Full text: Problems in eugenics

42Section IY.H. E. Jordan. 
By H. E. Jordan, 
Chairman of the Eugenics Section of the American Association for the 
Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality. 
The Science of Eugenics deserves a place in the medical curriculum for 
three reasons. Firstly : Medicine is fast becoming a science of the pre­ 
vention of weakness and morbidity; their permanent not temporary cure, 
their racial eradiction rather than their personal palliation. Eugenic con­ 
duct is undeniably a factor in attaining the speedy achievement of the end 
of racial health. Eugenics, embracing genetics, is thus one of the impor­ 
tant disciplines among the future medical sciences. The coming physician 
must have adequate training in matters relating to heredity and Eugenics. 
Secondly : as the general population becomes better educated in matters of 
personal and racial health and hygiene it will more and more demand 
advice regarding the prevention of weakness in themselves and their off­ 
spring. The physicians are logically the men who must give it. Thirdly : 
physicians will be more efficient public servants if they approach their work 
with the Eugenic outlook on life. 
Instruction in Eugenics, in the form of a number of special lectures on 
the subject, is already given in some of our medical schools. This indicates 
at least that the need is felt and the importance of such knowledge to the 
best physician recognised. Since not all of the better medical schools give 
such courses, however, we may infer that there are obstacles in the way. 
What is the nature of these? 
One such may be the lack of adequate preparation on the part of the 
students in the fundamentals of biology to properly comprehend the import 
and application of Eugenic facts. This obstacle is speedily being removed; 
for considerable biological training is already a medical course prerequisite. 
But there may be a lack of properly prepared teachers to present this 
subject to even properly prepared medical students. This obstacle is also 
fast disappearing. Once the demand for this kind of help is voiced, 
there will appear properly trained teachers to instruct physicians. 
Another obstacle may be raised by short-sighted and self-seeking 
physicians, for whom less illness and weakness may mean less work and a 
reduced income. But this is, perhaps, only a relatively very small factor 
in, and also only a passing phase of, the opposition, and will soon correct 
itself. The most encouraging prospect for this new scheme of activity is the 
deep interest shown by young medical students in matters of heredity and Eugenics.

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