This is an in-depth look at the Rockefeller Foundation's earliest ventures in international health. From the Rockefeller Foundation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. philanthropies have played a leading role in the evolution of international health. Launching Global Health is about the Rockefeller Foundation's very first initiative abroad. The foundation's flagship, the International Health Board, made its first call in British Guiana in March 1914 to experiment with its new 'American Method' for the treatment of hookworm disease. Within months the agency was involved in ambitious hookworm programs in six Central American and Caribbean sites, its directors self-consciously choosing to test-run the prototype for their global project in the nearest and clearest domain of American imperial influence. This book examines the nature and evolution of those hookworm campaigns in British Guiana, Costa Rica, Trinidad, and Guatemala, as well as relevant evidence from Nicaragua and Panama. The study takes into account the late 19th-century backdrop and considers events through to about 1930 when most of the International Health Board hookworm campaigns had evolved into public health projects of a different nature.
Dr. Steven Palmer is Canada Research Chair in the History of International Health at the University of Windsor and author of From Popular Medicine to Medical Populism: Doctors, Healers, and Public Power in Costa Rica, 1800-1940.