Open Research

Curation is a leadership skill - #Latinaherstory Founder

Supported by the #Bright #minds of #latinaherstory 

Historical Public Health

Subject 1: "Puerto Rico & HookWorm : The First Public Health Intervention"

Author name: José Amador

Chapter Except: In an excerpt from Medicine and Nation Building in the Americas, 1890–1940 (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2015),

The Pursuit of Health: Colonialism and Hookworm Eradication in Puerto Rico



#Latinaherstory  #Research #Review:

#Latinaherstory Date: August 10th 2023

Amador weaves historical context for the social and political development of the modern state of Puerto Rico with the empathetic telling of great human suffering and strength. Carefully framing the doctors, the bureaucracies, and funding structures and the identities and theories that informed the approach to “treating” the Puerto Rican population of “hookworm” and critically examines why such treatment was commenced. Amador concludes in part, that the experiences of the Puerto Rican test subjects, hundreds of thousands of whom remain nameless, informed systems of information distribution that both economically benefited their imperialistic and attending physicians and but to further economic benefit, the systems of designed to identify the treatment of hookworm within main populations of  “higher value” rural white poor.

Highlighting the experience of a doctor who consulted freely with American doctors explicitly for the purpose of treating rural whites based on his experiences in Puerto Rico, who was told upon his return to the still struggling island, he would NOT receive additional funding or compensation for his consulting, as archetypical. Part and parcel for the characteristic lack of compensation for an entire nation who were subject to medical colonization by an invading army that often times, did not even record their names and their exhausted mainland advocates.


1)   Do newspapers and biomedical journals at the time of invasion (1899) influence the understanding of mainland medical professionals about Puerto Ricans?

2)   Who did race and class impact the way their illness was described, etc reference to “lazy worm”?

3)   How does the biomed/ical system address eugenics based language in past scholarship going forward? 






Author name: Rosemarijn Hoefte

Trujillo-Pagan, N.E. (2013) Worms as hooks for colonizing Puerto Rico. Social History of Medicine, 26 (4), 611-632.

Modern Colonization by Medical Intervention: U.S. Medicine in Puerto Rico, written by Nicole Trujillo-Pagán

Published: 2015

#Latinaherstory Date of Review: August 10th 2023 

Hoefte reviews Trujilo'-Pagan's work predominately with an asset-based lens. Further Indicating confidence in Trujillo’s storytelling, Hoefte pierces her review with comments around what she feels are underdeveloped forces that further influenced the social and political climate in which hookworm interventions were implemented past what Trujillo posits. Predominately, she calls for additional sources and further development of the role and documentation of the existing medical infrastructure before the mainland invasion. Hoefte further indicates by under-developing the narrative of the Puerto Rican doctor’s role in hookworm information proliferation and a similar under-investment in the description around the “jiberos” reactions to such medical treatments within the narrative, disproportionately credit attending physicians for interventions that became part of a culture of reform. 

#LATINAHERSTORY Guiding Questions:

1) What is the importance of documenting patient voice in public health education? 

2)Where has documenting of patient/community voice occurred historically? Are those sources considered "scholarly sources" in the context of medical and scientific research? 

3) What could be the benefits and/or negatives to the inclusion or exclusion of patient voices in historical public health research when the patients were subjugated to attending physicians and/or institutions?  How does that power dynamic impact the attending physician's ability to be objective and quality of results of their scientific inquiry? 

Author name: 
Institute for Emerging Issues

Eradicating HookWorm

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6H-_jJB-j4

Source one (Amador) and Source Two (Hoefte) and within Source Three (Trujillo-Pagan) all discuss the importance of Puerto Rican experiences informing specifically the Rockefeller Commission yet do not mention at all the test subjects who informed the attending physicians used to "cure" North Carolina.