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Arab Americans

Michael Shadid

Michael Shadid

Dr. Michael Abraham Shadid (1882 – August 13, 1966) was a Lebanese physician who founded the first medical cooperative inElk City, Oklahoma in 1931.[1] He was the first president of the Cooperative Health Federation of America and an advocate for cooperative health care and preventive medicine.

Early life

Shadid was born in 1882 in MarjayounLebanon, the youngest of 12 children. He attended the American University’s high school in Beirut and in 1898 immigrated to the United States where he was a pack peddler and sold cheap jewelry and buttons door to door. Shadid attended John Tarleton College in Stephenville, Texas in 1902 and received a degree in medicine from Washington University in St. Louis in 1907. While in medical school, Shadid joined the Socialist Party of America. He ran for Congress as aNew Deal democrat but was defeated by Sam Massingale. He married Adeeba Shadid and they had six children: Bess, Fred, Ethel, Alexander, Ruth, and Helen.[1]


In 1923, Shadid left a successful practice in Carter, Oklahoma and settled in Elk City. He found that farmers of the region were not receiving adequate medical care and did not have a hospital they could afford. Shadid called a meeting of his farmer patients and proposed a cooperatively owned clinic and hospital in Elk City. The Oklahoma Farmers’ Union supported the measure and the hospital was opened by the Community Health Association, Inc. in August 1931. The reception from the medical community was icy. Although he had been a member of the Beckham County Medical Society for over 20 years, the society expelled him. The Oklahoma Board of Medical Examiners attempted to revoke Shadid’s license and the State Medical Association tried to get a bill passed against medical cooperatives in the Oklahoma Legislature. The bill was defeated with the help of the Oklahoma Farmers’ Union.[1] The Farmers’ Union took control of the hospital and the health plan in 1934. By 1939, Community Hospital served 15,000 farmers in the southwestern Oklahoma. During the later years of his life, Dr. Shadid suffered from diabetes, resulting in having both legs amputated. With both legs missing, Dr. Shadid traveled to Russia alone in a wheel chair to speak about socialized medicine.(Authority: first-hand knowledge of Dr. Shadid’s grand-daughter, S. Candice Campbell, whose mother was Bess Campbell, Dr. Shadid’s daughter.)

Later life

Shadid traveled throughout the United States and Europe and gave speeches where he advocated for cooperative health care. He helped launch a health co-op in Deer Park, Washington and assisted the organizing committee that led to the formation of Group Health Cooperative.[2] Shadid helped found the Cooperative Health Federation of America in 1947. He served as the Foundation’s president from 1947 to 1949. In 1960 he built Hospital Haramoon in the Lebanese village where he was born. Shadid died in Kansas on August 13, 1966 and is buried in Oklahoma City at Fairlawn Cemetery.[3] He was inducted into the Cooperative Development Foundation‘s Cooperative Hall of Fame in 1978.[4]