History: Medical Association of Thailand Under His Majesty the King ‘s Patronage
Inception of the Organization
The Medical Association of Thailand under the Royal Patronage symbolizes the collaboration and cooperation of every Physician to intertwine their contribution into ‘oneness’ in order to carry out the constructive activities that surveillance all physicians to practice under the ethical code.
“The Medical Association of Thailand under the Royal Patronage” has been function to promote and develop issues concerning medical studies, researches, including promoting moral and medical ethics among the member physicians. Moreover, this body also has a close collaboration with governmental sectors and medical organizations nationally and internationally. This is to scale up medical knowledge and practices of the members to international standard at present time and in the future.
The Medical Association of Siam was first initiated on the 25th October 1921 by being registered as an association. The temporary office of the organization at that time was located at the Administration Building of Chulalongkorn Hospital Bangkok Thailand. There were 10 senior physicians who had involved in the setting up of this association. Their names were as follows
1. Naval Colonel M.J.Thavornmongkonwong Chaiyata: Senior Naval Medical Officer, who became a Naval General later on
2. Colonel Phrayavibul-Ayuravej: Senior Army Medical Officer, Name before royal appointment was Sekh Thamsaroch
3. Colonel PhraSakda Pholrak: Director of Chulalongkorn Hospital Name before royal appointment was Chuen Phutiphat, later on was Army General and royal appointment was Phraya Damrong Phatta Phattayakhun
4. Ammart Tho Luang Ayurapatpises: Director of Siriraj Hospital, Named before royal appointment was Sai Khojaseni,
5. Ammart Thri Luang Upphantraphathpisan: Named before royal appointment was Kamchon Bhalangkool, later was Royalty appointed as Phra Upphantraphathpisan
6. Ammart Thri Luang Vaitayesarangkool: Named before royal appointment was Cheuch Israngkool Na Ayuthaya
7. Dr. M.E. Barns
8. Ammart Ek Phraya Vechsithpilas: Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University
9. Colonel M.J. Wallapakorn Worawan
10. Dr. Leopold Roberte
The working committee of the association had asked Field Marshall Prince Nakornsawan Worapinis, the Vice President and Director of the Siam Red Cross at that time for the name of the association. He gave the name of the association as “Medical Association of Siam”, which later on was changed to “Medical Association of Thailand” (MAT). The change was only on the spelling of the name to make the spelling up to date.
In 1930 Phrabath Somdej PhraPoramintaramahaprachathipok Phrapokklaochaoyuhoa, the 7th King graciously accepted this society under his royal patronage. The words “under Royal Patronage” have ever since added to the name of the association.
At the beginning of the establishment, Chulalongkorn Hospital granted the association to house its temporary office there. The first meeting of the association was held on the 9th January 1922 with 64 members attended the meeting. Field Marshall Prince Nakornsawan Worapinis, The Vice President and Director of the Siam Red Cross and Maha Ammarttho Prince Chainatnarenthorn, the Director General of Department of Public Health, had also graciously participated in the meeting. The temporary office of the association at Chulalongkorn Hospital was used until 4th August 1932 and the office was moved to locate on Bamrung Muang Road, next to the Kasatseuk Bridge, the land belonged to the Red Cross.
In 1923 the association started using their own emblem, which was developed by Prince Narisaranuwattiwong. The emblem bears the picture encompassed the naga or King of Snake snake and the trident, and scripted under the circle as “Medical Association of Siam” and was changed later on to “Medical Association of Thailand”. The tridentis a weapon used by God Isuan or Shiva in Hinduism.
One of the important issues of the work of the association was the launch of the medical journal, which has been used as a network to communicate with the current members including dissemination of knowledge and information as well as current medical research. At the beginning of the establishment of the association, there was no official journal produced by the society, however, the association purchased the Red Cross Bulletins, issued in the early period of the establishment of the association, to distribute to all its members. On the 17th August 1925 there was a transfer of administration of the journal from the Red Cross to the association, and the journal was renamed as “Medical Bulletin of the Medical Association of Siam”.
During 1926-1927 there had not been concrete activities provided by the Medical Association of Siam to sensitize the interest of the members. The existing journal did not gain much interest from the members. Moreover, only a few copies of the journal were sent out to the members (3 editions annually). The scientific meeting was also rarely held. All members who lived in different areas hardly met one another. Two leading persons; one was Dr. Luang Chalermcampeeravej and the other, Dr. Luang Chetthawaitayakarn had tried hard to take an initiative in developing the medical union club at Chulalongkorn University.
This club was legitimately registered on 15th March 1927 with the temporary office at Siriraj Hospital. This medical union club was functioning on scientific matters, but there was no concrete building to house activities of the members. In the mean time Department of Public Health, Ministry of Interior had built the Bangrak health center for the purpose of treating the venereal diseases. It was a 2-storey building adjacent to the Silom Road. Within the compound of this hospital building, there was a large wooden high-level house, where Dr. Hays had run his clinic and already stopped his business. The Department of Public Health had allowed the medical union club to house here for the purpose of getting together of the members.
There were 3 objectives as follows:
1. to foster athlete;
2. to be the place where new and old students could get to know one another; and
3. to enrich knowledge and to create relationship between students and schools.
The Medical Union Club had organized the first scientific meeting on 1st April 1928. Thereafter, there had been a regular annual meeting of the society. After each scientific meeting, there were published papers distributed among the members of the society on basis of 2 monthly a copy. The first scientific paper issued in November 1929 and it was called ‘Report of the meeting of the Medical Union Club”.
The other newsletter that was published by the Medical Union Club was called ‘Physicians’ News”, which was issued in 1928, was to educate general population about diseases and illness. It was sold 25 stang per copy and was issued on a monthly basis. In 1942 this newsletter was closed due to world war II
The aim of the Medical Association of Siam focused on scientific matters, whereas the purpose of the Medical Union Club concentrated on both scientific and social issues. In this regard, it seemed that the work of the Medical Union Club was more interesting than that of the Medical Association of Siam. This had resulted in more members from the new graduates in medical studies enrolled as new members of the Medical Union Club. Only very few of the new graduates registered to be the new members of the Medical Association of Siam. This seemed to make the latter more inferior. However, the important point that had never been revealed was that the current members of the Medical Association of Siam at that time had also registered as members of the Medical Union Club when this club came into existence.
They had to pay membership fees to both societies, which meant that those who had been members of two societies had to pay two times the membership fees compared to those who were members of either society. In addition, the economic status of the country at that time was weak. There was an idea of combining the two societies together in order to make a stronger body, and at the same time, it would be much economized too in running only one organization. However, this idea had failed. Until in 1933 Dr. Phrayaborirakvechchakarn was elected as President of the Medical Association of Siam as well as the President of the Medical Union Club. The merge of the two societies had been realized with the approval from the members of the societies.
The strategic solution to this combination was that those members who had already paid their membership fees to the Medical Association of Siam were exempted the fees for the Medical Union Club. The combined activities provided for them were finance, library, medical bulletins and the annual meeting. Offices of both societies were asked to be in the same premises or nearby place, if possible. Both societies had a joint programme in the first time on 2nd February 1933, which was announced as the annual meeting of the Medical Association of Siam and Medical Union Club under the name “Medical Association of Siam and Medical Union Club of Chulalongkorn University”. At the beginning it was assigned that there was a separate working committee of each society
In 1936 the Medical Union Club had moved to the Bangrak Health Center in the same place where the office of the Medical Association of Siam was located, at Bamrung Muang Road. The two sets of working committee had united to be one. The office at the Bamrung Muang Road was considered a convenient place in terms of public transportation, as well as being close to some offices of Department of Public Health located on Yodse Road. As a consequence, there were more members frequented the association. The association had provided 2 billiard tables and 3 tennis courts. This had been considered as ‘very advance’ facilities provided to the members. There were some civil servants who were not physicians registered as members in order to utilize the facilities at the society as they felt it convenient as a meeting place, as well as a recreation place.
The Medical Association and the Medical Club had continued working well until Thailand had been engaged in the second world war, on December 8th 1941, when the Japanese troop occupied several places in Bangkok. Apart from the effects of the war, in 1982, there was a big flood, the biggest in the Thai history which lasted almost one month long. Most of the roads in Bangkok were under deep water look liked canals; in some parts of Bangkok cars were not accessible.
During the war and after the flood the usage of the club was declined due to difficulty to access but soon after the war ended and the gasoline was available the club returned to be functioning again but the space was so limited. During 1940-1942, Naval Rear Admiral Sa-nguan Rujirapa, then, the President of the Association tried to find a new bigger place. He was a member of the revolution party, therefore, posed some bigger voice to communicate with the country governing people, even so it took a very long time. Until the time when Dr. Chalerm Prommas was elected the President of the Association the project was success when the Royal property Estate Office agreed to let the “Baan Saladaeng” which used to be the residence of Chao Phaya Yommarat situated opposite to Chulalongkorn Hospital at the intersection of the Rama 4 road and the Rachadamri and Sirom roads or the location of the Dusit Thani Hotel at present.
The reason why it took so long in negotiation because there was a residence of high ranking officials in the areas and there was an Old European Students Association in the front and we tried to get the cheapest rent as possible. More than that, when the members learned that we were moving to Saladaeng , there were some disagreement and complained that it was too far but however it was not that far when we were acquainted.
After a big renovation at the new site which needed to spend a lot of money, more than tens of thousands Baht. Those expenses were shared by the Dentist Association and the Pharmacist Association. Therefore, after the renovation was completed the 3 Associations combined and worked together in the same place. The Medical Association moved to “Baan Saladaeng” on May 4th 1948 during the presidency of Dr. Chalerm Prommas.
In 1949, the Nurses Association asked to also join. Baan Saladaeng, therefore, became the houses of 4 Associations the Medical, the Dentist, the Pharmacist, and the Nurses and the abbreviation of the building was M.D.P.N. Office.
“Baan Saladaeng” composed of a big building and the area of more than 8 Rais. The Association had set a wooden house near the big building as a club and a section of the Medical Association contained 2 Billiard tables, several Bridge tables and 3 Tennis courts in the rear, a glass court in the front and a residential house. This was great and much better than the previous one and was able to accommodate more members even though it might seem far for someone.
After the 4 Associations had been working together for a long time, in 1966, the Royal Estate Office sent a notice to stop the rental permit and want the land to be developed for the modern commercial arcade with a willing to pay 2.5 million Baht to the Association but after negotiation the payment was up to 5 millions. Half of that sum was given to the 3 Associations and the rest 2.5 million Baht was spent to purchase a piece of land, 3 rais, 2 ngarns and 92 square wahs, from the Kheha Pattana Estate Company at Soi Soonvijai, 300 metres away from the New Petchburi road and 45 square wahs more for the entrance to the Association. The construction of the new Association building was started in May 1967 with the budget of 1.3 million Baht.
New Home……. at Soi Soonvijai, New Petchburi Road.
The Medical Association of Thailand under Royal Patronage had, then, the new and permanent Office. But before the processes of land purchasing and the building construction finished, it had to be temporarily moved to the Tuberculosis Eradication Association and was established permanently at Soi Soonvijai on January, 13, 1968
It was a great great honoured to the Medical Association of Thailand under the Royal Patronage and all the Medical Professions that His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen had graciously presided over the opening ceremony of the Association building on February, 1, 1968
Today at the Royal Golden Jubilee (Chalermprabarami 50th Anniversary)
Since the number of the Royal Colleges has been increasing as well as their activities and the number of members of each colleges have been also increasing gradually but there have been no permanent offices for those colleges due to lacking of support from the government and being non- profit organizations. The colleges have been providing the trainings for specialties under the supervision of the Medical Council for more than 20 years as voluntary and not included in the government development plan. Most of the functions, therefore, were absorbed by the institutes where the Chairs or the Secretary General of the Colleges associated. The plan of having fixed or permanent offices for each Royal Colleges was then initiated.
Professor Dr.Arun PAUSAWASDI, then, Secretary General of, the Royal College of Surgeons sent out the invitations to all the Presidents and the Secretary Generals of the Royal Colleges to meet and discussed to find the permanent offices. There were representatives from 9 out of 11 Royal Colleges attended the meeting and concluded to find a suitable places for the permanent offices which may be at the Ministry of Health or at the Medical Association or to find their own places.
Several senior members had looked for the site for these permanent offices either at the Srithanya hospital, department of Medical services or even at the construction site of the new Ministry of Public Health but nothing seemed to come out fruitful. Until December 23, 1993, at the meeting of the Medical Council at the Ambassador Hotel Pattaya, Professor Dr. Arun Pausawasdi, as the President of the Royal College of Surgeons, had called a special meeting to revise the project and at this important meeting Rear Admiral Air Marshal Dr. Kitti Yensudchai, then, President of the Medical Association, had proposed that the construction of the specialist consortium should be at the site where the Medical Association located. The proposal was approved and a committee of 8 members was appointed to continue with the project.
The Consortium of the Medical Specialty Training Institute was afterwards established to strengthen and consolidate the activities of the colleges and invited his Royal Highness, the Crown Prince of Thailand to be the Chair of the construction project to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the King’s Accession to the throne in 1996. The building was planned to accommodate the Medical Association of Thailand, the Royal colleges and Medical Societies. At the beginning the Ministry of Public Health had coordinated with the Government Bureau of Lottery and other charity Foundations for the seed money to construct a 12 story building with working space of 32,000 square metres to accommodate 11 Royal Colleges, 23 Medical Societies and the Medical Council. The construction was budgeted at 440 million Baht and built on the land which belongs to the Medical Association. The budget was administered in the form of foundation which was later named “ Vajiravej-vitayalai Chalermprakiert Foundation under the Royal Patronage of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn”
The building itself was graciously named by the King as “Golden Jubilee Building”
On March 18, 1997, His Royal Highness, The Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was assigned by the King to preside over the opening of the Golden Jubilee Building on his behalf. The event brought a great honour and delightfulness to all the Medical professions of the Kingdom of Thailand.