Public Health at Yale

The Department of Public Health at Yale, the predecessor to the Yale School of Public Health, was founded in 1915. Previously, the medical school had an active bacteriological laboratory, and both bacteriology and sanitary science were part of the Medical School curriculum. Irving Fisher, professor of political economy, suggested in 1907 that with the combined resources of the Medical School, the Sheffield Scientific School, and the Department of Economics, Yale could offer a program to train health officers for work in public health. A proposal was drafted by Fisher, George Blumer, professor of medicine, and Lafayette B. Mendel, professor of physiological chemistry, but was rejected as too unfocussed.

In 1914, in response to the fundraising campaign at the Centennial of the Medical School, the family of Anna M.R. Lauder donated the then large sum of $500,000 to endow a chair of public health. The recipient was to be a physician who would be an advocate for public health and lead the reform of the Board of Health and public health legislation in the state of Connecticut. Charles-Edward Amory Winslow was appointed to the Anna M.R. Lauder Chair of Public Health in 1915.