Public Health at Yale, 1880s-1960

Epidemiology at Yale, 1930s-1960

Epidemiology and Public Health, 1960-2001

Cushing/Whitney Medical Library

Historical Library


Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale: A Yale Tercentennial Exhibit


Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH), 1960-2001

In 1960, the former Department of Public Health and the Section on Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine were combined to form a single Department of Epidemiology and Public Health that remained an integral part of the medical school but also functioned as a separate school of public health.


Anthony Monck-Mason Payne, first chairman, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, 1960-1966

Anthony M.-M. Payne, a British physician and epidemiologist, was appointed professor of Public Health and Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in July 1960. Payne was previously Chief Medical Officer of the Epidemic Diseases Division of the World Health Organization where he directed worldwide studies on viral diseases. He oversaw the merging of departments to form EPH and the reorganization of the degree programs. In 1962, the M.P.H program became a two year program. His chairmanship also saw the building of and move into the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Public Health (LEPH). Payne left Yale in 1967 to return to W.H.O.


Laboratory of Epidemiology and Public Health (LEPH), completed 1964, dedicated 1965

The Laboratory of Public Health was built with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation and matching funds from the University, the Avalon and Johnson Foundations, and the Baroness von Eberfeld. The first illustration is of the brochure that was handed out at the dedication of LEPH in 1965, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Department of Public Health. The second illustration is the program for the symposium at the dedication.


World Health Organization Serum Bank at Yale

In 1961, the World Health Organization organized at Yale one of three reference serum banks in 1961. It was the only WHO serum bank in the Western Hemisphere. John Rodman Paul served as first director until 1966. In this photograph at the Yale Reference Serum Bank, taken in 1964, Mrs. Marie Pisano, research assistant, and Dr. Raul R. Cuadrado are testing blood samples from Peace Corps volunteers before their departure overseas. These samples were to be compared with samples taken after the volunteers had lived at their stations for a time and after they returned home.



Yale Arbovirus Research Unit, 1964

In 1961, the Rockefeller Foundation Viral Laboratories began an association with the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. The Rockefeller Foundation arranged to move its viral laboratories from New York to the Department and to fund a major part of constructing LEPH to house the them and the Department. In 1964 the Rockefeller Foundation Viral Laboratories moved to the new building and became the Yale Arbovirus Research Unit (YARU), funded in part by the Rockefeller Foundation. This brought to Yale a group of the world's leading authorities on arthropod-borne (insects and ticks) virus infections including Nobel prize winner Max Theiler, professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale from 1964 to 1967. YARU was recognized by the World Health Organization as the International Reference Centre for Arboviruses. In this book by Max Theiler and Wilbur G. Downs, Director of YARU, published in 1973, Theiler reviewed research on arboviruses funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.


Edward M. Cohart (1909-1994), Chairman of EPH, 1966-1968

Edward Maurice Cohart, a member of the department since 1948, was appointed Chairman in 1966. Cohart received his M.D. degree from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1935 and practiced medicine in Brooklyn. After serving in the preventive medicine branch of the army during the war, Cohart obtained an M.P.H. degree from Columbia University in 1947. He served as health officer with the New York City Health Department and as cancer Control Consultant with the U.S. Public Health Service before coming to Yale in 1948. In 1961, he was named the first incumbent of the new Charles-Edward Amory Winslow Professorship of Public Health, a professorship he continued to hold after his chairmanship.


Adrian M. Ostfeld, Chairman of EPH, 1968-1969

Adrian M. Ostfeld was appointed Chairman of the Department of EPH and Anna M.R. Lauder professor in September 1968. A medical graduate of Washington University, St. Louis in 1951, Ostfeld had been the head of the department of preventive and community medicine at the University of Illinois before coming to Yale and remained at Yale after his brief chairmanship. Ostfeld was internationally known for his research on the epidemiology of coronary heart disease, stroke, and aging, and was head of the Yale Health and Aging Project. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1987.


Robert Wayne McCollum, Chairman of EPH, 1969-1982

Robert W. McCollum, who became a member of Section of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine in 1951, was appointed Chairman of Epidemiology and Public Health in 1969. He received his M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1948 and a D.P.H. from the University of London in 1958. He was noted for his work on viral infections, especially hepatitis, infectious mononucleosis, mumps, and rubella.


Hospital Administration Program, Faculty and Students, Class of 1972
John D. Thompson (1917-1992), Director

The Hospital Adminstration Program, first established in the Department of Public Health in 1947, was headed by John Devereaux Thompson from 1961 to 1988. During that time this eccentric, irreverent, and inspirational teacher had trained some 500 students. Thompson began his career as a nurse. After receiving a master's degree in the program in hospital administration at Yale in 1950, Thompson gained experience through visiting hospitals in Europe and serving as assistant director of Montefiore Hospital. He returned to Yale in 1956. With his colleague Robert Fetter, Thompson developed the now familiar Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs) for coding medical treatments.

First row: Robert Morisse, faculty; Dr. Samuel B. Webb, Jr., faculty; John A. Drew, Captain Gerald A. Starr; Professor John D. Thompson, program director; Dr. George A. Silver, faculty; Sister Geraldine Coleman; Dr. Rosemary Stevens, faculty; Charles Womer, faculty; Dr. David A. Pearson, faculty.
Second row: Eugene A. Richardson, Carl A. Cappello, Laurence A., Tanner.
Third row: John P. Weber, Kent Stevens,, Paul C. Bushnell, Henry P. Fenhagen, Steven H. Beloff
Fourth row: Capt. Frederick A. Vago, Gerald Miller.


Jan A.J. Stolwijk, Chairman of EPH, 1982-1989

Jan A.J. Stolwijk, a biophysicist, received his Ph.D. from the State Agricultural university, Wageninen, in his native country, The Netherlands. He was an associate fellow and then a fellow of the John B. Pierce Laboratory from 1957 to 1974, and associate director from 1974 to 1988. His research has been in the areas of occupational health and environmental epidemiology. In addition to his service as Chairman from 1982 to 1989, he was briefly acting chair before the appointment of the current chair. Stolwijk is now Susan Dwight Bliss Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology and Public Health.


Turner Report, 1989

In 1989, the University appointed a committee, chaired by Provost Frank M. Turner, to consider the future of EPH. The Turner Report affirmed the University's support of EPH, recommended that EPH should remain a department of the Medical School, and suggested measures to strengthen teaching and research in public health. It called for the recruiting of additional faculty, a revision of the curriculum, and for a more stringent process for admitting a smaller class of students.


Burton H. Singer, Chairman of EPH, 1989-1994

Burton H. Singer, an expert in tropical disease research, was appointed chairman of EPH in 1989 with the mission to carry out the recommendations of the Turner Report on the future of EPH. Singer held a Ph.D. in statistics from Stanford University. Before joining the faculty of EPH in 1983, he been chair of the Department of Statistics at Columbia University and chair of a WHO steering committee for social and economic research in tropical diseases. Singer was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


Epidemiology Faculty, May 1989

First row, left to right: Rebecca Risse-Hesse, Wilbur G. Downs, Curtis L. Patton, Dorothy M. Horstmann, James C. Neiderman, I. George Miller, Jr., Alfred E. Evans, Robert E. Shope.
Second row, left to right: Thomas A.G. Aitken, Yuhua Zhang, Edward M. Opton, Diane McMahon Pratt, Lisa Berkman, Peter Mason, Ya Zhang (postdoctoral fellow).
Third row, left to right: G. Grimaldi (postdoctoral fellow); Dwight T. Janerich, Robert C. Wallis, Robert B. Tesh, Thomas Burrage, Nancy H. Ruddle.


Michael H. Merson, Chairman and Dean of EPH, 1996-