Immediately after World War II, messages about health matters peaked and "animation became the main medium for public health education" . This web site also demonstrates how far the message of public health has come. The best known cartoons during this era began appearing in newspapers in the s and usually presented strong views about "hypocrites, industrialists, the professions, the rich, the idle, immigrant groups, workers, and participants in the latest fads and fashions" . It is during this era of animated public health movies that one can most clearly see the shift from blaming the government and its policies for disease as it did in the s to a more friendly view of government, in part, of course, because the government was responsible for creating these cartoons. These movies, outdated by advances in medical prevention and treatment, described disease in alarmist tones. Soldiers, however, weren't the only intended audience. Cartoons as a Social Barometer in 19th-Century America Cartoons have been used by newspapers since the s to offer stinging assessments of public officials and affairs. In this image the Grim Reaper carries a doctor's bag labeled "cholera" and "Asia" through dirty streets in a U.
Soldiers, however, weren't the only intended audience. Conclusion Cartoons and visuals about medicine have evolved greatly over the last years. The image and advocacy of public health in American caricature and cartoons from An example of a modern, culturally sensitive visual that can help children and those with low health literacy can be found at www. Still the depiction of non-traditional Americans in unfriendly terms persisted and these films continued to rely on stereotypes and stigmatization. This particularly striking cartoon took aim at local community conditions, government officials, physicians, and immigrants. Rather than advancing cultural stereotypes, physicians and government health officials now use cartoons and other visual media to encourage greater health awareness among the entire population. No longer are most still images tinged with criticism of the government, critical about the role that physicians play in disease management, and reliant on negative stereotypes to forward a public health agenda. They strove for change…often strident in their attack on political figures, their sole purpose was advocacy…the bold poster designs that have now become the sine qua non of every public health and safety campaign . Now, it is unacceptable for immigrants or their home countries to be portrayed as incubators for disease or for foreigners to be depicted in caricatured, almost-universally disparaging, stereotypic ways. In the past, these images, which included cartoons, commented about culture and society's often-negative perception of the "other," but today they are more culturally diverse and place higher value on ethnic and racial variety. Navy [the story is] told from the point of view of a germ that has gotten past a surgeon and into a patient's body . The caption of the illustration reads, "We bid you welcome believing that you will find the condition of our streets to suit you as well as anything in Asia" . The best known cartoons during this era began appearing in newspapers in the s and usually presented strong views about "hypocrites, industrialists, the professions, the rich, the idle, immigrant groups, workers, and participants in the latest fads and fashions" . Am J Public Health. Cartoons and images that portray public health messages are now inclusive of other cultures, reflecting the changing demographics of the country. No longer are public health messages packaged for young adults or soldiers but for children and those with low health literacy. Donald Crafton, an animation historian, reflected that these older films "…tended to provoke anxiety about the body and its susceptibility to illness This web site also demonstrates how far the message of public health has come. But they also sought to reassure people that with proper vigilance—as well as the help of an expert doctor and new medical technology—dread disease could be averted" . Today's images are culturally diverse, and this diversity is portrayed as a positive asset. Between and the s the United States government forwarded its public health agenda with the help of animated movies. The venom of the cartoonist's pen extended to medicine, physicians, and racial minorities and still managed to include some political editorializing. Public health images were often sexist or laden with stereotypical racial caricatures. It reflected the common perception of physicians as more likely to be responsible for death than for its prevention, and it depicts the disdain that many citizens felt toward the national governments of both the United States and the country or area where a disease originated, believing that capitalist greed resulted in worse health for Americans. These movies, outdated by advances in medical prevention and treatment, described disease in alarmist tones.
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