Chapter

Polio Can Be Conquered: Science and Health Propaganda in the United States from Polio Polly to Jonas Salk

Naomi Rogers

in Silent Victories

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780195150698
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865185 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150698.003.05
 Polio Can Be Conquered: Science and Health Propaganda in the United States from Polio Polly to Jonas Salk

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In the 1940s and 1950s, health officials in the United States regularly published popular guides to polio prevention, therapeutic manuals for the care of paralyzed patients, and inspirational tales of the disabled polio victims overcoming social stigma and achieving success. These tracts became a potent publicity tool to popularize faith in scientific research as the best weapon in the fight against disease. The popularized polio literature combined medical theory, philosophy, public health policy, and frequently a commercial message. Long before the polio vaccines were developed, health experts—especially those employed by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP)—made scientific research a public enterprise, in which even obscure scientific questions could be laid out and debated.

Keywords: poliomyelitis; National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis; public health; consumer health literature; Jonas Salk; health pamphlets; March of Dimes; Elizabeth Kenny

Chapter.  10116 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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