The Meaning of Social Medicine

by Iago Galdston, Secretary, Medical Information Bureau, The New York Academy of Medicine. 137 pp. Cambridge, Mass.: Published for the Commonwealth Fund by the Harvard University Press, 1954. Price $2.75. (Distributed in Great Britain by Oxford University Press.)

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This is the most comprehensive exposition of an as yet undefined medical discipline that has yet appeared and consequently is a must for all interested in the field. The purpose of the book is to advance and support the conclusions in the final chapter, “Social Medicine and Medical Education.” The author leads up to this by a number of expository chapters, beginning with a review, and comments on some of the varying definitions of social medicine. Unfortunately, he does not, himself, advance a definition except by inference through stating that “the foundation of social medicine must be a broad and inclusive dynamic and developmental biology.” Social pathology and biostatistics would serve to indicate where and how biological requirements have not been met. The present “etiological medicine” is criticized because while it has achieved much in the treatment and prevention of disease it has failed in the elimination of disease and the promotion of health.