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The History of NYAAS

     In response to the growing demand for allergy treatment, many hospitals in New York City opened their own allergy clinics and The Association of Allergy Clinics of Greater New York was formed in the winter of 1937.  The Association was very selective, only accepting member from clinics whose facilities, personnel and procedures fulfilled the requirements established by the Society for the Study of Asthma and Allied Diseases and the Association for the Study of Allergy.  The original, thirteen founding member clinics included Roosevelt Hospital, Post-Graduate Hospital, French Hospital, Saint Luke’s Hospital, Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, New York Hospital, Gouverneur Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital, Lebanon, Sydenham Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, Midtown Hospital and The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

     The inaugural meeting of the Association of Allergy Clinics of Greater New York took place on November 10, 1938 at the New York University School of Medicine, with a round table discussion of “Hay Fever – Its Diagnosis and Treatment”.  Among the founding members in attendance were Chairman Robert A. Cooke, M.D.(The New York Hospital), Aaron, Brown, M.D. (Bellevue Hospital), Samuel Bell, M.D. (Bellevue Hospital), Horace Baldwin, M.D. (The New York Hospital), James Barnard, M.D. (The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary), Arthur F. Anderson (Nursery and Child’s Hospital), Horace S. Baldwin (The New York Hospital), Joseph Harkavy (The Mount Sinai Hospital), Maximillian A. Ramirez (French Hospital), W.S. Thomas, Robert Chobot M.D., and Maximin D. Touart, M.D.  (all of Columbia-Presbyterian). 
The first formal meeting of The New York Allergy Society was held on November 15, 1947, at the New York Academy of Medicine under the presidency of Dr. Joseph Harkavy.  The major aims of the parent association of The New York Allergy Society were four-fold:

  • To improve and unify the clinical procedures used in local allergy clinics.
  • To bring about greater uniformity in the terminology and techniques of clinical allergy. The preparation of a standardized history form for hay fever and asthma was a primary objective.
  • To disseminate knowledge in the field of allergy among all interested physicians.
  • To create a national movement and to get all the clinics in the country working along similar lines.
     The Society has always been active in disseminating knowledge of allergy in fulfillment of its charter.  In 1955, a series of articles entitled, “The Fundamentals of Modern Allergy” written by members of the Society, began to appear in The New York State Journal of Medicine.  In 1956, the Society participated in the semi-centennial exercises in “Honor of the Founding of the Science of Allergy,” on which occasion Dr. Bela Schick was signally honored for his outstanding contributions to the field of allergy. In 1958, the Society honored Dr. Robert A. Cooke on the occasional of the 40th anniversary of the opening of the first allergy clinic in America.  In 1967, Dr. Aaron Spielman inaugurated a one day course in basic allergy intended for house officers, fellows and non-allergists.  This teaching day has evolved into an annual day-long post-graduate course on scientific advances in allergy and immunology presented by an invited faculty of nationally prominent investigators and practitioners to an audience of to allergy clinicians and clinical immunologists.  Following its first scientific program, the Society devoted many subsequent meetings to the presentation of subjects in the forefront of progress in allergy and clinical immunology. In addition, the Society has devoted much time toward improving the care and treatment of allergic patients, as well as addressing the social and economic aspects of that care through its special committees.

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