Setting up hospitals in France to serve the medical needs of both the military and the French population was AWH’s first priority. They collaborated with the military, the Red Cross, and the American Committee for a Devastated France to establish, staff, and supply hospitals “over there.”
When they arrived in France, the doctors of AWH found a ravaged countryside and villagers ailing from longstanding health problems made worse by wartime conditions. The doctors of AWH did their medical work under extremely difficult circumstances: scarcity of equipment, improvised spaces, poor transportation, and constant uncertainty and insecurity because the front line of battle was always moving back and forth throughout the countryside. The women physicians were welcomed and appreciated by local villagers, and purposefully cultivated good relations with local French officials.