Public Health Movements

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Public Health Movements


the activity of medical workers and public figures, leading to improvements and new forms of medical care, as reflected in the publication of medical and general periodicals and in the establishment of such organizations as medical societies and congresses. In contrast to public health, social hygiene, and zemstvo medicine, the public health movements developed in opposition to official solutions to problems of public health. Public health movements took many forms in different countries. For example, from the mid-19th century to the early 20th in Great Britain there were movements to promote industrial legislation and improvement of sanitary conditions in cities; in Germany and the Scandinavian countries, medical insurance; and in France, the development of a network of dispensaries and facilities for children’s care. In the USA, the activity of public health movements was best exemplified by the founding in 1847 of the American Medical Association, which at first fought for improvement of medical education and treatment, but which in the 20th century became an ardent opponent of government and social intervention in the sphere of private medical practice.

In Russia public health movements arose even before the zemstvo reform of 1864. They were associated with the country’s transition to capitalism and with the revolutionary situation of 1859–61. In sharp polemics with large landowners, public health movement activists insisted on the need for free hospital care and physicians’—as opposed to paramedics’—services. Active in public health movements were the Free Economic Society and physicians’ societies in such cities as Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kazan; the Russian Society for the Protection of Public Health and the N. I. Pirogov Society of Russian Physicians; and several journals, including Moskovskaia meditsinskaia gazeta (Moscow Medical Journal) and Vrach (Physician). The goals of the public health movements in the USSR have merged with those of Soviet public health (see).


Nauchnye meditsinskie obshchestva SSSR. [Collection of articles.] Moscow, 1972.
Itogi i perspektivy issledovanii po istorii meditsiny. Kishinev, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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