"The Best Way to Explain It Is to Do It": Ida Cannon and the Professionalization of Medical Social Work During the Progressive Era and the 1920s

Anette Bickmeyer


Ida Cannon (1877-1960) was a pioneer of medical social work in American hospitals. She had a founding role in developing and professionalizing this medical social service. She positioned medical social workers among hospital factions generally hostile to her approach, e.g. the doctors and nurses, but drew on all her political skills in relentless negotiations to maintain the legitimacy of that field in the hospital arena. 

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