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This report describes the role of China Medical Board (CMB), a Rockefeller-endowed philanthropy, in promoting modern medical research and education at Seoul National University (SNU). Although the Rockefeller Foundation refused to fund Keijo Imperial University, a predecessor of SNU during Japanese Colonial Rule (1910-1945), CMB actively supported the schools of medicine and nursing at SNU after 1963, through its extensive fellowship program as well as research grant awards. Moreover, CMB provided funding for designing the new main building at Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH), as well as its medical library and research laboratory. Hence, CMB, along with the United States federal government, became a primary agency of promoting modern medicine in South Korea. However, Korean professionals at SNU had their own ideas and agendas, which made them respond to CMB's plans and strategies in their own way. The interplay between the two formed a key part of Korea's story of making modern medicine.
This paper analyzes the construction of SNUH during the 1960s and 1970s, in conjunction with the changing medical landscape in Korea, focusing on support from the China Medical Board. American influence in medical practice and education in Korea was significant, starting in the late 1950s. Much research has focused on the early American influence on Korean medicine such as missionary activities or the Minnesota Project by the International Cooperation Administration. Recently, more attention has been given to later support for Korean medicine from Western private philanthropies, such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the China Medical Board. This support laid the material foundation and research organization for contemporary Korean medicine.
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