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October 2021

Acta Psiquiatr Psicol Am Lat. 1980 Jun; 26(2): 96-106.

[Hermilio Valdizán, comparative psychiatry and folk medicine]

Mariátegui J.

This paper, a reminder of Hermilio Valdizan's death semicentennial, reviews an aspect of this renowned investigator's work, the formal founder of Psychiatry and the most representative figure of its initial development in Peru. Firstly, it examines the theoretical frame eclosing Valdizan's thought aimed at searching for the Peruvian roots of Medicine and Psychiatry remarking the influence of positivism and the culturalist gravitation. Afterwards, it lingers over a biographical sketch with emphasis laid upon those circumstances that explain the Master's vocational trends and his especial concern on the analysis of Peruvian reality. It reviews Valdizan's innovative contributions to Comparative Psychiatry revealing that his production is considered as the first systematic one in this field in Latin America. It inquires into the sense, orientation, and content of Valdizan's work on Peruvian Traditional Medicine research, the fullest intent on approaching the masses's "sanitarian consciousness" and their closeties with the oral tradition fostered by the conceptions and practice of the healing art in Ancient Peru. Finally, as a distinctive note of this original written production, its main concern on the search for the sense and identity of Peruvian nationality is pointed out. And, after establishing Valdizan's position as the founder of the Peruvian School of Folkloric Medicine, the post-Valdizannian contributions and an actual view of the investigation in this field are concisely and panoramically presented.

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