Soviet Physicians Visit to the 9th International Pediatric Congress in Montreal (1959)

Juris Salaks, Kaspars Antonovičs (Coresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Objectives: To examine of the group report of a delegation of pediatricians
from the Soviet Union to the USSR Minister of Health on a business trip to Canada
to participate in the 9th International Pediatric Congress in Canada.
Materials and methods: General methodological approaches to historical and
medical research with the use of the problem-chronological method
Results: The International Pediatric Association (IPA) was formed in Paris in
1910 by a group of European pediatricians who assembled for the First International
Congress of Pediatrics in Paris in 1912. The 9th Congress of the IPA took
place in July 19—25, 1959 in Montreal. A group of 15 Soviet pediatricians on
leadership of the Professor Michael Maslov, president of the society of the children
physicians of Leningrad, have visited the 9th IPA Congress in Montreal.
The business trip included visits to other cities in Canada. The first stop was in
Ottawa where the Soviet delegation visited pediatric clinic of the Medical Faculty of
the University of Ottawa, and also arranged meetings in Parliament and the Senate.
In Toronto, special attention of the delegation was attracted by the fact that
in the pediatric clinic of the Faculty of Medicine of the Toronto University there
is no breastfeeding and nutrition of children, both infants and premature babies,
is excluded.
The Montreal Congress brought together over 1,600 delegates from
70 countries and over 700 guests. The USA was especially richly represented.
The attention to the Soviet delegation is evidenced by the fact that already on
the first day of the delegation‘s stay in Montreal, a meeting with the press was
organized and a large interview with prof. Maslov. In addition, a television program
was organized in the form of an interview with professors M. Maslov,
prof. Y. Dombrovskoy (Moscow) and prof. A. Biezins (Riga).
The program of the congress included 36 sections in which 528 scientific
reports were presented. 14 reports were presented by the Soviet delegation and
two of them were accompanied by a demonstration of medical films (A. Biezins,
A. Tour). The program of the congress included visits of medical establishments
in Montreal, including the the largest mother and child centre in Canada and one
of the most important pediatric centres in North America, and the famous stress
laboratory of prof. Hans Selye. An extensive social program allowed the delegation
to establish professional contacts with colleagues from many countries,
especially from the USA.
Conclusions: The participation of the Soviet pediatricians in the 9th International
Congress of Pediatricians in Montreal and visits to the pediatric clinics
in Ottawa and Toronto were well organized and held at the highest professional
and political levels. This is the merit of the professional recognition of the head
of the delegation, prof. Maslov, personal supervision of the visit by the Minister
of Health of the USSR and in the responsiveness and understanding of the
Canadian colleagues. The conclusions of the delegation are critical in relation
to the development of present Soviet pediatrics and propose specific actions to
improve the situation in the country. The appearance of such a frank and non-ideological
report to the minister can be explained by the international authority of
prof. Maslov and it fits into the concept of the „Khrushchev thaw“ in the field of
humanitarian and professional foreign relations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
Event47th Congress of the International Society for the History of Medicine - RSU Anatomy Museum, Riga, Latvia
Duration: 23 Aug 202127 Aug 2021
Conference number: 47


Congress47th Congress of the International Society for the History of Medicine
Abbreviated titleISHM
Internet address

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine
  • 3.5 Other medical sciences

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)


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