George Washington was not only one of the "founding fathers" of our country, but he was also, in a way, a founding father of the medical profession. During Washington's time, treating illness, which was viewed as a traditional healer craft began the transition to a bonafide profession.

Why bring George Washington into a conversation about a medical exhibit? He is actually the subject of it. Our first president had a curiosity about, and a hunger for knowledge of, ways to ensure the safety and health of his family, his army, and all those under his care.

Like many during his time, he sought medical solutions from books in his library, the "medical" personnel who existed then, (doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, and even barbers and the occasional quack) and finally, more importantly from emerging scientific research.

And for good reason. Washington himself survived smallpox, anthrax, and malaria, watched a brother die from tuberculosis and a stepdaughter from an epileptic seizure, so health was a very important issue for him.

This is just a small portion of the fascinating information you'll find at the "Every Necessary Care and Attention":George Washington and Medicine exhibit which is being presented by Health Connect of South Dakota.

The exhibit will be on display for the public on the Augustana University campus from December 10  through 14 in the lobby of the Froiland Science Complex and from December 17 through noon on December 19 on the main floor of the Mikkelsen Library.

It can also be seen at these locations:

  • University of Sioux Falls Mears Library/ December 26 - 28/ 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Sioux Falls VA Medical Center/ January 2 - 4
  • Avera Prairie Center/ January 7-11

"This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens".

For more information call Health Connect South Dakota director Fran Rice toll-free at 1-888-761-5437.

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