Salud Colectiva: The Role of Public Health Campaigns in Building a Modern Mexican Nation, 1940s-1960s
Baker, Stephanie L.
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This dissertation argues that health campaigns in Mexico during the 1940s-1960s became more effective through the mediation of health promoters working in rural indigenous communities. By carefully balancing state-sponsored health initiatives with on-the-ground implementation, health promoters in this period perpetuated community-focused national health programs while further integrating rural populations into the modern nation. This dissertation innovatively combines social history with the history of health to reveal the lived reality of health providers working with Mexico’s indigenous populations. In a broad sense, the findings show a major shift away from previous national health programs that attempted to administer uniform healthcare regardless of culture or environment. Beginning the 1940s, healthcare providers worked to establish a dialectic relationship with rural populations to achieve short-term social and economic improvements. The three regional case studies that serve as the core of this dissertation each required a different organizational structure, set of agency collaborations, level of community participation, and range of provider mediations between officials and locals. Together, the three cases show the crosshatching of bureaucratic goals with international pressures, indigenous activism, and local participation as health providers put institutional policies into practice.