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Eugenics and public health in American history.

Eugenics and public health in American history. Eugenics and public health in American history. M S Pernick Department of History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-1003, USA. mpernick@umich.edu Supporters of eugenics, the powerful early 20th-century movement for improving human heredity, often attacked that era's dramatic improvements in public health and medicine for preserving the lives of people they considered hereditarily unfit. Eugenics and public health also battled over whether heredity played a significant role in infectious diseases. However, American public health and eugenics had much in common as well. Eugenic methods often were modeled on the infection control techniques of public health. The goals, values, and concepts of disease of these two movements also often overlapped. This paper sketches some of the key similarities and differences between eugenics and public health in the United States, and it examines how their relationship was shaped by the interaction of science and culture. The results demonstrate that eugenics was not an isolated movement whose significance is confined to the histories of genetics and pseudoscience, but was instead an important and cautionary part of past public health and a general medical history as well. Related articles in AJPH: Annotation: racism resurgent--building a bridge to the 19th century. H J Geiger AJPH 1997 87: 1765-1766. PDF http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Public Health American Public Health Association

Eugenics and public health in American history.

American Journal of Public Health , Volume 87 (11): 1767 – Nov 1, 1997

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Publisher
American Public Health Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1997 by the American Public Health Association
ISSN
0090-0036
eISSN
1541-0048
DOI
10.2105/AJPH.87.11.1767
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Eugenics and public health in American history. M S Pernick Department of History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-1003, USA. mpernick@umich.edu Supporters of eugenics, the powerful early 20th-century movement for improving human heredity, often attacked that era's dramatic improvements in public health and medicine for preserving the lives of people they considered hereditarily unfit. Eugenics and public health also battled over whether heredity played a significant role in infectious diseases. However, American public health and eugenics had much in common as well. Eugenic methods often were modeled on the infection control techniques of public health. The goals, values, and concepts of disease of these two movements also often overlapped. This paper sketches some of the key similarities and differences between eugenics and public health in the United States, and it examines how their relationship was shaped by the interaction of science and culture. The results demonstrate that eugenics was not an isolated movement whose significance is confined to the histories of genetics and pseudoscience, but was instead an important and cautionary part of past public health and a general medical history as well. Related articles in AJPH: Annotation: racism resurgent--building a bridge to the 19th century. H J Geiger AJPH 1997 87: 1765-1766. PDF

Journal

American Journal of Public HealthAmerican Public Health Association

Published: Nov 1, 1997

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