Skip to main contentU.S. National Library of MedicineU.S. National Library of Medicine

Profiles in Science
Pinterest badge Follow Profiles in Science on Pinterest!

The Florence R. Sabin Papers

Letter from Florence R. Sabin to Gertrude Sweeney pdf (237,331 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Florence R. Sabin to Gertrude Sweeney
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.
Sweeney, Gertrude
Original Repository: Smith College. Sophia Smith Collection. Florence Rena Sabin Papers
Reproduced with permission of Geraldine F. Swan.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Public Health
Exhibit Category:
Sabin's Third Career: Public Health in Colorado, 1939-1951
Box Number: 22
Folder Number: 8
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
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.
Very cordially yours,
Florence R. Sabin
Metadata Last Modified Date:
Linked Data:
RDF/XML     JSON     JSON-LD     N3/Turtle     N-Triples