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Naomi Rogers

Naomi Rogers

The Best 4 Books on Naomi Rogers

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Dirt and Disease: Polio Before FDR (Health and Medicine in American Society)

"Will have an enthusiastic audience among historians of medicine who are familiar, for the most part, only with later twentieth-century efforts to combat polio." --Allan M. Brandt, University of North Carolina

Dirt and Disease is a social, cultural, and medical history of the polio epidemic in the United States. Naomi Rogers focuses on the early years from 1900 to 1920, and continues the story to the present. She explores how scientists, physicians, patients, and their families explained the appearance and spread of polio and how they tried to cope with it. Rogers frames this study of polio within a set of larger questions about health and disease in twentieth-century American culture.

In the early decades of this century, scientists sought to understand the nature of polio. They found that it was caused by a virus, and that it could often be diagnosed by analyzing spinal fluid. Although scientific information about polio was understood and accepted, it was not always definitive. This knowledge coexisted with traditional notions about disease and medicine.

Polio struck wealthy and middle-class children as well as the poor. But experts and public health officials nonetheless blamed polio on a filthy urban environment, bad hygiene, and poverty. This allowed them to hold slum-dwelling immigrants responsible, and to believe that sanitary education and quarantines could lessen the spread of the disease. Even when experts acknowledged that polio struck the middle-class and native-born as well as immigrants, they tried to explain this away by blaming the fly for the spread of polio. Flies could land indiscriminately on the rich and the poor.

In the 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped to recast the image of polio and to remove its stigma. No one could ignore the cross-spread of the disease. By the 1950s, the public was looking to science for prevention and therapy. But Rogers reminds us that the recent history of polio was more than the history of successful vaccines. She points to competing therapies, research tangents, and people who died from early vaccine trials.
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An Alternative Path: The Making and Remaking of Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital by Naomi Rogers (1998-05-01)

An Alternative Path: The Making and Remaking of Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital by Naomi Rogers (1998-05-01)
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An Alternative Path: The Making and Remaking of Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital

When Hahnemann Medical College was founded in Philadelphia in 1848, it was the only institution in the world to offer an M. D. degree in homeopathy, a therapeutic and intellectual alternative to orthodox medicine. This institutional history situates Hahnemann in the broader context of American social changes and chronicles its continual remaking in response to the rise of corporate medicine and constant changes in the Philadelphia community. In the nineteenth century, Hahnemann provided a distinctive and respected identity for its faculty, students, and supporters. In the early twentieth century, it accepted students denied admission elsewhere, especially Jewish and Italian students. It taught a flexible homeopathy that facilitated curricular changes remarkably similar to those at the best contemporary orthodox schools, including selective assimilation of the new experimental sciences, laboratory training, experience in the school's own teaching hospital, and a lengthened course of medical study. Hahnemann is no longer homeopathic, although it remained loyal to its alternative heritage long after the 1910 Flexner Report attempted to eliminate alternative medical education in America. Like many other American medical schools, Hahnemann has had its share of problems, financial and otherwise. The civil rights and radical student movements of the 1960s and 70s, however, pushed the College into a more politically conscious view of itself as a health care provider to the inner city and as a producer of health professionals. In 1993, the College merged with another Philadelphia medical school into a single health care and training institution called the Allegheny University of the HealthSciences. Although Hahnemann is now part of a new system of academic medicine, its institutional legacy endures, as it has in the past, by following alternative paths.
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Polio Wars: Sister Kenny and the Golden Age of American Medicine

During World War II, polio epidemics in the United States were viewed as the country's "other war at home": they could be neither predicted nor contained, and paralyzed patients faced disability in a world unfriendly to the disabled. These realities were exacerbated by the medical community's enforced orthodoxy in treating the disease, treatments that generally consisted of ineffective therapies.

Polio Wars is the story of Sister Elizabeth Kenny -- "Sister" being a reference to her status as a senior nurse, not a religious designation -- who arrived in the US from Australia in 1940 espousing an unorthodox approach to the treatment of polio. Kenny approached the disease as a non-neurological affliction, championing such novel therapies as hot packs and muscle exercises in place of splinting, surgery, and immobilization. Her care embodied a different style of clinical practice, one of optimistic, patient-centered treatments that gave hope to desperate patients and families.

The Kenny method, initially dismissed by the US medical establishment, gained overwhelming support over the ensuing decade, including the endorsement of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (today's March of Dimes), America's largest disease philanthropy. By 1952, a Gallup Poll identified Sister Kenny as most admired woman in America, and she went on to serve as an expert witness at Congressional hearings on scientific research, a foundation director, and the subject of a Hollywood film. Kenny breached professional and social mores, crafting a public persona that blended Florence Nightingale and Marie Curie.

By the 1980s, following the discovery of the Salk and Sabin vaccines and the March of Dimes' withdrawal from polio research, most Americans had forgotten polio, its therapies, and Sister Kenny. In examining this historical arc and the public's process of forgetting, Naomi Rogers presents Kenny as someone worth remembering. Polio Wars recalls both the passion and the practices of clinical care and explores them in their own terms.
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