In such a situation the danger of negative

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In such a situation the danger of negative stereotyping was great, particu-larly in organizations serving immigrant populations that were staffed anddirected by native born people-schools, the justice system, hospitals, andfactories. "We are dealing with people in masses so great that the individualis lost sight of," Cabot (1919) wrote. "The individual becomes reduced to atype,a case, a specimen of a class." There was a "danger of dehumaniza-tion." The individualization of the person in such situations was a critical
14 SOCIAL WORKAPPROA CHES IN HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTHtask of the social worker and a key reason for the profession's growth."Above all of her duties it is the function ofthe social worker to discover andto provide for those individual needs which are otherwise in danger of beinglost sight of" (p. viii).INTERNATIONAL INFLUENCESAs Daniel T. Rodgers (1998) reminds us, social reform was an internationalmatter a century ago. International conferences, like the conlemporary Inter-national Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health, were heldon a variety of topics, and observers on both sides of the Atlantic followedchanges in the organization of hospitals as well as many other topics. Cabotand the other American pioneers of medical social work were inspired by de-velopments in European health care that emphasized the community contextof disease.Cabot was aware ofthe London Charity Organisation Soeiety's (COS) ex-periment in medical social work. In 1895, the London COS placed one of itsdistrict secretaries in the Royal Free Hospital lo investigate the ability to payof patients presenting themselves for treatment and to link the hospital withother charities in the community (Lubove, 1965). The initial interest oftheEnglish "Lady Almoners" in financial investigation of the patient soon gaveway to an interest in the patient's adjustment to disease (Cabot, 1919). Ameri-can medical social workers recognized the "Lady Almoners'" as the forerun-ners of their specialization ("English Almoner Visiting United States andCanada," 1946; Read, 1946).Other European experiments in health care service delivery were relevant aswell. In his diseussion ofthe precursors ofthe Massachusetts General Hospitalsocial work program, Cabot (1919) mentioned the work ofDr.Calmette of Lille,who used home visitors to link his dispensary and the home ofthe patient. "Thehome visitor was a part of the plan of anti-sepsis, a method of destroying thebacteria through disinfection and sterilization of the premises and of the pa-tient's linen. In America the work of the home visitor. . . has been concernedless with the disinfeetion and bactericidal procedures than with the positivemeasures of hygiene, such as the better housing of the patient, better nutrition,better provision for sunlight and fresh air, and above all instruction oi'the patientas to the nature of his disease and the methods to be pursued in combating it"(p.xv). Another French experiment separated children from the neighborhood

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