From the core of 35 physician members, the Jefferson Parish Medical Society now has over 300 members - men and women of every race, ethnic group, and creed devoted to our profession. Our membership is composed of physicians in every specialty and working in every practice setting from solo practice to large institutions.
The organization exists to assist in the advancement of medical science; to improve the delivery of medical care in Jefferson Parish; to provide timely health education and information to the people and physicians of Jefferson Parish; to render medical services to the people of Jefferson Parish in times of disaster; to further medical education; and to work with and support other medical societies of the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana State Medical Society, and the American Medical Association.
JPMS can help you find a doctor and provides information on our doctors, educational meetings, and newsletters. An important function of the organization is acting as liaison with other professional medical associations such as the American Medical Association (AMA) and Louisiana State Medical Society to provide government/industry leaders with impartial information relevant to Louisiana physician/patient issues.
Some issues this group has tackled are: JPMS endorsed water fluoridation and the K.O. polio immunization drive that resulted in 90% of children and adults being vaccinated in the early 1960s. The excess funds from that drive were used to underwrite D-T immunizations. In 1993, JPMS worked with the Parish Council to pass a smoking ordinance for Jefferson Parish. After Katrina, the JPMS helped members rebuild their practices so Jefferson Parish residents could have access to medical care.
The organization is a not-for-profit with a non-profit charitable subsidiary called the Jefferson Physician’s Foundation (JPF). Both organizations raised funds and contributed volunteer hours to Jefferson Parish Drug Free School programs, educational displays for the Louisiana Science and Nature Center, Second Harvest Food Bank and Teen Life Counts (a suicide prevention and awareness program).
In April 2009, Jefferson Parish Medical Society celebrated 50 years as the major advocate for Jefferson Parish physicians and their patients.
The founding members of Jefferson Parish Medical Society assembled for their first meeting at Whiteside’s Restaurant in Gretna on April16, 1959. We celebrate and remember the 35 Charter Members who banded together to form Jefferson Parish Medical Society providing the patients and physicians of Jefferson Parish their own voice in the medical affairs of Louisiana. We recognize our Past Presidents who have led us through the decades of growth and change.
In those early years there was much to unit physicians. While organized medicine was vigorously opposing the “King-Anderson Bill”, the bill that created Medicare, JPMS was busy at home endorsing fluoridation of drinking water and leading the K.O. polio immunization drive that resulted in the vaccinating 90% of children and adults. The excess funds from that drive were used to underwrite D-T immunization.
A Medico-Legal Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Dr. Jack Winter and an interprofessional code between physicians and lawyers was developed. JPMS member and past president Dr. Herb Marks has chaired the Louisiana State Medical Society’s Medico-Legal Committee since 1990, as this activity remains an important focus.
Progress Notes, our quarterly newsletter, the brainchild of Dr. Ruth Shushan and Dr. Henry Threefoot, was first published in 1966. Dr. Shushan served as the editor for 30 years, until relinquishing duties to Dr. Bart Farris in 1997.
The JPMS physician leadership advocated for physician representation on the Board of West Jefferson Medical Center and the autonomy of that Board. West Jefferson Medical Center began seeing patients in 1960. Lakeside Hospital opened in December 1964. Ochsner Foundation Hospital has had a presence in Jefferson Parish since 1946 and has occupied its current location on Jefferson Highway since 1954. Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner and Ochsner Medical Center – West Bank offer added services to Jefferson Parish patients.
The population of Jefferson Parish was growing and JPMS took out an advertisement in support of a 250-beds hospital in East Jefferson in 1971. We petitioned the Parish Council asking that 2 physicians be added to the Board of this new parish owned hospital. Dr. Ruth Shushan was hired as the first Executive when Dr. Andy Leonard served as President in 1977. JPMS moved two cardboard boxes of archives to a desk in Dr. Leonard’s Metairie office. We worked with our colleagues statewide to pass Act 817 in 1975 that established the Patients Compensation Fund and the cap on medical malpractice claims.
Dr. A. G. Kleinschmidt served as President in 1970 and was the first JPMS member to be installed LSMS President in 1976. Since then, JPMS members Dr. Robert Miller, Dr. Andy Leonard, Dr. Howard Nelson and Dr. Bart Farris have all served as LSMS Presidents.
A scholarship fund was established in 1978 to assist Jefferson Parish Medical Students with the financial demands of medical school.
Dr. Frank DiVincenti was install as president as JPMS embarked on the decade of the 1980s. Membership meetings were still held monthly, except during the summer, with locations rotated between east bank and west bank restaurants. He fondly remembers two special guest speakers, the late Buddy Diliberto and Sheriff Harry Lee.
By the time JPMS was celebrating its Sliver Anniversary in April of 1984 and Dr. John Finn was installed as President, the organization was preparing to move into its first official domicile, an 825 square foot office condominium at 4937 Hearst Street in Metairie. Thanks to Dr. Tim Irwin and his wife Martha, we computerized our member database of 250 plus members.
Beginning with a monthly15 minute spot on Cox Cable in 1981, JPMS and the JPMS Alliance expanded our presence on cable TV to a 30-minute call in show. Alliance members were the producers and directors. The first non-physician Executive Director, Charlene Baudier, was hired in 1989. Dr. Bill Coleman, JPMS President in 1991, was on the Executive Committee at the time. Looking back, he is very pleased with the success JPMS has experienced as a result.
Community relations dominated the 1990s with support of Jefferson Parish Public Schools in their Drug Free Schools initiative. Gold and softball fundraisers to benefit Teen Life Counts and Second Harvesters Food Bank were expertly coordinated by Dr. Paul Fuselier as he moved through the JPMS leadership. Dr. Bennie Nobles, president in 1997, reflects with pride on the spirit of cooperation as past leaders and current leaders worked as a team with the medical society staff to serve the JPMS membership and ultimately our patients.
Onward to the Twenty-First Century:
Dr. Robert Brousse was completing his term as president in 2005 just as Hurricane Katrina destroyed our community. By October, the Board of Directors were meeting regularly in his Metairie office with a new purpose of working to support our returning membership in rebuilding medical practices to meet the medical needs of patients in our metropolitan area. Dr. Dolleen Licciardi was installed as president with little fanfare in 2006. Apparent to her, out of tragedy, the physicians of JPMS emerged as “Medicine’s Everyday Heroes” so instrumental in the recovery process. From this devastation to the healthcare community has come the opportunity for change. JPMS is vigorously engaged in the evolving process to replace a flawed delivery system with one that provides patients expanded choice and access.
The brainchild of Dr. Dan Gallagher, president in 2004, the Jefferson Physicians Foundation was incorporated in 2006. Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Fierro, JPMS president in 2007, serves as the foundation president.
Jefferson Parish Medical Society remains an organization engaged in activities that will improve the conditions for the practice of medicine in our community. The vision of the charter members lives on through JPMS members committed to advocating for the well-being of patients, the health of our community, and the profession of medicine.