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History of the Illinois Society of Medical Assistant (ISMA)


Discussion started in 1951 with the Adams County Medical Secretaries and Assistants of Quincy, Illinois with the encouragement of their physician employers. But it wasn’t until 1955 when a group met after attending a Professional Management Course that it was decided to met regularly to exchange ideas and discuss the possibility of establishing a State and National organization of medical assistants.  

During a meeting held in Springfield, Illinois in 1955 it was learned that a national meeting was scheduled fro October 1956 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Many Illinois medical assistants attended this meeting and from it representation, Illinois became a charter society of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).  

At the inception of the AAMA, the physician employers were very evolved with their own medical societies and encouraged the formation of the AAMA; therefore the AAMA established a prerequisite that approval from a county or state medical society was necessary to form a local or state medical assistant chapter.  

In 1956, the first chapter society was formed – Chicago Medical Assistants Association.  Note:  This chapter formed prior to the formation of the state society.  

In 1958, the Illinois Society Medical Society formally approved the establishment of the “Illinois State Medical Secretaries and Assistants Association”. A short time later, the name was changed to the Illinois State Association, in which the Annual dues were $15.00 which included State and National dues, plus $2.00 for chapter dues.  

Over the last 50 years there have been many changes for the ISMA and the AAMA, but the one constant remains the same.  The organization was designed to help dedicated professionals reach higher goals both professionally and personally though commitment, care and the credentialing standards.

As the organization continues to meet the educational and professional challenges before us, the ISMA, with the AAMA, and your local chapters ask you to join us to help bring recognition to the Certified Medical Assistant as vital member of the health care team.


A few things you may not have known about the ISMA.

  • The yearly convention used to be a week long and several of the evening events required the attendees to dress in ball gowns.
  • At the beginning of the ISMA, most physicians not only were in favor of the organization but were active as advisors and paid their employees to attend the events.
  • At one time had 20+ local chapters.
  • Had an ISMA pin patch go into orbit on the space shuttle Atlantis in 2002, carried by Astronaut Sandra Hall Magnus, daughter of Rose Hall, BS, RN, CMA-C SIRMA chapter member.


So get involved and be apart history with the ISMA!!



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