Pioneering Health Care in Colorado

AHA Session 89
Friday, January 6, 2017: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 3B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Jeanne Abrams, University of Denver

Session Abstract

Progressivism, social reform, industrialization, and urbanization changed the course of American public health services and medical treatment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This session will examine those themes against the backdrop of five different Denver, Colorado initiatives in public health care supported by private individuals, religious organizations and community groups from 1880-1940. In the absence of public or governmental resources, they catalyzed health care treatment and research medicine in a challenging environment.

Colorado boosters relentlessly promoted the state’s reputation as a health-care paradise. Here, clean healthy living on open land, fresh air, clear skies and mountain-spring water were touted as being able to cure whatever ailed you – if you could afford it. However, accessing health care was a significant challenge for the poor and minority groups like the southern, central, and eastern European immigrants who worked in mines, mills, factories and slaughterhouses in overcrowded urban centers across the United States and migrated to Colorado. Subject to poor working conditions and crowded living conditions, the urban poor were especially susceptible to disease. In Denver, their plight was addressed through the philanthropy undertaken by a variety of ethnic and religious groups.

See more of: AHA Sessions