Support for the Development of the Pap Smear Test: The Commonwealth Fund, 1941

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


The support that the physician George Papanicolaou, who studied chromosomes and sex determination at Cornell Medical College, in New York, recieved from the Commonwealth Fund, which provided him with over $120,000 between 1941 and 1951 was of critical importance in allowing him to develop the Pap Test and prove its efficacy. As early as 1960, the American Cancer Society estimated that over 6 million American women had received Pap Tests (named for Dr. Papanicolaou), and that deaths from uterine cancer had been reduced to half of what they would otherwise have been. Today, the Pap Smear Test is a routine part of every gynecological checkup.



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