Article ID: CBB606987205

Pittsburgh’s Freedom House Ambulance Service: The Origins of Emergency Medical Services and the Politics of Race and Health (2019)

unapi

This manuscript explores the history of the Freedom House Enterprises Ambulance Service, a social and medical experiment that trained “unemployable” black citizens during the late 1960s and early 1970s to provide then state of the art prehospital care. Through archives, newspapers, personal correspondence, university memoranda, and the medical literature, this paper explores the comparable, yet different roles of the program’s two leaders, Drs. Peter Safar and Nancy Caroline. Despite its success in demonstrating national standards for paramedic training and equipment, the program ended abruptly in 1975. And though Pittsburgh’s city administration cited economic constraints for its fledgling support of Freedom House, black and majority newspapers and citizens alike understood the city’s diminishing support of the program in racial terms. The paper discusses Safar and Caroline’s well-intentioned efforts in developing this novel program, while confronting the racial, social, and structural constraints on the program and the limits of racial liberalism.

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Authors & Contributors
Rappaport, Erika
Zulawski, Ann
Miescher, Stephan
McCulloch, Jock
Barr, Donald A.
Seng, Loh Kah
Journals
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Social History of Medicine
The Journal of African American History
Journal of Black Studies
Journal of the History of Biology
Publishers
Indiana University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of North Carolina Press
Arizona State University
Yale University
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Concepts
Public health
Medicine and race
Medicine and society
Medicine and government
AIDS (disease)
Public understanding of medicine
People
J. Alfred Cannon
Louis Jolyon West
Places
United States
Pennsylvania (U.S.)
South Africa
Singapore
Africa
Tanzania (Tanganyika, Zanzibar)
Times
20th century, late
21st century
19th century
20th century
Institutions
University of California
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