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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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same time in some instances. Of course, I suggested this all be done to President Johnson in 1966-67, and in '67 he asked in the State of the Union Speech, the health speech, that these task forces be formed then. There were token committees formed but no money put into it and no real effort (crosstalk) -- footdragging of the National Institutes of Health. It wasn't a new idea, because the -- they at that time had the leukemia task force going. There still was fear of surgeons and the thought that it might be terrible if you found new ways to do things because what would surgeons do? It's the only explanation that one can possibly have, is the attitude of the profession, we don't want to do something because we might have to change all medecine. I can't see any other rational or irrational explanation, can you?

Q:

And you're close to the situation.

Lasker:

Well, that's changing at last, a little. Then during the spring, in May, Mrs. Blair and I went to call on the Secretary of Health for HEW Richardson, with Mike Gorman. I have long been distressed because the usefulness of treating high blood pressure has never been sufficiently widespread -- you know, not been sufficiently understood. However, the fact that Dr. Freis won our award and had shown conclusively that treating early hypertension, in other words moderate hypertension, saved maybe over 50 present of lives in a study, big study, in over three to five years, made me convinced again that something had to be done to make the treatment of moderate hypertension a public health routine.



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