The Role of Dr. Amīr Khān Amīr-A’lam in the Modernization of Health and Medicine in Iran based on Legal Documents

Document Type : Original Article


Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Iranian Studies Department, Humanities Faculty, Meybod University, Meybod, Iran


Amīr Khān Amīr-A’lam (1876-1961) can be considered the icon of modern Iranian medicine. Several books and articles have been written about him and various aspects of his professional life have been studied. However, the author of this article, by accessing a collection of newly found documents, has obtained new and interesting information on the modernization of health and medicine and the role of Amīr-A’lam in it. Relying on the accepted methods of historical and documentary research, the author has first introduced and analyzed these documents and then has tried to present, classify and analyze the new information in fields such as the role of Amīr-A’lam in the modernization of military medicine, the establishment of the first women’s hospital, reconstruction of Razavi Dār al-Shafā and finally the establishment and expansion of Iran’s Jamiat-e Shir-o Khorshid (lit. Lion and Sun Society of Iran). These documents show what the state of military medicine was like before modernization, how Amīr-A’lam’s altruistic actions led to the establishment of the Women and Children Hospital, and what obstacles and problems Amīr-A’lam faced in rebuilding the Razavi Dār al-Shafā. Also, for the first time, the establishment and expansion of Iran’s Jamiat-e Shir-o Khorshid, which later became Iran’s Red Crescent Society, is narrated by Amīr-A’lam.


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