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Benjamin Rush Portal: Post-War Medical Career

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Rush Post-War Timeline

  • 1778-79: Rush rebuilds private practice in post-occupation Philadelphia.
  • 1780: Rush begins teaching chemistry again at the College of Philadelphia Medical School.
  • 1783: Rush joins staff at Pennsylvania Hospital.
  • September 9, 1783: Rush helps establish Dickinson College in Pennsylvania..
  • 1784: Publishes landmark pamphlet on addiction: “An Enquiry into the Effects of Spirituous Liquors upon the Human Body, and their Influences upon the Happiness of Society”.
  • February 27, 1786: Rush delivers a landmark lecture on mental health: “An enquiry into the influence of physical causes on the moral faculty”.
  • 1787: The dispensary, an out patient care center for the vagrant, opens.
  • 1787: Rush helped establish the first American medical society, following the model of the British Royal College of Physicians: the College of Physicians.
  • October 15, 1789: John Morgan dies & Rush becomes the leader of the medical education community; Rush publishes his first book, Medical Inquiries, and Observations, a collection of his medical essays, which he edits and dramatically expands four times over the next 20 years (link).
  • November 11, 1789: Rush writes a public letter to the Managers of Pennsylvania Hospital demanding better facilities and better care for patients with mental illness.
  • 1791: College of Philadelphia and the University of the State of Pennsylvania combine into the University of Pennsylvania; Rush becomes head of the medical school.
  • August-November 1793: Yellow Fever breaks out.
  • 1796: The West Wing of Pennsylvania Hospital opens, exclusively for moral treatment of patients with mental illness and addictions.
  • 1798-99: Rush sues William Cobbett for libel and slander, he attempts to leave Philadelphia by getting a professorship in New York at Columbia, but is thwarted by Alexander Hamilton.
  • 1803: President Jefferson asks Rush to be a medical consultant for the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
  • 1810: Rush publishes an open letter to the Managers of Pennsylvania Hospital begging them for more funds for the treatment of mental illness and addiction.
  • 1811: Rush publishes Sixteen introductory lectures, to courses of lectures upon the institutes and practice of medicine.
  • 1812: Rush writes Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon Diseases of the Mind.