A charter member of the Society and one of the founders of the United States, Rush was a member of the Sons of Liberty, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a surgeon-general in the Continental Army, a member of the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention. He was a Treasurer of the U. S. Mint and founder of Dickinson College. He is probably the most famous of the early American physicians, although some of his medical practices were somewhat questionable, particularly his reliance on the outmoded practice of bleeding. He did, however, understand the importance of studying the diseases of domestic animals, and, as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, he was one of the first to suggest the need for a school of veterinary medicine. With James Mease, he initiated the interest in the strong relationship between animal and human medicine that carried over into the practice at the Veterinary School at the University of Pennsylvania when it was founded in 1884.