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Health in the CityRace, Poverty, and the Negotiation of Women's Health in New York City, 1915-1930$
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Tanya Hart

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479867998

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479867998.001.0001

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Professionalization in the City

Professionalization in the City

Chapter:
(p.64) 2 Professionalization in the City
Source:
Health in the City
Author(s):

Tanya Hart

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479867998.003.0003

This chapter criticizes the claim that the professionalization of medicine and nursing combined transformed the City of New York into an apex of “modern” municipal medicine in the early twentieth century. The implementation of infant and maternal health care programs faced serious societal and political barriers. In particular, it was hampered by both resistance to governmental intervention and racism—strict eugenic and racialist Progressives thought it inappropriate to waste public funding to protect the lives of racially inferior poor women and their offspring. Thus, it was clear to many that public efforts to universalize infant and maternal care had profited the wrong class, while “racial decay” threatened to destroy the best of the “human race,” much like diseases that strike trees at their top.

Keywords:   maternal health care programs, infant health care programs, governmental intervention, racism, racial decay

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