This is my first post on this past weekend’s AAHM meeting, and I’m starting with the pre-meeting of the Sigerist Circle. The topic of this year was the PBS documentary, “Forgotten Ellis Island.” This is a very engaging documentary and I intend to use it when I teach my history of medicine/public health course in the fall.
There were some shortcomings, though. As panelists Alexandra Stern and Emily Abel pointed out, the film doesn’t discuss the millions of immigrants who arrived through the West coast. Also, I think that while the documentary is right to stress that hospital personnel were trying to help those who were treated there, it ends up underplaying the racism and cultural elitism that underlay the whole project.