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George W. Comstock

In 1962, Comstock founded the Johns Hopkins Training Center for Public Health Research and Prevention in Hagerstown, Maryland. For the next 42 years, Comstock oversaw community-based research studies on numerous diseases including cancer, heart disease and eye disease. The Center was renamed in Comstock’s honor in 2005 and is an important focus for research and training in epidemiology engaging numerous faculty, students and staff in collaboration with the community of promoting disease prevention.

George Comstock frequently quoted these words from Horace Mann’s 1859 commencement speech at Antioch College:  “I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts these my parting words: Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” This struck him as the main purpose of living; as Comstock said, “Most of us aren't going to win any big victories, but we can win little ones every day, and they mount up.”  In tuberculosis control, in chronic disease epidemiology, in education of students from all corners of the globe, his goal was to win these victories.  And living this way he was, as he often said, “lucky all my life.”

This web page provides an overview celebrating some of George’s multi-faceted achievements:

  • Other research in cardiovascular disease, cancer and environmental health
  • Watch "Lucky All My Life" a look at the life and career of George W. Comstock