Professionalization in Public Health and the Measurement of Sanitary Progress in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

During the course of the nineteenth century, the Registrar-General's Office in England and Wales used crude mortality rates as a demographic barometer of the environmental conditions of towns and cities. The local authorities in places with comparatively high rates were exhorted to improve them through more and better public health reforms. This technique of public coercion was often criticized, especially by a selection of Medical Officers of Health, who argued that crude death rates were an inaccurate measure of changing mortality levels and thus the success of preventive medicine. The debate over sanitary progress created no little tension between staff at the General Register Office and the Medical Officers, as well as between the Medical Officers themselves, at a time when public health doctors were seeking to properly establish themselves as a legitimate, professionalized branch within medicine. Despite this, the collection and dissemination of local mortality statistics became an indispensable component for the nineteenth century campaign to improve the nation's health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-78
Number of pages26
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Volume10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1997
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Wales
England
Public Health
Mortality
Coercion
Preventive Medicine
Health
Medicine
Demography
Professionalization
Statistics
Medical Officer of Health
Doctors
Staff
Death Rate
Demographics
Dissemination
General Register Office
Mortality Rate
Authority

Keywords

  • General Register Office
  • Henry Letheby
  • London
  • Medical Officers of Health
  • Mortality rates
  • Professionalization
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Cite this

@article{3478f552eae04b6aab836ed5f9e0d654,
title = "Professionalization in Public Health and the Measurement of Sanitary Progress in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales",
abstract = "During the course of the nineteenth century, the Registrar-General's Office in England and Wales used crude mortality rates as a demographic barometer of the environmental conditions of towns and cities. The local authorities in places with comparatively high rates were exhorted to improve them through more and better public health reforms. This technique of public coercion was often criticized, especially by a selection of Medical Officers of Health, who argued that crude death rates were an inaccurate measure of changing mortality levels and thus the success of preventive medicine. The debate over sanitary progress created no little tension between staff at the General Register Office and the Medical Officers, as well as between the Medical Officers themselves, at a time when public health doctors were seeking to properly establish themselves as a legitimate, professionalized branch within medicine. Despite this, the collection and dissemination of local mortality statistics became an indispensable component for the nineteenth century campaign to improve the nation's health.",
keywords = "General Register Office, Henry Letheby, London, Medical Officers of Health, Mortality rates, Professionalization, Public health",
author = "Graham Mooney",
year = "1997",
month = "4",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "10",
pages = "53--78",
journal = "Social History of Medicine",
issn = "0951-631X",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Professionalization in Public Health and the Measurement of Sanitary Progress in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales

AU - Mooney, Graham

PY - 1997/4

Y1 - 1997/4

N2 - During the course of the nineteenth century, the Registrar-General's Office in England and Wales used crude mortality rates as a demographic barometer of the environmental conditions of towns and cities. The local authorities in places with comparatively high rates were exhorted to improve them through more and better public health reforms. This technique of public coercion was often criticized, especially by a selection of Medical Officers of Health, who argued that crude death rates were an inaccurate measure of changing mortality levels and thus the success of preventive medicine. The debate over sanitary progress created no little tension between staff at the General Register Office and the Medical Officers, as well as between the Medical Officers themselves, at a time when public health doctors were seeking to properly establish themselves as a legitimate, professionalized branch within medicine. Despite this, the collection and dissemination of local mortality statistics became an indispensable component for the nineteenth century campaign to improve the nation's health.

AB - During the course of the nineteenth century, the Registrar-General's Office in England and Wales used crude mortality rates as a demographic barometer of the environmental conditions of towns and cities. The local authorities in places with comparatively high rates were exhorted to improve them through more and better public health reforms. This technique of public coercion was often criticized, especially by a selection of Medical Officers of Health, who argued that crude death rates were an inaccurate measure of changing mortality levels and thus the success of preventive medicine. The debate over sanitary progress created no little tension between staff at the General Register Office and the Medical Officers, as well as between the Medical Officers themselves, at a time when public health doctors were seeking to properly establish themselves as a legitimate, professionalized branch within medicine. Despite this, the collection and dissemination of local mortality statistics became an indispensable component for the nineteenth century campaign to improve the nation's health.

KW - General Register Office

KW - Henry Letheby

KW - London

KW - Medical Officers of Health

KW - Mortality rates

KW - Professionalization

KW - Public health

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0031113685&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0031113685&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

C2 - 11619192

AN - SCOPUS:0031113685

VL - 10

SP - 53

EP - 78

JO - Social History of Medicine

JF - Social History of Medicine

SN - 0951-631X

IS - 1

ER -