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March 10, 1934

The Health and Turnover of Missionaries

JAMA. 1934;102(10):794-795. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750100060031

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In recent years there has been a curtailment in the financial support and in the number of persons who volunteer for service as foreign missionaries. In 1928 the medical secretaries of four large American boards requested that an analysis of the data in their medical files be made so that their judgments might be based on scientific knowledge rather than on general impressions. The author, who was formerly a medical missionary, was engaged in this study more than two years. He was assisted by an advisory committee of physicians. There have been 75,000 workers, of whom 48,000 were women, in more than a century of Protestant missionary work. Only 25,000 of the total are still active. Of the 50,000 who have left the work, 10,000 died while actively engaged and 40,000 left in order to rest or to enter other employment. The death rate and the resignation rate among the

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