The hygienist and sociologist Louis-René Villermé (1782-1863): a pioneer of occupational medicine.
Authors: Tsoucalas G,Kousoulis AA,Karamanou M,Stamboulis E,Androutsos G,
Address: History of Medicine Department, Medical School, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
Journal: Med Lav.
Publication: 2012 Jul-Aug;103(4):243-8.
Louis-René Villermé's work and research have ranked him among The most important figures in the history of occupational medicine.
The aims of this article were to objectively record the influence and the impact of Villermé's life and work on the establishment of occupational medicine.
A thorough analysis of scientific and historical literature on the subject was conducted. The authors paid special attention to primary French sources.
Louis-René Villermé was born in Paris in 10 March 1782. Taking advantage of his good fortune and financial prosperity, due to the recognition of his initial work, he progressed efficiently and with decision towards a new way of thinking. He stressed the importance of observation of the social environment, the role of investigations on lack of hygiene, the significance of statistical recording and the study of demographic statistics, and devoted himself to the labour force's health problems. He died in his homestead on 16 November 1863.
Villermé lived an intense life full of activity, social work and travel. His support of the working classes' rights, his opposition to child labour and gender inequality, and his fight for humane conditions in prisons remain diachronic ideals. He provided a reference model for socio-medical research and contributed to the establishment of the new scientific discipline, Occupational Medicine.
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