Coni, Emilio R. (1854–1928)

views updated

Coni, Emilio R. (1854–1928)

Emilio R. Coni was one of Argentina's pioneer public-health physicians. Born in Corrientes in 1854, he attended medical school at the University of Buenos Aires during the 1870s and became well known in the medical community for his many statistical articles about diseases and mortality rates. Coni also published numerous books, including his autobiography, Memorias de un medico higienista (1918), and a study of Buenos Aires's public and private social assistance agencies, Asistencia y previsión social. Buenos Aires caritativo y previsor (1918). His wife and partner, the Socialist journalist Gabriela Laperrière (1866–1907), took part in the promotion of his antituberculosis campaigns and health crusades in Buenos Aires.

Coni is remembered as one of the fathers of Argentine demography studies, which he considered to be a main tool in improving public-health policies. In 1891 he became the first president of the Sociedad Médica Argentina (the Argentine Medical Society) and in 1892 he was named director of the Sanitary Administration and Public Assistance of Buenos Aires. Internationally recognized for his work in public health, he became a member of the Brazilian Medical Academy in 1878, and he participated in international health conferences in many cities including Amsterdam, London, and Washington, D.C. Coni was particularly interested in the control of venereal disease through medically supervised prostitution, the establishment of tuberculosis treatment centers, the regulation of wet nurses and milk supplies of all types, the treatment of alcoholics, and the creation of municipal medical facilities to shelter the indigent. He was also involved in efforts to improve sanitation in Buenos Aires. Many of these programs were implemented as a result of Coni's determination that the medical facilities of Buenos Aires should rival those in Europe.

See alsoDiseases; Medicine: The Modern Era.


Primary Works

Asistencia y prevision social Buenos Aires caritativo y previsor. Buenos Aires: Imprenta Emilio Spinelli, 1918.

Memorias de un medico higienista. Buenos Aires: Biblioteca Méedica Argentina, 1918.

Secondary Works

Guy, Donna J. "Emilio and Gabriela Coni: Reformers, Public Health, and Working Women." In The Human Tradition in Latin America: The Nineteenth Century, ed. Judith Ewell and William H. Beezley. Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1989.

Loudet, Osvaldo. Figuras próximas y lejanas, al margen de la historia. Buenos Aires: Academia Argentina de Letras, 1970.

                                            Donna J. Guy

                                        Vicente Palermo