“… and Hygiene?” Our Once and Future Mission

Scott B. HalsteadHealth Sciences Division, The Rockefeller Foundation, New York, New York

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Nearly forty years ago, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) was formed from its parent societies, The American Society of Tropical Medicine (ASTM) and the National Malaria Society (NMS). The Tropical Medicine Society was itself nearly 50 years old, having been founded in 1903 by several clinical faculty members of Philadelphia medical schools who wished to learn and teach more about the diseases of the tropics and to stimulate research on them. It may surprise some to learn that our American Society is four years older than its British counterpart, the Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which was instantly larger than our fledgling Society and has been under royal patronage since 1921.

At the dawn of what some would call “The American Century,” there is little reason to doubt that our Philadelphia founding fathers were influenced by the recent successful conclusion of the Spanish-American War and the US acquisition of and responsibility for new territorial possessions in the Caribbean and the Far East.