Chapter 12

George M. Foster: Medical Anthropologist in the Post-World War II Years
Thomas Weaver

Applied Anthropology and International Health: Retrospect and Prospect
George M. Foster

Soon after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1941, George Foster (1913–) went to work for the Institute for Social Anthropology (ISA), an agency he directed from 1946 to 1952. Although the ISA, part of the U.S. government’s Latin American cultural relations program, was not primarily concerned with application, staff members carried out cooperative studies that significantly influenced the design of international health programs. In 1952, Foster joined the University of California at Berkeley as a faculty member and became a major contributor to applied and medical anthropology. In his 1982 Malinowski Award address, Foster provided an overview of the development of international health programs and the early history of medical anthropology. Foster advocated the institutionalization of medical anthropology within international health agencies and argued that applied anthropology has contributed significantly to anthropological theory, most notably to culture change theory.

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