CONCERN OF THE CONFER
ENCE WITH HEALTH
ALTHOUGH the American Public Health Association and the American Medical Association antedated the Conference, the subject of health, both in its individual aspect and in the broader trends toward public health and liberalized health services, stood next to the welfare of children in the number of papers presented at the Conference.
At an early session ( 1881) Dr. James Knight, of New York City, in recounting the establishment of the New York Society for the Ruptured and Crippled started a train of thought that became prominent in the twentieth century. It was this: Disease and physical injury are symptoms, but they are, as well, primary factors in the causation of dependency. Efforts to treat and cure the cause are therefore worth while, not only in themselves, but also as a means of preventing destitution.
We did not hear that note again for twenty-five years in Conference discussions of provisions for the care of the needy sick. Two themes supplanted it: the exploitation of clinics by those who could pay for their own care; and the injustice of free service to the private practitioner. At this early date, no word was spoken concerning the quality or method of the care given by the clinic. In the state of New York, Dr. Frederick H. Wiggin, vice president of the American Medical Association, reported ( 1898) on efforts to secure legislation making it a misdemeanor to receive treatment at a free clinic if one is able to pay for it. At the same Conference, Dr. Stephen Smith, a mem-