Laurels: Up by the Bootstraps

When Guillermo Arbona picked up his M.D. diploma from St. Louis University and returned to his native Puerto Rico in 1934, the island's death rate was 19.3 per 1,000, as against 11 per 1,000 in the continental U.S. Malaria and tuberculosis were rampant, along with the so-called tropical diseases caused by intestinal parasites. The island's annual health budget came to only $1.3 million—a mere 80¢ per capita.

Today, as Secretary of Health for up-by-the-bootstraps Puerto Rico, Dr. Arbona could proudly report that his island's death rate has been cut to 7.2 per 1,000,...

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