Virchow stands tall

Here’s Rudolf Virchow. Virchow (13 October 1821 – 5 September 1902) often referred to as “the father of modern pathology” and considered one of the greats of social medicine scored a cameo in today’s keynote at the 2012 National Conference for Medical-Legal Partnership by Dr Robert Kahn. Dr Kahn, a general pediatrician and child health researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital gave a fascinating address (in concert with Elaine Fink JD of the Legal Aid Society of South West Ohio) presenting evidence mapping correlations between dodgy rental accommodation and asthma in children. Dr Kahn, who’s work stands at the intersection of poverty  and child health, quoted Virchov to emphasise and remind us all that addressing the legal determinants of health means addressing the social condition.

“The physicians are the natural attorneys of the poor, and social problems fall to a large extent within their jurisdiction.

“If medicine is to fulfill her great task, then she must enter the political and social life. Do we not always find the diseases of the populace traceable to defects in society?  

Peter

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