Five Transformative Episodes in the History of the American Hospital

  • Edward C. HalperinEmail author


Our historical idea of a hospital as a place of hospitable refuge and/or a place for the provision of scientifically skilled and compassionate care for the sick has evolved. Hospitals are now linked to outpatient care, health professions education, biomedical research, and employment of physicians and frequently constitute a major component of the local economy. They are unquestionably an important part of the national economy.

In this chapter the author explores five transformative episodes in the history of the American hospital: the founding of public hospitals, the creation of a robust system of Roman Catholic hospitals, the rise and fall of the American Jewish hospital, the desegregation of southern hospitals during the US civil rights movement, and the changing relationship between hospitals and medical schools in the provision of undergraduate medical education.

These episodes illustrate how the historical development of American hospitals, like all of medical history, is a fundamentally social activity that takes place in a particular context of time and place.


For-profit medical education History of hospitals History of public hospitals Hospital desegregation Jewish hospitals Offshore medical schools Roman Catholic hospitals 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York Medical CollegeValhallaUSA

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