The Contributions of Henry E. Sigerist to Health Service Organization

Henry E. Sigerist made profound and strikingly original contributions to health service organization. Not only did he expand greatly our concepts of the functions of medicine, but he redefined health in a manner which was later to be paraphrased by the World Health Organization. Sigerist’s account of the evolution of the physician and his discussion of the role of the people in the fight for health provide important new insights into current realities, while his remarkable analysis of the genesis of national health insurance makes it possible to understand its continued absence in the United States. Although he was in the forefront of the campaign for national health insurance, Sigerist always considered it inferior to a national health service. His thorough studies of the Soviet national health service opened new vistas in the promotion of health and prevention of disease and the development of team practice in health centers. Sigerist’s impact was world-wide, and was particularly important in Chile, Cuba, China, and Great Britain.

Author(s): Milton Terris

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Volume 53, Issue 4 (pages 489–530)
Published in 1975