Western Medicine since 1949

Gale Cengage
Publication Type:
Encyclopedia of Modern China,, 2009, 1, pp. 579 - 580
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Since 1949, Western medicine in China has been characterized by rapid development, including professionalization, institutionalization, and scientization, as well as quick diffusion throughout the countryside. Chinese medicine was predominant in the medical domain in 1949, while Western medicine occupied only a marginal position. Medical education and research were key factors in its development as a completely new system of medical education took shape after 1949. This system trained a large number of doctors of Western medicine, who were assessed and promoted according to their proficiencies. Great strides were also made in every field of basic medical science and clinical medicine, and professional associations and journals were established for each field. Together, these developments contributed to the rapid professionalization of Western medicine in China. The founding of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences as the leading institute for medical research in 1956 was followed by the establishment of medical universities and research agencies in every province. Medical research was closely associated with the needs of disease prevention and treatment and emphasized the basic theories of medical science. Among the achievements of this work were developments in understanding the trachoma virus, in the reattachment of severed fingers, and in the treatment of extensive burns.
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