Pioneering Health Care for Children with Disabilities: Untold Legacy of the 1916 Polio Epidemic in the United States

Academic Article


  • In 1916, the United States experienced its first polio epidemic, resulting in 6,000 deaths and 21,000 injured individuals. Medical practices were ill prepared to stop the disease and treat survivors. Historians have documented the creation of the polio vaccine during the 20th century, but less is written about efforts to provide rehabilitation services to children afflicted with polio. This research looked at Polio After-Care Committees, a new form of community practice that provided care to children with disabilities. The Committees worked to change community-level systems of care while providing medical care, demonstrating that new forms of community-based service organization could reach children.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hitchcock LI; Stuart PH
  • Start Page

  • 90
  • End Page

  • 111
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 1