related issues in our community.

1991 - Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla began accepting African-American men as members – the first local krewe to do so. Frederick A. Reddy, MD, was one of two African-American men admitted; in 1992, they marched in the parade. In 1994, Dr. Reddy served as HCMA President.

1992 - The HCMA campaign for expert witnesses to be held accountable, via licensing in Florida, began. Dr. Dennis Agliano (1995 HCMA President) was the driving force behind this effort and accomplished the daunting task, along with the HCMA Expert Witness Committee, after many years of not giving up the fight. During the early-mid 1990s, Dr. Agliano traveled the US to educate medical associations and licensing boards on the need for the “Expert Witness Program.” Finally, in 2011, a change to Section 766.102, Florida Statutes, requires experts to either be licensed in Florida or obtain an expert witness certification from the Florida Department of Health. Since that time, expert witnesses in Florida are as liable as practicing physicians regarding their testimony concerning the standard of care. 

2001 - The HCMA’s first female president was elected: Madelyn E. Butler, MD.  Dr. Butler went on to serve as the President of the Florida Medical Association in 2010.  In 2021 she was elected as trustee on the board of the American Medical Association.

2002 HCMA member, Ed Homan, MD, successfully ran for House District Seat #60.  He was victorious in three subsequent elections, serving his constituents and representing medicine, for eight years.  Dr. Homan served as HCMA President in 1999.

2003 - HCMA’s “Day of Awareness” rally was held February 13th on a nine-acre piece of land located on Habana Avenue in Tampa.  Over 1,000 physicians and supporters of tort reform, from Hillsborough and surrounding counties, gathered to rally. The FMA President and AMA Secretary/Treasurer were also in attendance.

2004 - Due to Hurricane Charley, the FMA Annual Meeting which was being held in Orlando where HCMA member, Dennis Agliano, MD, was to be installed as FMA President was cancelled. He was officially installed in his hometown, Tampa, shortly thereafter. Dr. Agliano served as HCMA President in 1995, the 100-year anniversary of the HCMA.

2018 - The HCMA begins the development of a Physician Wellness Program to help enhance the lives of its valued members.  The mission of the program is to provide resources including confidential and complimentary access to professional psychological services, to help members address life difficulties as they struggle to find balance between the intense demands of their work and personal lives.  After much effort and revamping, the Program was initiated in April 2020.

2020 - In January 2020, the CDC confirmed the first case of COVID-19. In March, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. On April 30th, Operation Warp Speed was launched, and a vaccine became available by year's end.  Doctors formed an essential part of an effective response to the pandemic. It took a significant toll on the profession of medicine, especially those working on the front lines. During this challenging time, the HCMA remained relevant by providing many resources to members and supporting their efforts. 

2021 The HCMA and Moffitt Cancer Center formed an alliance which included Associate memberships for all faculty physicians.  A bylaws change was also approved allowing physicians in surrounding counties to join the HCMA as Affiliate members without being a member of their own county society.  The expansion of the Affiliate membership category is a step closer to the inevitable movement that counties will join together to create regional medical districts. 

After 44 years the HCMA building was sold, and the administrative office was relocated to the bottom floor of a much newer building in South Tampa.  This decision gave the HCMA long term financial stability, allowing the Association to face future challenges from a position of strength.  A membership increase of 400 was achieved by year end. 

Membership dues: $385.00.  2,722 members.

The HCMA’s Executive Director and Executive Assistant have a combined 70 years of experience at the HCMA. Debbie Zorian and Elke Lubin have witnessed many changes in the profession of medicine and are proud of their long-time dedication to the HCMA, its members, and organized medicine.