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June 26, 1981

An American Transplant: The Rockefeller Foundation and Peking Union Medical College

Author Affiliations

University of Missouri School of Medicine Kansas City


by Mary Brown Bullock (sponsored by the Center for Chinese Studies, University of California, Berkeley), 280 pp, with illus, $17.50, Berkeley, Calif, University of California Press, 1980.

JAMA. 1981;245(24):2533. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310490051031

The Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) captures the imagination by the very scope of its story. Take the son of the richest man in the world, add huge amounts of money, large amounts of missionary zeal, and the intent of building a world-level medical school in an exotic "unenlightened" land; include the founding dean of The Johns Hopkins Medical School, the stimulation of an architectural jewel in romantic Peking, and the best of the West's professors, and you have a story worth telling.

But also include a massive country in rebellion against its past, uncomfortable with foreign offerings, and almost destroyed by a Japanese invasion. To make it explosive, let the rebellion end in a communist victory with 30 years of alienation between the host country and the American benefactor.

The PUMC was authorized by the Rockefeller Foundation and its China Medical Board in 1915. The lovely buildings were dedicated