October 25, 1971

Medical News

JAMA. 1971;218(4):511-524. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190170005003

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Indian Health Service modernizes medical care on reservations  George Bock, MD, won the 1971 Fried Bread Making Contest at the 25th Annual Navajo Tribal Fair. Ordinarily, Medical News does not report sports results of this sort, but this event has a unique medical significance. Dr. Bock is Navajo Area director of the Indian Health Service, and his performance in the fried bread competition neatly illustrates a number of points about his role.Dr. Bock's part of the contest was in effect a pantomine public health lecture. Each contestant was provided with firewood, flour, baking powder, lard, salt, and the appropriate utensils—and running water was available. The other bread friers got to work with a minimum of fuss; Dr. Bock made an elaborate ritual of washing his hands after nearly every step of the process, practicing what he has long preached about kitchen cleanliness as a way to control disease.

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