History of the Georgia Society of Plastic Surgeons
The Georgia Society of Plastic Surgeons was founded in 1971. At that time, there were 20 plastic surgeons practicing in the state of Georgia, most of whom were practicing in the greater Atlanta area. Many were friends, but practiced in different hospitals, and rarely saw each other professionally. There were a few partnerships, but most practiced as individuals. The plastic surgery community enlarged and became more complex with the development of the Emory program in 1971. Discussions developed among several Atlanta plastic surgeons to develop an organization that would provide a common ground for the exchange of scientific ideas and the discussion of socioeconomic problems.
The Society was developed by Dr. John Hartley and by Dr. Billy Huger. The basis for the organization was derived from the experience of Dr. Hartley during his training under Drs. Tom Cronin and Ray Brauer in Houston, Texas. It was the custom of the Houston plastic surgeons to meet once a month. The meeting began with a social hour followed by case presentations by the residents and discussion of various complications, as well as problems at area hospitals. This meeting was very popular with all of the Houston plastic surgeons. It also served as an attendance requirement for various hospital staffs. Drs. Hartley and Huger met on several occasions to discuss the organization of the Society. They determined that the Society would meet once a month, have scientific presentations by various members with discussion of these cases as well as other socioeconomic issues. The constitution and by-laws were originally drawn up by Dr. Huger. They were based on documents from the Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and from the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.
Notification of the formation of the Society was mailed out to all plastic surgeons practicing in the state of Georgia at that time. A founding meeting was called inviting all to join; however, there is no record of the date or place of the original meeting. Dr. William G. Hamm, the first practicing plastic surgeon in the southeast, was asked to be the first President. The first Vice President was Dr. William E. Schatten, and the Secretary was William E Huger. It was the custom of the Society to meet once a month in a local restaurant beginning with a social hour, followed by dinner and a scientific program.
A certificate of membership was designed. A contest to determine the logo was won by Dr. Lovic Hobby. The current certificate bears this original logo as designed by Dr. Hobby. More recently, a medallion to be worn by the President and transferred to each successive President was designed by Dr. John Hartley.
The Georgia Society of Plastic Surgeons was one of the earliest state societies established. Many states have followed our pattern. The national leadership in plastic surgery recognized the early innovative steps taken by the Georgia Society in dealing with various issues encouraging them to pursue similar interests on a national level.
The Society has made a number of changes since it's inception, and has grown along with the growth of Georgia and Atlanta. We have seen many of our members advance to local and national leadership positions in plastic surgery as well as other medical and civil areas. Throughout its existence, the Society has served many worthwhile purposes. It has provided that common ground for plastic surgeons across the state to meet and better know each other. The exchange of information among colleagues, friendly competitors, young and old, experienced and inexperienced has led to a higher level of the practice of plastic surgery across the state.