The Contribution of Medical Geography to the Etiology of Disease

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  • Department of Medical Geography, American Geographical Society

Having to discuss before you the contribution of medical geography to the etiology of disease, it behooves me to start with a definition of geography, followed by one of pathology. If I succeed in doing so in adequate fashion the contribution of one to the other will be made obvious, and obviousness is the often unattainable goal of any demonstration.

“Geography is not just the study of landforms, it is also the study of the factors that have fostered these landforms, the climates and soils connected with them, the plants that live on the soil, the animals that live on the plants, and the societies of men who have established themselves on these landmasses, in these climates, and who live in commensality with these plants and animals.”

If this is a fair definition of geography, it then encompasses a good half of the factors that affect the occurrence of disease, and also implies a study of their interrelationships.