DURING the first four days of May, the National Health Assembly met in Washington. The Assembly which was called by Federal Security Administrator Ewing, at the request of President Truman, opened in a charged atmosphere. As expressed by one observer: some of the delegates came to Washington with eyebrows at top mast, freely airing suspicions that the four-day conference was a Democratic political expedient. That the Assembly avoided many of the pitfalls lying in its path was a notable achievement. Evidence of its success appears in an editorial of the Journal of the American Medical Association which credits Mr. Ewing and his associates for having dispelled the doubts and anxieties which had originally existed.
May 1, not only marked the opening of the Assembly, it was also, by Presidential proclamation, "Child Health Day." The subject of child health was therefore the central theme of the opening luncheon which was presided over by one of the past presidents of the Academy, Dr. Lee Forrest Hill, Dr. Hill reviewed for the Assembly the Academy's nation-wide survey of the existing medical facilities and services available to children. He also described briefly the formation of the continuing committee—the Committee for Improvement of Child Health—charged with the responsibility of analyzing the hardwon facts and translating them into an action program.
The Assembly's assignment was a formidable one: to review the whole field of health and to set forth the feasible goals which might be realized in the next decade. In order to cover as much ground as possible, 14 sections were formed. The subjects assigned to these groups and a list of their Chairmen are an interesting array:
Section 1. What is the Nation's Need for Health and Medical Personnel? Algo D. Henderson, Chairman.
Section 2. What is the Nation's Need for Hospital Facilities, Health Centers and Diagnostic Clinics? Charles F. Wilinsky, Chairman.
Section 3. What is the Nation's Need for Local Health Units? Haven Emerson, Chairman.
Section 4. Chronic Disease and the Aging Process. James R. Miller, Chairman.
Section 5. A National Program for Maternal and Child Health. Leona Baumgartner, Chairman.