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Heroes of Public Health

George Comstock, MD, DrPH, MPH

George Comstock, MD, DrPH, MPH

Horace Mann's admonition to "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity" is engraved on George Comstock's keychain.

As a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service for 21 years, he served first with the U. S. Coast Guard on shore and at sea. Later, he was with the Research Unit of the Tuberculosis Control Division with major responsibility for the controlled trials of BCG vaccination in Georgia, Alabama, and Puerto Rico, and of preventive treatment of latent tuberculosis infection in Alaska. Results of these studies had major influences on tuberculosis control in the U.S.

For five decades as director of the Johns Hopkins Training Center for Public Health Research in the Washington County Health Department, he supervised the community-wide collection of health-related data and serum specimens that have proved invaluable for research on the identification of risk factors and for long-term longitudinal studies of chronic disease. He also served as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Epidemiology for nine years.