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Nightingale, Florence (1820–1910)

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

In the 19th century, Florence Nightingale played a key role in the areas of public health policy, medical statistics, hospital design, and patient care. Stepping over gender stereotypes, she reached beyond the typical role of a nurse by studying statistics, hospital management, philosophy, and sanitation. She was a fan of Edwin Chadwick, a sanitary reformer who was influential in passing England's Public Health Act of 1848. Chadwick's premise was that filth, poor ventilation, and unclean water were the causes of disease development. Each of these factors was present in Scutari (the Greek name for Istanbul, Turkey) during the Crimean War. Nightingale's statistical abilities were apparent in her work there; according to historical documents, approximately a year after her arrival at Scutari in 1854, survival rates ...

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