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National Physicians and Professional Prestige

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Chapter Summary

This chapter traces the development of Puerto Rican physicians' professional authority relative to the U.S. colonial administration. Through the development of a unique medical association in 1902, the Asociacíon Medíca de Puerto Rico (AMPR), and subsequent incorporation of AMPR in the American Medical Association (AMA), Puerto Rican physicians hoped to gain influence within the colonial administration and generalize their construction of Puerto Ricans' broader interests. The chapter begins with a brief discussion of professional status, physicians' relationship to the rural countryside and Puerto Rican medicine under the Spanish colonial administration. The author's analysis of the hookworm campaign reveals how the idea of penetrating the tropics became critical to developing professional prestige at both domestic and international levels. In the United States, developing professional status involved gaining legitimacy and cultural authority by acquiring a monopoly over a market of clients and achieving control over a jurisdiction.

Keywords: Asociacíon Medíca de Puerto Rico (AMPR); hookworm campaign; professional prestige; Puerto Rican physicians; Spanish colonial administration



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