School established after World War Il

On March 15, 1946, in an attempt to further improve medical care for the rapidly expanding island population, the Navy established a School of Medical Practitioners which offered a four-year course in general medicine leading to eligibility for certification as a Medical Practitioner.

Promising students from Guam, American Samoa and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Northern Marianas, Palau, Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and the Marshall Islands) were admitted to the program. Graduates were expected to be able to diagnose and treat ailments commonly encountered in their areas and to distinguish medical or surgical cases that would require referral for specialized care.

In 1947, a companion School of Dental Practitioners was also established. Graduates of the program were deemed sufficiently trained to do general extractions, fillings, periodontal work and, to a lesser degree, apply prosthetic appliances.

With the advent of civilian government in 1950 and the passage of stringent medical and dental practice acts, both the medical and dental practitioner schools were closed.

By Dr. Robert L. Haddock

For further reading

Haddock, Robert L. A History of Health on Guam. Hagåtña: Cruz Publications, 1973.