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History

Bloomberg School Timeline

1916-Present

From its June 13, 1916, birth as the world's first independent degree-granting school of public health, the Bloomberg School has made history with trailblazing research, education, and practice.

1916

William Henry Welch, MD, and Johns Hopkins University receive $267,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation to found the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, the world’s first independent graduate school of public health. The grant application cites Baltimore’s tremendous health problems, which disproportionately impacted the city’s segregated Black population, as an asset for conducting public health research.

1917

William Henry Howell, MD, is appointed the first faculty member and founding chair of the Department of Physiological Hygiene.

1917-18

First academic departments in the world are established in immunology, epidemiology and public health administration. JHSPH becomes the first school of public health to establish departments of statistics, bacteriology, chemical hygiene (biochemistry) and sanitary engineering.

1918

First classes are held on October 1, 1918, in the School of Medicine’s physics lab on West Monument Street. Of 16 students, 3 are women and 3 are foreign citizens (from Brazil and Trinidad). Nine of the 32 faculty are women.

1919

Nathan Berman is the first of 3 Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) recipients who constitute the first graduating class.

1920

Margaret Baxter MacDonald and Helen Mary Powell, the School’s first women graduates, are awarded bachelor of science in hygiene degrees.

Certificate in Public Health (CPH) degree is established (renamed the Master of Public Health in 1939).

Welch founds the first public health research journal, the American Journal of Hygiene (renamed the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1965).

1922

Elmer V. McCollum, PhD, founding chair of Biochemistry, discovers vitamin D and its role in preventing rickets. Before coming to JHSPH in 1917, he and Marguerite Davis co-discovered vitamins A and B in 1913 and devised the vitamin nomenclature system.

1926

The School’s first building on Wolfe Street formally opens on October 22, 1926.

1927

Raymond Pearl, PhD, founding chair of what is now Biostatistics, becomes the first American biologist to publicly refute eugenics as bad science. Pearl and Welch were among several early faculty who had advocated eugenics, a form of scientific racism that advocated laws to restrict immigration and require compulsory sterilization of people with physical and mental disabilities including epilepsy and substance abuse problems.

1930

After Lowell J. Reed, PhD, is appointed chair of Vital Statistics, he renames it the Department of Biostatistics—the first of its kind worldwide. He serves as dean from 1938 to 1946.

1932

U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) begins its Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, which observed 624 Black men from rural Alabama who had or later developed syphilis. J. E. Moore, a renowned syphilologist at the School of Medicine who also directed the Division of Venereal Disease Control in what is now Health Policy and Management, was a senior consultant to the study, independent of his university affiliation. USPHS doctors intentionally deceived the study participants by telling them they were receiving “special free treatment” for their “bad blood,” yet failed to obtain their informed consent or to provide treatment for decades, even after the advent of penicillin.

1934

First nurse to graduate from JHSPH: Margaret Gene Arnstein, MA, MPH ’34.

1935

Congress provides federal public health training grants under the Social Security Act, which doubles CPH enrollment at JHSPH.

1936

USPHS awards the first federal public health training grant to JHSPH, $10,000 annually for a graduate program in syphilis control.

1938

Pearl publishes evidence in Science that life expectancy correlates inversely with smoking levels.

1939

JHSPH begins offering the Master of Public Health degree.

1941

JHSPH launches the world’s first academic unit in public mental health. It becomes the Department of Mental Hygiene in 1961.

Dean Reed convenes public health deans at the School to found the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH), and they elect him president.

1941

Baltimore City Health Department appoints Miriam E. Brailey, MD, DrPH ’31, to head the Bureau of Tuberculosis. After demonstrating that Maryland Blacks suffer four times higher mortality from TB than whites but were allotted only one-third as many sanatoria beds, Brailey helps design Maryland’s new tuberculosis control program.

1942

After developing the first effective pertussis vaccine in 1939, alumnae Pearl Kendrick, ScD ’32, and Grace Eldering, ScD ’42, combine three key childhood vaccines into a single shot: the DPT vaccine.

JHSPH establishes its first research institute, the Center for Research on Poliomyelitis and Virus Diseases. Howard Howe, MD, David Bodian, MD, PhD, and Isabel Morgan, PhD, investigate the pathology of polio, contributing toward Jonas Salk's vaccine.

1946

Johns Hopkins University’s first African-American graduate is USPHS officer Reginald G. James, MD, MPH ’46. For 25 years after the School opened, Black Baltimore physicians in the Monumental City Medical Society had lobbied for admission, but JHSPH adhered to JHU’s whites-only policy. Yet JHSPH did admit many international students and rejected the era’s widespread anti-Semitism.

1948

Informed by JHSPH faculty, the General Assembly passes the Maryland Medical Care Plan to serve low-income residents. It influences other states and later Medicare and Medicaid, which extend medical care access to millions previously excluded by low income and/or racial discrimination.

1947

After leading the world’s first successful mosquito eradication campaign in Brazil, Fred L. Soper, ScD ’25, champions the use of DDT in vector control of insect-borne diseases. In 1963, Pearl’s former student, Rachel Carson, warns against DDT’s dangers in the environmental movement manifesto Silent Spring.

1950

JHSPH founds the world’s first department of environmental medicine.

1951

Alexander Langmuir, MD, MPH ’40, establishes the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service to protect against biological warfare and manmade epidemics.

1953

UN demographers Chidambara Chandrasekaran, MPH ’48, and Margaret Bright, PhD, publish the first synthesis of world population data. Bright joins the Chronic Diseases faculty in 1959.

1955

Frederik B. Bang, MD, chair of the Department of Pathobiology, initiates research on viruses as cancer agents and introduces the first JHU courses on electron microscopy.

1957

First woman full professor at JHSPH: Margaret Merrell, ScD ’30, in biostatistics.

Dean Ernest Stebbins, MD, MPH ’32, leads a JHSPH faculty revolt to defeat the recommendation of the Committee to Reconsider the Educational Objectives of the School to eliminate the MPH. As ASPH president, he successfully lobbies Congress to provide federal tuition subsidies to schools of public health.

Based on findings by the USPHS Study Group on Smoking, including Morton L. Levin, MPH ’33, Abraham Lilienfeld, MPH ’49, and Lewis C. Robbins, MPH ’38, Surgeon General Leroy Burney, ScM ’32, states that “excessive smoking is one of the causative factors in lung cancer.”

1959

Helen Abbey, ScD ’51, co-authors one of the first studies of heredity in breast cancer.

1961

With a USAID grant, JHSPH establishes the world’s first academic unit in international health, which serves as the agency’s health research and training arm. It becomes a department in 1967.

1962

First PhD programs established in biochemistry, biostatistics, environmental medicine and radiological science.

JHSPH launches the General Preventive Medicine Residency, the first board-certified graduate medical training program at a school of public health.

1964

First Black JHSPH faculty member: Ralph Young, MD, in Chronic Diseases (later merged with Epidemiology).

1965

First PhD graduate: Clyde Martin, Alfred Kinsey’s co-author on landmark sexuality studies.

1968

First Black full professor at JHSPH and JHU: M. Alfred Haynes, MD, in International Health. Haynes advocates for diversifying medical education and becomes founding dean of Charles Drew Graduate School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

1972

David Paige, MD, MPH ’69, and the Maryland Food Bank establish an iron-fortified infant formula program in Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood. It is expanded statewide, and in 1974 becomes a model for the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition supplementation program. Of 8.8 million WIC recipients in 2016, 1.8 million (21%) are African American and 906,698 (10%) are American Indian/Alaskan Natives.

1973

John E. Wennberg, MD, MPH ’66, and Biostatistics faculty member Alan Gittelsohn, PhD, MPH, write in Science about regional variations in cost and utilization of medical care, paving the way to major reforms in health care delivery and financing.

First public health undergraduate major established at Johns Hopkins.

Alan M. Goldberg, PhD, John Fales, PhD, and postdoctoral fellow Ellen K. Silbergeld, PhD, publish the first studies linking low-level exposure to lead with hyperactivity and other childhood disorders.

1977

Edyth Schoenrich, MD, MPH ’71, becomes the highest-ranking woman in JHU history to that time when she is appointed Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

1978

First Assistant Dean for Student Affairs: Edgar Roulhac, PhD, MPH ’75. He is later the first African American associate dean and vice provost at JHU.

1979

World’s first graduate program in genetic epidemiology established by Bernice Cohen, MD, MPH ’59 and Epidemiology chair Abe Lilienfeld, with Victor McKusick, MD, of the School of Medicine.

1980s

Much of the Department of Epidemiology’s survey research in the 1980s and 90s was conducted by Black women working for the Baltimore Survey Research Center.

1980

After a decade-long global campaign led by D. A. Henderson, MD, MPH ’60, WHO declares smallpox eradicated worldwide. Henderson serves as dean from 1977 to 1990.

1981

Women comprise a majority of the School’s graduates for the first time.

1983

First woman department chair at JHSPH or JHU: Karen Davis, PhD, in Health Policy and Management.

UNICEF director Jim Grant announces his strategy for a “child survival revolution”—mass campaigns to deliver immunizations, treat diarrheal disease with oral rehydration solution, and promote breastfeeding and nutritional supplementation throughout the developing world. The research and advocacy of JHSPH faculty and alumni play a key role in the success of the child survival revolution, which cuts global mortality of children under age 5 by more than half between 1980 and 2010.

1984

The Multisite AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) begins, with the Baltimore site at JHSPH. MACS becomes the longest-running AIDS research cohort study and generates more than 1,400 publications on the natural history, pathology, epidemiology, and social and behavioral determinants of HIV/AIDS. JHSPH hosts the MACS Data Center and the Johns Hopkins Biological Repository, which provide study data and biologic specimens to AIDS researchers around the world.

1986

Prior to becoming dean in 1990, Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS ’73, discovers that high-dose vitamin A supplementation reduces child mortality in developing countries by 34 percent. His evidence-based advocacy helps to convince the WHO, UNICEF, and other global health agencies to adopt vitamin A supplementation as an inexpensive means of saving millions of lives.


1986

Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, co-authors the first bioethics textbook, A History and Theory of Informed Consent. The book deals extensively with the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which ended in 1972 after publication of a New York Times exposé. Faden’s co-author and husband, Tom L. Beauchamp, PhD, was lead author of the 1978 Belmont Report issued by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, a catalyst for creating the modern Institutional Review Board system and the field of bioethics. In 1995, Faden becomes founding director of the Berman Institute for Bioethics at the School.

1987

Susan P. Baker, MPH ’68, co-author of the Institute of Medicine report Injury in America, receives a CDC grant to establish the Injury Prevention Center at JHSPH, one of five such units. Baker, her students, and center faculty lead in establishing the public health field of injury prevention.

1989

As founding director of the FDA Division of Anti-Viral Drug Products, Ellen C. Cooper, MD, MPH ’77, fast-tracks approval of AZT, the first effective HIV therapy. The move, made in response to AIDS activists, opens the way for reforms that shorten the Food and Drug Administration’s timetable for vaccine approval.

1994

JHSPH is ranked No. 1 in the first U.S. News & World Report rankings of schools of public health, and retains the honor through the most recent ranking in March 2015.

Under Health Commissioner Peter L. Beilenson, MD, MPH ’90, the Baltimore City Health Department initiates a needle-exchange program, informed by JHSPH research on HIV infection among gay and bisexual male injection drug users. The needle-exchange program was a key factor in reducing the HIV rate among Baltimore’s injection drug users from 53 percent in 1992 to 12 percent in 2011.

1999

With CDC funding, JHSPH becomes the first school of public health to launch an online MPH program. Over the next decade, JHSPH becomes the world’s largest nonprofit online provider of public health education.

2001

The School is renamed the Bloomberg School of Public Health in honor of Michael R. Bloomberg’s unprecedented commitment of energy and financial support to the School and Johns Hopkins University.

2005

JHSPH establishes SOURCE (Student Outreach Resource Center), which anchors the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions’ commitment to service-learning and community partnerships. For its service to Baltimore community organizations, SOURCE receives the inaugural Harrison C. Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health in 2019.

JHSPH welcomes Tulane MPH students fleeing New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

2008

The School offers more than 75 free online courses, opening public health .

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Josh Sharfstein, MD, works with the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute to issue the first report documenting how Baltimore zip codes affect life expectancy. The life expectancy in the impoverished, majority-Black neighborhood of Hollins Market is 63 years but in wealthy, mostly white Roland Park, it is 83.

2010

The Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree is established.

2012

The School establishes the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, the first academic center dedicated to a public health approach to child sexual abuse.

The School begins a collaboration with Coursera, a for-profit provider of massive online open courses (MOOCs). By January 2017, cumulative enrollment in the School’s 57 MOOCs exceeds 5.2 million.

Dean Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH ’87, joins Twitter and helps Johns Hopkins become the most-followed school of public health on Facebook and Twitter, with a combined 480,000 followers by 2017.

2013

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which killed 28 people, the Center for Gun Policy and Research, JHSPH and the University convene top gun policy experts to identify research-based policies to reduce gun violence in the United States. Within a month of the summit, Johns Hopkins University Press publishes Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis and sends copies to members of Congress and the Obama administration.

2015-2016

The School celebrates its Centennial, culminating in a $300 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies to establish the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. The Initiative focuses on reversing the decline in American life expectancy through research and advocacy on the key areas of Addiction & Overdose, Adolescent Health, Environmental Challenges, Obesity & the Food System, and Violence.

2017

Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75, renowned for her research on traumatic injury prevention and care systems, becomes the School’s first woman dean.

2019

The Bloomberg School offers a fully online MPH program for the first time.

2020-2021

The School plays a significant role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.