The forces that led the founding of Joseon focused on medicine as a way of realizing neo-Confucian ideals of government. Medicine thus had to be reorganized to meet new societal needs: 1) to increase accessibility to medical services in line with the neo-Confucian ideal of providing medical care to the people, and 2) to actually advance the field of medicine by way of academic research. King Sejong set out to systematically implement specific plans to resolve the long-standing problems surrounding medicine and medical care. He focused his efforts on restructuring various medical agencies in line with symbolizing the authority of the throne and ensuring the state’s provision of medical care to carry out the spirit of loving the people. In order to raise the standard of medical care, Sejong put his efforts into planning and compiling comprehensive medical texts as well as distributing the books and encouraging their use in education. One of these was Hyangyak jipseongbang, a text covering medicine using only domestic medicinal ingredients; and another was Uibang yuchwi, which presented in its introduction the direction towards which the field of medicine in Joseon should strive to proceed—academically rigorous learning, medical-text-based clinical practice, and high ethical standards of all medical personnel. Sejong’s visions formed the foundation of the health system of Joseon, which would lead to the publication of Dongui bogam more than 200 years later.
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