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Heroes of Public Health

Henry E. Sigerist, MD, PhD

Henry E. Sigerist, MD, PhD

As a prolific scholar and the preeminent medical historian of the early part of this century, Henry Sigerist wrote several important works on the history of public health, including Landmarks in the History of Hygiene. He was named William Henry Welch Professor of the History of Medicine at Hopkins in 1932.

Dr. Sigerist was an inspirational teacher who drew hundreds of students to his classes. He influenced many of them to become advocates of more equitable access to medical care.

He also was a strong supporter of government funding of medical care through national health insurance or national health service. As head of the Sigerist Commission to survey the health needs of Saskatchewan, he designed the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Plan, the first significant step in the creation of Canada's national health system.

Dr. Sigerist was vocal in his support of a national health program, appearing frequently on radio and, eventually, television programs. He was featured in TIME magazine for his influence on a generation of providers of medical care.