Our story began with Dr. David Long. Originally from New York, he moved to Cleveland in 1810, becoming the area’s first physician. He served as a surgeon in the War of 1812. In 1824, Dr. Long founded and became and the first president of the 19th Medical District, later called the Academy of Cleveland & Northern Ohio (AMCNO).

Throughout our almost 200-year history, we have seen our physicians bravely serve the Cleveland community. Three of our former presidents and eventual founders of the Cleveland Clinic, Drs. George Crile, William Lower and Frank Bunts, served in frontline hospitals in Europe in World War I. Our doctors also provided medical care on the day of the historic Cleveland Clinic fire where 123 people lost their lives, including another past president of the AMCNO and the fourth founder of the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. John Phillips, who lost his life while helping patients escape from the fire.

Thousands of our physicians again answered the call to serve on the frontlines of World War II. In 1944, our physicians were the first to respond to the tragic East Ohio Gas Company explosion when homes and businesses were engulfed by a tidal wave of fire in more than 1 square mile of Cleveland's east side.

Our physicians were critical parts of addressing dangerous pandemics as well as orchestrating significant immunization campaigns against polio in the 1950s and 60s and rubella in the 1970s. Decades later in March 2020 as COVID-19 first showed up in Cleveland, our physicians again showed up for our community members by treating patients, educating the public and advocating for COVID-19 vaccination.

The AMCNO also has a long history of making historical firsts in the fields of medicine and public health. Dr. George Crile, one of our earliest presidents, performed the first successful blood transfusion in humans in 1906 at St. Alexis Hospital.

We were also the first physicians in Ohio to report infant mortality statistics. We worked with the American Red Cross to establish the first area blood bank, and we established the first Poison Control Line in Cleveland—one of the world’s first Poison Control Lines ever.

In 1953, we ran one of the first health informational television programs in the country called “Prescription for Living,” which aired every Sunday in Cleveland. Nearly 70 years later, we now update the public through the Northern Ohio Physician, an electronic health news journal which has been consistently published since 1903, and through our social media pages.

In 1983, the AMCNO enlisted more than 1,400 volunteer physicians to care for the recently unemployed and their families, providing no-cost care to 2,574 people for services ranging from acute illness treatment to open-heart surgery.

Most notably, during the polio epidemic, the AMCNO vaccinated 1.5 million Cuyahoga County residents, including 325,000 school children which was the best vaccination completion rate in the United States. Today, our physicians fight rampant misinformation on vaccinations for COVID-19 by testifying to legislators on the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. AMCNO volunteers also vaccinated first responders at drive-through clinics in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. This work exemplifies our continued dedication to the health of the Northern Ohio community.

From witnessing the digging of the Erie Canal and traveling on horseback to now posting health information videos on TikTok and delivering patient care digitally, we have been present for an incredible span of history. We welcome your involvement in helping us celebrate this history in 2024.