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Medical News & Perspectives
August 19, 1998

200 Years of Protecting the Public Health

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Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998American Medical Association

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JAMA. 1998;280(7):592. doi:10.1001/jama.280.7.592-JMN0819-3-1

JULY 16 marked the 200th anniversary of the founding of the US Public Health Service.

The service began as the Marine Hospital Service under the Treasury Department and was part of the 5th Congress's attempt in 1798 to encourage expansion of the country's small merchant marine and to protect its ill and injured seamen. The seamen were to contribute 20 cents a month to finance the hospitals. The first temporary hospital began operations the next year, in 1799, in rehabilitated barracks in Boston harbor.

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