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The White Plague in the City of Angels

Caroline Luce, Author

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The Jewish Response Path

Map 3 - Locations of Jewish hospitals and sanatoriums built to combat the tuberculosis epidemic in Los Angeles.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Los Angeles was home to only a handful of small hospitals, none of which specialized in treating tuberculosis. With an increasing number of Jewish tuberculars arriving in the city and no effective medical treatment available, leading members of the Jewish community worked to find their own solutions to the emerging public health crisis. The influenza pandemic of 1918 also provoked Jewish Angelenos to action. Although intense debates emerged among them about the best way to address the growing need for health care, their efforts gave rise to three institutions: Kaspare Cohn Hospital (renamed Cedars of Lebanon Hospital), the Mt. Sinai Home for Incurables, and the Jewish Consumptive Relief Association’s Duarte sanatorium (better known as the City of Hope). While originally founded to respond to health crises in the city’s growing Jewish population, through the contesting forces of science, technology and treatment, public health policy, and social attitudes about disease and contagion, these institutions have grown into two of the premier health care facilities in the country: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the City of Hope.

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