During his 36-year tenure as professor of epidemiology and microbial diseases at the School of Public Health, Curtis L. Patton, Ph.D., led many research-based efforts aimed at improving public health and served in a number of administrative capacities, including head of the Division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases and acting head of the Division of Global Health.
Now an emeritus professor still prominent both on campus and in the broader community, Patton has received one of this year’s Ivy Awards, annual prizes given to Yale faculty, staff and students whose work enhances understanding and cooperation between the city and university.
The awards were given on April 30 by Yale University President Richard C. Levin and City Chief Administrator Robert Smuts, representing New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr.
In the summer of 2004, Patton was asked by Levin to help re-establish and chair the Minority Affairs Committee, which gives advice on the appropriateness of university policies related to minority groups. Patton also serves as chair of the Committee on International Health, which awards Downs Fellowships to Yale students who undertake biomedical, medical, nursing or public health research in developing countries.
Yale’s recognition of Edward A. Bouchet, Ph.D., Yale College’s first African-American graduate and the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. from an American University, is due in part to Patton. Bouchet became a hero of Patton’s while he was an undergraduate student at Fisk University. Since his arrival at Yale, he has worked to ensure that Bouchet is known throughout the campus and community.
Patton has also worked to celebrate the legacy of Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Creed, M.D., the School of Medicine’s first African-American graduate.
In 2007, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Creed’s graduation from the School of Medicine, Patton and his colleagues organized a series of events culminating in the dedication of a new permanent memorial to Creed at the Grove Street Cemetery.
Six Elm Awards, which are bestowed on members of the New Haven community (the “Elm City”) were also given at the April event. The Elm and Ivy Fund, which endows the awards, was established at Yale in 1979 by Fenmore Seton, a 1938 Yale College graduate, and his wife, Phyllis.