The altruistic ideal is the noblest conception of man, and preventive medicine is its most practical application. Thus, altruism is the natural rôle of physicians, in that it is their natural function and their duty to be guardians of the public welfare; to see to the eradication of diseases and their attendant evils; to influence public opinion, public sentiment and public action in all questions pertaining to the health and education of the people, and to make the public familiar with the causes of disease, degeneracy and crime, together with the most important measures for their eradication and prevention.1
Science has clearly demonstrated that much of the disease and misery of mankind is avoidable—that disease is a terrible punishment inflicted on the human family for living out of harmony with the laws of health. When one pauses to consider the enormous annual loss to the government and to society
SMITH AM. A PLEA FOR NATIONAL AND LOCAL BOARDS OF SCHOOL HYGIENE. JAMA. 1905;XLV(14):978–982. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.52510140024001f
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