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April 7, 1956

Health, Culture and Community: Case Studies of Public Reactions to Health Programs

JAMA. 1956;160(14):1267. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960490081032

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All physicians are at heart missionaries engaged in persuading a patient, a family, or a community to adopt a health program that they believe will be beneficial. Acceptance of the program presents a problem in the art of salesmanship that is not always successful, as in the case of fluoridation. This volume presents 16 case studies that have been used in teaching seminars at the Harvard School of Public Health. Community reactions to the introduction of many types of health programs are presented by those who participated in them. Successes and particularly failures are analyzed with care. One derives the same benefit as from a careful autopsy, only the person performing the autopsy in this instance is a social anthropologist explaining what the behavioral sciences have to offer. Examples cover all kinds of people, from Zulu tribes to the residents of suburban Boston. It becomes clear that acceptance of a

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