The history of the Gorgas Memorial Institute and the Gorgas Memorial Laboratory gives an overall picture of the health conditions in the Western Hemisphere and the efforts that were made to improve them. A feeling of immediacy comes from the knowledge that the author, Dr. W. H. Wright, has been an observer and participant of the whole operation. Each chapter covers a span of approximately 10 years. The chapter headings indicate the direction of that period.
Chapter I—The early years 1921–1928. The Panamanian Government had wanted to establish a memorial to General Gorgas to honor his memory and accomplishments. This was finally brought about through the efforts of Dr. Belisario Porras, three times President of Panama. The Panamanian Government gave the land and the original building. The Congress of the United States provided the financial support, which has continued to the present.
The permanent staff of the Institute has been small and dedicated.