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BeholdenReligion, Global Health, and Human Rights$
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Susan R. Holman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199827763

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827763.001.0001

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Private Lens, Public Health

Private Lens, Public Health

A Reluctant Physician in Nineteenth-Century America

(p.44) (p.45) 3 Private Lens, Public Health

Susan R. Holman

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 explores the role of religion and private civic duty in nineteenth-century American public health efforts. The heart of the chapter tells the story of Dr. Henry Trevitt, who trained in Columbus, Ohio, under his uncle, Dr. William Trevitt. A reluctant medical student, Henry was appointed to direct the American Hospital for sick sailors in Valparaiso, Chile, during a revolution and political scandal at the American consulate Returning home to be a small-town doctor, Henry found himself serving the local poorhouse and implicated in a murder trial. Henry’s story, told here for the first time, is a personalized portrait in the history of public health in American medicine, including treatment of prisoners and diseases like cholera, tuberculosis, and mental illness. The chapter offers a glimpse into the soul of much American philanthropy today, as it views other cultures, as well as the problems of poverty and health disparities.

Keywords:   nineteenth-century public health, American poorhouse, American Hospital, Chile Valparaiso, Rev. David Trumbull, Dr. Henry Trevitt, Dr. William Trevitt, history of medicine

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