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Article
April 4, 1990

Pulse THE MEDICAL STUDENT SUPPLEMENT OF JAMA

JAMA. 1990;263(13):1857-1864. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440130157054
Abstract

CHAIRPERSON'S COLUMN  Historically, select physicians have divided their time between individualized patient care and care for all of society. Rudolph Virchow, a prominent mid-19th century physician-scientist and statesman, recognized the futility of practicing medicine in a society that failed to view health care as a basic right of its citizenry. He felt that to render maximal care as a physician, he also had to cure the ills of society. In expanding medicine's territory to the whole of society, he voiced his call to action, stating, "Medicine is a social science and, as a science of man, has a duty to perform in recognizing these [social] problems as its own and in offering the means by which a solution may be reached." Virchow served as a member of the Berlin City Council from 1859 to 1901 and later founded a liberal political party; from 1880 to 1893 he served as a

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