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December 20, 1941

Society and Medical Progress

JAMA. 1941;117(25):2200. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820510088039

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The author's point of departure is "that medicine, both as a science and a profession, is inextricably bound up with the social process and with scientific developments in other fields." It shares in the cyclic movements of industry, government and education. "The long road to medical science" is built round or over or blasted through vested interests, superstition, bigotry, tradition, quackery, astrology and other obstacles to human progress. Medicine advances most rapidly when it is closest to the life of humanity and stagnates in scholasticism. These truths are told well and illustrated thoroughly, making a work of fundamental value to all who are interested in society and medical progress. The historical is better than the contemporary treatment, although the chapters on urbanization, the conquest of famine, and income and health build a good foundation for an understanding of many present problems. Emphasis is placed on the part played by "tools,"

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