For more than a century, Toronto’s Health Department has served as a model of evolving municipal public health services in Canada and beyond. From horse manure to hippies and small pox to AIDS, the Department’s staff have established and maintained standards of environmental cleanliness and communicable disease control procedures that have made the city a healthy place to live.
This centennial history anlyzes the complex interaction of politics, patronage and professional aspirations which determine the success or failure of specific policies and programs. As such, it fills a long neglected gap in our understanding of the development of local health services.
Using Toronto’s changing circumstances as a backdrop, the book details the evolution of the international public health movement through its various phases culminating in the modern emphasis on health promotion and health advocacy. By so doing, it demonstrates the significant contribution of preventive medicine and public health activities to Canadian life
Born and raised in Toronto where she attended John Ross Robertson Public School and Lawrence Park Collegiate institute, Heather MacDougall, like her parents, siblings, and contemporaries, had personal experience of the services and programs which Toronto's Health Department provided through its immunization programs, dental surveys, and vision testing. After completing her undergraduate and graduate studies in Canadian urban and social history at the University of Toronto in 1981, Dr. MacDougal was asked to prepare a centennial history of Toronto's Health Department. This challenging project entaiiled substantial research into new fields including the history of institutions and and professional groups, federal and provincial health policy in the twentieth century and developments in the field of preventive medicine in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Unitd States, as well as a careful evaluation of the Health Department's records and the city council's deliberations. This research material has been woven together into this thematic study of the major activities which Health Deaprtment staff have pursued since 1883 and the significant political, economic, and social trends which have affected their work.
Since 1985, Heather MacDougall has been an assistant professor in the History Department of the University of Waterloo.
"This handsome volume has dozens of well-chosen photos. Overall, MacDougall has made a useful contribution to the history of public health in a vital North American city."