Voluntary health associations have made enormous contributions to the control of many major diseases. The National Tuberculosis Association (NTA), established in 1903, was one of the first to be organized, and others that followed patterned their organizational structure and activities after the NTA. The major strength of voluntary health groups is the cooperative effort and understanding they create between physicians and lay persons who together share responsibilities on governing boards and committees.
The main activities of voluntary health associations are support of research, public education service to patients, support of professional education, and advice to government on legislation and regulation. The control of tuberculosis and the conquest of poliomyelitis, advances in the prevention and treatment of heart disease, and the success of renal dialysis and transplantation are examples of what can be accomplished by voluntary health agencies. These successes have served to encourage the formation of other groups whose members
Barclay WR. Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association. JAMA. 1981;246(19):2194. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320190052030
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