American physician who professionalized medicine in New York. A Yale graduate, Stearns attended medical lectures at the University of Pennsylvania. He established a practice in Waterford, New York, in 1793 and founded the Saratoga County Medical Society. Stearns proposed forming a state medical society, received an honorary medical degree, and was chosen as the New York Academy of Medicine's first president. He also promoted the pharmaceutical qualities of fungus-produced ergot.