Franco, Saúl; Nunes, Everardo; Breilh, Jaime; Laurell, Asa. Debates en medicina social. [Debates in social medicine]. Quito: Pan-American Health Organization / Latin American Association of Social Medicine, 1991. 339 p.

Objectives: To present the main trends and state of the art of Latin American social medicine by of analyzing its European antecedents, its emergence in Latin America, the introduction of graduate and post-graduate studies, and the scientific achievements and social practices of Latin American groups during three decades (1960-1990). To define the specificity of social medicine (regionally known as collective health in Brazil) in relation to public health and preventive medicine. To examine the development of Latin American critical epidemiology.

Methods: Analytic and historical. Statistical methods to carry out a quantitative content analysis of social medicine’s production according to thematic areas and conceptual categories. Content analysis of degree and post-degree programs, starting from the 1950’s, in relation to the incorporation of social sciences.

Results: Through the analysis of more than 300 works, this exhaustive study of the most important achievements of Latin American social medicine clarifies the social and political context where this field emerged; antecedents in works of European social medicine in the 19th century; and differences among hygienism, public health and preventive medicine. The authors present broad analyses of social medicine’s theoretical concepts, main categories, methods, topics, and the most important authors in this field. The authors also describe the emergence of critical epidemiology, and differences between it and traditional epidemiology. In the last chapter the authors analyze the relationship between work and health, including the impact on health of transformations in work processes.

Conclusion: This book presents a critical review of the history and current research and educational activities in Latin American social medicine. The authors emphasize sources of debate, especially in the areas of critical epidemiology and studies of work and health.

Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico