Medical Education in the Western Pacific

Melvin D. Bivens
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In 1944, long before the atomic age was ushered in by the historic bombing of Nagasaki, the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery of the U. S. Navy began to make plans (1) for the health of the people of the many Pacific Islands who were gradually being liberated from the Japanese. The plan envisioned the establishment of a school to train native medical and dental practitioners and native nurses to the end that medical teams would be available, following the training period, for all island populations. The island of Guam with the U. S. Naval and Guam Memorial Hospitals was chosen as the site for this school.

The curricula for the new schools were patterned after the leading medical, dental and nursing schools of the United States, and standard medical textbooks were to be used. A study was made of the British Central Medical School for Native Medical Practitioners at Suva, Fiji Islands (2).

Author Notes

Formerly LTJG, MCR, USNR. Present address: Good Samaritan Hospital, 2266 N. W. Marshall St., Portland 10, Oregon.