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Dedication of the Laboratory for the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Tropical and Preventive Medicine

Gorgas Memorial Institute for Tropical and Preventive Medicine in Panama

Back row: Dr Guillermo G. de Padres, director of health, Republic of Panama; Dr. Herbert C. Clark, pathologist, New York; Dr. Roland C. Connor, United Fruit Company, New York; Senor Chiari.
Front row: Dr. Franklin Martin, president, Gorgas Memorial Institute; President Rodolfo Chiari, Republic of Panama; Col. J.F. Siler, MC, US Army, Washington, DC

ACS founder Franklin Martin, MD, FACS, was a driving force behind the establishment of the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Tropical and Preventive Medicine in Panama, which still exists today. He served as one of the original seven directors at the institute’s founding in 1921 and later as chairman of its board of directors and honorary president. One of many news stories published at the time, reporting on the establishment of a laboratory in the South American country for the further study of tropical diseases, is reprinted here.

From the Chicago Daily News, September 10, 1928

“Transformation of the American tropics and semi-tropics into wholesome and habitable regions for Caucasian and native, as well as beast, will be undertaken by the Gorgas Memorial Institute of Tropical and Preventive Medicine in an effort of the Institute to carry on the work to which the late Gen. William C. Gorgas, surgeon-general of the United States army, and renowned sanitarian, devoted his life.

On a recent trip to Panama, Dr. Franklin H. Martin, President of the Gorgas Memorial Institute, and director-general and president of the American College of Surgeons, received from President R. Chiari of the republic of Panama, the grant of the use of the Hall of Medicine of the University of Panama as temporary quarters until the government of Panama can build a permanent laboratory on a site granted for that purpose. Research and experimental work will begin at once. All Latin-American countries have been invited to cooperate in the work of redeeming the entire tropical world from the terrible plagues which beset its inhabitants and restrict its development....”

To view more documents related to the founding of the Gorgas Memorial Institute and Dr. Martin’s role in its founding and efforts, see the Martin Memoirs and other records in the ACS Archives.