The Peckham Experiment: An Introduction

Arati Karnik


“Health is everyone’s birthright; the pity is that so many lose it. In spite of our vast sickness services…the burden of ill-health in the community remains heavy…all this study of disease does not reveal to us the laws of health. It is health itself which must be studied. We must devise laboratories where we can put health, too, under a lens, look at it, discover how it behaves, and find out in what conditions it can grow and spread.”
From Health of The Individual, of the Family, of Society

The Peckham Experiment was one of the 20th century’s most innovative programs in community medicine, influencing the community health movement around the world. It was the brainchild Dr. George Scott Williamson and Dr. Innes H. Pearse, two medically trained biologists who were also a married couple. Both were researchers with experience in the early diagnosis and investigation of disease, and yet they came to the conclusion that studying disease was not the route to attaining or understanding health.

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Department of Family and Social Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center
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