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Article
October 20, 1956

SCIENTIFIC DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF THE COMMUNITY AS A PATIENT

JAMA. 1956;162(8):723-727. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970250023007
Abstract

• Clinical medicine considers the individual patient as a whole—physical, mental, and social. When we consider the community patient as an entity, and when economic, cultural, nutritional, moral, and other social patterns are an essential part of the diagnostic and treatment procedures of the community, we begin to understand, limit, and define the distinctive discipline of public health. While public health may have to fulfill many of society's demands (e. g., coroner, jail physician, individual medical care including the indigent), these are not public health functions and are done under protest, until these individual health responsibilities are assumed by those physicians whose training is patientcentered. Public health must mature to the point where it is definable and understood not only by other professions and the public but also by itself.

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