Sabin responds to a student's inquiry about public health in Colorado, explaining the forces opposing reform, and suggesting
that college students like Sweeney write to legislators and ask some pointed questions.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (237,331 Bytes)
1946-06-03 (June 3, 1946)
Sabin, Florence R.
Original Repository: Smith College. Sophia Smith Collection. Florence Rena Sabin Papers
Reproduced with permission of Geraldine F. Swan.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Sabin's Third Career: Public Health in Colorado, 1939-1951
Box Number: 22
Folder Number: 8
June 3, 1946
My dear Ms. Sweeney:
In reply to your letter of May 27, concerning pressure groups, I can tell you only of the pressure groups that did oppose
the Health bills at the last Legislature. There were three and the major one was the so-called Denver City Machine, the second
one was the Milk interests, and the third the Chiropractors. They proceeded to load the Health bills with crippling amendments.
The Denver City Machine's opposition was entirely political. Since the Health bills have as their major objective to
secure highly trained professional personnel for Public Health work, a political machine fights them because such personnel
would necessarily be interested in health not in politics. I think you could get exceedingly interesting data if, as students,
you would write directly to Mayor Stapleton of Denver, and to Dr. Schwab, whose address is the Denver General Hospital, telling
them that you understand that they were the most effective agents in defeating the Health bills at the last Legislature and
in your study of the pressure groups you were exceedingly anxious to know why they did this.
Concerning the Milk interests, we have very interesting data to give you because the large producers and some of the small
ones as well are now very interested in improving the quality of milk in Colorado. Some of the large producers lost heavily
during the war because their products were not sufficiently up to standard to pass State lines, therefore, the Milk interests
themselves are now studying the problem and proposing to introduce milk bills into the Legislature. We shall be fully informed
concerning these bills and expect they shall have the joint endorsement of the Milk interests and the Governor's Committee
on Health; therefore, we are very hopeful concerning improving the milk in Colorado at the next Legislature as far as laws
can contribute to this program.
Concerning Chiropractors, please read the article on them in the June Readers Digest. At present Colorado has the basic science
laws and therefore the number of Chiropractors is not increasing but they are very determined to get the right to sign death
certificates. Since their diagnosis of disease bears no relation to modern medicine, having their diagnoses recorded on death
certificates would make it practically impossible to have accurate vital statistics. Their method is to put amendments on
every Health bill that comes up, which has the effect of killing the bills. Our hope at the next Legislature is to have had
so much education that they will not be able to do this.
Concerning your specific questions in paragraph three, we have presented the idea of County Health units to eighteen districts
in the State and find the people on the whole very much interested. Securing adequate personnel for them will be depending
on getting our program for training Public Health officials at the Medical School at the University of Colorado, and securing
special field training for such workers probably in the Weld County Health unit. We do not anticipate any great opposition
to either program, that is for establishing the units and getting the trained personnel.
Concerning the opposition of employees of Muncipal Health Departments, it will be as great as ever in Denver, but we hope
not too great among the County Commissioners. As far as I know there will be no great opposition of the corporate interests
at this time. The doctors, as you know, are very much stirred up over socialized medicine, but we hope that all but a very
few of them will see that development of a strong health departments and the introduction of preventive medicine serves to
lessen the drive for socialized medicine. Perhaps our strongest opposition will come from the Civil Service Commission, because
they have no mechanism for obrtaining trained professional personnel and as far as we can gather have no interest in improving
health conditions in Colorado. You might get interesting answers if you wrote the State Civil Service Commission, State Capitol
Building, asking the reasons for their opposition to improving health conditions in Colorado and to cutting our unnecessarily
high death rates. There is one other fact you should know, namely, that Denver and the other larger city in Colorado, have
what is called Home Rule in perpetuity which cuts them off effectively from any influences our really fine Director of the
State Public Health Department, Dr. Roy Cleere, might contribute toward their improvement.