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A Black Scourge? Race and the Rockefeller’s Tuberculosis Commission in Interwar Jamaica

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Publication details

JournalHistória, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos
DateSubmitted - 1 Jan 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Apr 2017
DatePublished (current) - 1 Feb 2018
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1071-1088
Original languageEnglish


From 1927 till 1942, the Rockefeller Foundation ran a tuberculosis commission in Jamaica that carried out research into the epidemiology of the disease, examined the efficacy of a vaccine with heat-killed tubercle bacilli, and offered basic treatment to tuberculosis sufferers. Drawing amongst others upon the diaries and scientific writings by staff employed by the commission, this article explores the role that race played in the tuberculosis commission. It assesses how race shaped the research carried out by the commission, how it informed staff interactions and staff-patient relations, and the clash and/or confluence of ‘imported’ and local racial ideas in the commission’s work.

    Research areas

  • Tuberculosis , race, caribbean, Global Health, Rockefeller Foundation


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