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76 At a press conference announcing the gamma globulin (GG) pilot study in Utah County, four-­ year-­ old Kristine Hammond was volunteered by her physician-­ father, Dr. Roy Hammond, to be the first child recipient of the test serums. Kristine ’s photograph, showing her wearing a crisp, pleated dress, with her hair in curls and looking up into the face of Dr. William McD. Hammon, sent a clear message that the pilot study was an important event overseen by responsible researchers.1 The Provo Daily Herald ran a feature showing Roy Hammond seated with his daughter, implying both parental and professional approval.2 These buoyant visual characterizations were part of a closely managed public relations campaign implemented by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) and Hammon to influence perceptions of the impending experiment. Although considerable attention was devoted to public relations, no one at the time knew whether parents would step forward to volunteer their healthy children to the study. How did members of the community react to the public relations campaign? What did scientists learn from their activities? This chapter explores how Hammon and the NFIP approached publicity, the tactics they deployed, and the public response. It also examines how thousands of children were mobilized to assess the safety and effectiveness of GG. Seeking Approval of Government Officials Once Hammon identified Utah County for his GG pilot study, he acted quickly to set in motion the marketing and mobilization plans by contacting high-­ ranking Utah bureaucrats and health professionals. On August 30, 1951, he met with senior members of the Utah State Health Department, who granted “clearance” The Pilot Study Chapter 4 The Pilot Study 77 to proceed. He next consulted with the Salt Lake County and Utah State medical societies.3 During these meetings, Hammon mentioned the prior sanction of state health officers, as well as that of the NFIP Committee on Immunization, to obtain “approval to go ahead.” State medical society officials were especially enthusiastic about the study and offered to “obtain additional physicians for the project in Provo should they be necessary.”4 With senior doctors and health officers on board with the study, Hammon believed he was prepared to solicit the Utah County medical society. Hammon traveled to the county capital, Provo, where he met privately with representatives of the medical society “so that no embarrassment could come to the medical profession should they believe it unwise to endorse and participate in the project.”5 He discussed the nature of the study with society president Dr. Roy B. Hammond and society secretary Dr. R. H. Wakefield, who both agreed to “an emergency meeting of the total membership” so that Hammon could deliver a “carefully prepared address describing the plan for the field project.”6 Thirty-­ six society members were invited, as were county and district public health officers.7 Those unable to attend were “contacted by telegram or telephone.”8 The excitement generated by the emergency gathering provided Hammon with the perfect venue to sell the pilot study. The address to the Utah County medical society was a masterpiece in persuasive marketing.9 Hammon impressed on county doctors that the GG study was part of a rational scientific trajectory. “Our experiment is a logical sequence to the previous experiments, and designed to correct the deficiencies of the others,” he enthusiastically stated.10 A rigorous assessment of GG for the prevention of polio was not an aberration, but a process linked to the scientific method. He then invited doctors to become partners in science by promising that the “clinics will be your clinics and we wish to place our small group of pediatric residents, who are available to assist in inoculation, under your direct supervision.”11 By assuring county doctors control over the study, he cast it as a grassroots venture; injection clinics were not zones of northeastern medical imperialism, but places of civic activism.12 Members of Hammon’s field team were situated as consultants, providing the necessary resources and advice to realize an opportunity to protect the community. He further explained that participation in the study was optional and that the decision to opt-­ in lay with Utah doctors. Respecting the authority of physicians, Hammon stated, “We propose to inform you as completely as possible in respect to our plans and purposes , and to withhold nothing whatsoever. . . . If our plan does not meet with your approval, we have no intention of carrying it out.”13 Hammon’s pretension of openness and deference to...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813574417
Related ISBN
9780813574394
MARC Record
OCLC
952070849
Pages
272
Launched on MUSE
2016-06-25
Language
English
Open Access
No
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