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From Medical Police to Social Medicine: Essays on the History of Health Care

Lester S. King, MD
JAMA. 1975;231(1):85. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240130065038.
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George Rosen, pioneer in the history of public health and social medicine, has done much to place this branch of medicine on a firm foundation. Some of his early papers are classics in the field and this collection could serve virtually as a source book in the subject. Of the 13 papers, three were originally published in the 40s, seven in the 50s, one in the 60s, and two in the 70s.

We cannot expect such a collection to be systematic, although the studies in the aggregate cover a wide area, touching on problems in England, Germany, France, and the United States, and occasionally other countries. The approach is focal rather than complete.

The concept of "medical police" refers to regulations regarding health that were "grounded on a primary calculation to augment the power of the state rather than to increase the welfare of the people." The discussion of such


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