On December 1, 1892, Dr. Miles V. Lynk (1851-1957) founded the first national medical journal for black physicians. “The Medical and Surgical Observer” focused its content on medical issues that were common in the black community. It sought to offer the most current information on treatments and professional ethics. Along with sharing medical practice information, Lynk also used the journal to advocate for the formation of a national black medical organization. The journal connected black medical practitioners across the country who were often isolated from one another. It also served as a much needed forum for black medical professionals who were often unwelcomed in the circles of white medical professionals. 17 editions of The Medical and Surgical Observer were published. Though Lynk received much encouragement, he found it difficult to build the number of paid subscriptions necessary to cover the cost of producing the journal. Distribution of the journal ended in 1894. It was identified by the Surgeon General’s Office in Washington D.C. as the “only negro medical journal in America” at the time.
Lynk continued his efforts to develop a national organization for the growing black medical community after publication of medical journal ended. On November 18, 1895, Lynk and 11 other black physicians founded The National Association of Colored Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists. The organization quickly grew to become an integral part of black medical community. It eventually changed its name to The National Medical Association. Dr. Lynk passed away at the age of 86 on Dec. 29, 1957. The National Medical Association, began with 12 physicians, and now has more than 20,000 black medical professionals.