Transnational Medicine: The Rockefeller Foundation and Cuba, 1913-1950

by Jessica Allison

Jan 1, 2010
Incorporated in 1913, the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) was established to address the biological threat posed by tropical diseases to developing regions throughout the world. The RF participated in efforts to promote public health, scientific discovery and research. They established various commissions aimed at addressing issues of science, modernity, and development. At the end of the nineteenth century, Cuba was under military occupation by the United States immediately following the conclusion of Spanish-American war. U.S. participation in Cuba continued past the period of formal occupation in the form of non-profit organizations. Initially working on yellow fever research, scientists from the United States and Cuba collaborated on eradication efforts. Decades later, Cuba was again the site of tropical disease research on malaria. These groups, including the RF and its subsidiary, the International Health Commission (IHC), established programs to advance technology, while dealing with public health and scientific education within Cuba.
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