Andrew H. Woods in China and the United States: A Medical History Study at the Rockefeller Archive Center

by Zhen Cheng

Jun 25, 2018

In 1872, Andrew H. Woods was born in Hartwood, Virginia. He obtained a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1899 and became a resident at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital after graduation. In 1900, he arrived in Canton, China, for the first time. He worked as a surgical trainee, neurologist and dermatologist at Canton Hospital. Then, he returned to the United States in 1907 and worked as an intern at a private hospital in Bryn Mawr, Philadelphia. In 1908, Woods transferred to the Pennsylvania Hospital as an anesthesiologist and also served as a neurological assistant physician at the Philadelphia hospital. Between 1908 and 1911, Woods had multiple responsibilities. He was a lecturer in neurology at the Pennsylvania Medical School, an assistant physician in neurology and an assistant physician in psychiatry at the Philadelphia Hospital. Having various roles became a feature of many clinicians in that era. Although medical science was divided into distinct subjects, the boundaries between clinical subjects were not strictly defined, especially in non-surgical departments.  So, it provided a space for many doctors to change their clinical roles. By the 20th century, clinical medicine sub-divisions were based on the organ system, and no longer classified according to clinical symptoms. Therefore, diseases in different department may show the same or similar symptoms. For example, neurological diseases could show skin symptoms. A neurologist was also a dermatologist, which was relatively easy to understand.

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