VD at the Movies: Public Health Service World War II Venereal Disease Films

NEWEST ESSAY & FILM
By John Parascandola, Ph.D.

The United States Public Health Service (PHS) released several education films in the 1930s and 1940s as part of a broader campaign against venereal-disease (VD). The agency had been operating a VD program since World War I, when concern over the number of Army recruits infected led Congress to enact a law that created a Venereal Disease Division in the PHS.

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Can Leprosy Be Cured?

By Magnus Vollset, PhD and Michael Sappol, PhD

Leprosy in India [Lepra in India in the original German] is a hard film to watch. In the course of its 12 minutes, it puts before the camera patients who suffer from a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild discoloration of the skin to terrible facial and bodily disfigurement, and loss of fingers and toes.

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Erdheim’s Autopsy: Dissection, Motion Pictures, and the Politics of Health in “Red Vienna”

By Tatjana Buklijas
Sometime in the last century a fragment of silent film landed at the National Library of Medicine. Like many of the older films in the collection, how it got there is a mystery: no paperwork survives to tell the tale; no other prints of the film appear to have survived; no other sources on its making or showing have turned up.

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