Society and Medical Progress

Society and Medical Progress

Society and Medical Progress

Society and Medical Progress

Excerpt

As social scientist outside the medical profession, I would not have been emboldened to undertake the ambitious task of writing this book had not my previous excursions in the medical field met such a friendly reception. In 1927 I published Social Factors in Medical Progress and a short book on the controversy over vaccination. It came as a welcome and gratifying experience to me that such studies, which discussed medical science as a social science, were thought to have pertinent value and direct appeal to the historians and practitioners of medicine, to workers in the field of public health and to many laymen. In the interim, while I was engaged in research and publication in other areas of sociology and anthropology, my interest in medicine never ceased, and during this period I developed the perspectives and assembled much of the data which have been incorporated into this book.

I was therefore receptive to the invitation of Dr. Michael M. Davis to prepare a book on the interrelations of medicine and society, a subject in which the Committee on Research in Medical Economics was interested. A grant from the Committee made it possible for me to devote time during 1938-39 to the studies on which this book is based. I am indebted to the Committee for the opportunity, and also to Dr. Davis and the late Professor Robert E. Chaddock, a member of the Committee, for the many suggestions offered as the manuscript progressed. The medical historians and research workers from whom I derived both insights and data are too many to thank individually in this preface. I cannot refrain, however, from expressing my especial appreciation of the work of the versatile dean of medical historians, Professor Henry E. Sigerist, of the Institute of the History of Medicine of Johns Hopkins University. I am also grateful to those who had the vision and initiative . . .

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