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The Work We Do
- Lives in Public Health38 Photos
- Tick Collection in Mansfield, CT8 Photos
- The Art of Public Health29 Photos
- Big Food: Health, Culture and the Evolution of Eating20 Photos
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- Research Findings9 Photos
This is YSPH
- The Yale School of Public Health is one of the smallest accredited schools of public health in the United States. Each M.P.H. class has around 120 students, a size that fosters close ties with classmates and faculty, who in turn form the foundation of their career network upon graduation. Students have ample opportunity to meet and work directly with our faculty, 75 of whom teach as well as do research. Formal relationships are forged through academic advising, internship planning and the thesis project.
- Founded in 1915 by Charles-Edward Amory Winslow, the Yale School of Public Health is among the oldest schools of public health in the country. During its history, the School has made many important health contributions, including environmental sanitation, polio and cancer and has trained thousands of researchers, practitioners, administrators and educators. As the School approaches its centennial, it continues to draw upon this rich history and tradition as it evolves to meet the health challenges of the 21st century.
- Each spring students fan out across the globe for their internship project which becomes a defining experience for most students, exposing them to real-world challenges and giving them a chance to directly apply what they have learned in the classroom. It is, says Dean Paul D. Cleary, a chance “to make a difference in the lives of people.” Shown here: Margo Klar adjusts a monitor in a Honduran kitchen that measures particulate matter in the air. Klar studied the health effects of traditional wood burning stoves on the respiratory system.
- Community service is a shared value not just at the Yale School of Public health but throughout the University at large. The Office of Community Health, HealthCore, the Yale Student-Run Free Clinic and the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) are just a few of the many organizations committed to improving lives in New Haven and beyond. Shown here: Alumnus Mikhail C.S.S. Higgins educates New Haven elementary school students about health during a community fair conducted in partnership with the Hill Health Center.
- The School’s commitment to diversity is seen through research, teaching and community outreach. Our scientists investigate the role of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and other factors in health outcomes. One study seeks to reverse rates of chronic disease in New Haven’s most underserved neighborhoods. The School is also committed to diversifying its faculty and student body and provides research supplements and scholarships to achieve these goals. Shown here: MPH students hike to the top of East Rock Park.
- Today our research spans a wide range of topics including cancer, AIDS, pollution, infectious and chronic diseases, and health policy. For the 2010 fiscal year, total grant funding reached over $41 million and made up 70 percent of the school’s budget. Shown here: Yong Zhu, an associate professor in Environmental Health Sciences, uses genetic techniques to identify biomarkers that characterize an inherited predisposition toward certain diseases.
Our Ph.D. program is ranked among the very best in the country. The National Research Council weighed a variety of academic criteria to determine that Yale’s program ranked third nationwide. Ph.D. students are encouraged to engage in interdisciplinary research and to conduct dissertation research abroad. Academic Analytics, meanwhile, ranked YSPH faculty the most productive of all the schools of public health in the country.
- Global health is public health and Yale students are exposed to a growing array of global health programs and opportunities. At the School of Public Health, a Global Health Concentration is available for any M.P.H. candidate seeking to broaden and enhance their core studies. At the University level, even more programs, seminars and lectures are available throughout the year for students seeking a global perspective. Shown here: Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Shirleaf, a partner with the Global Health Leadership Initiative, speaks at Battell Chapel.
- “Don’t Fence Me,” sang first lady of song, Ella Fitzgerald (Yale Honorary Doctorate, 1986). We recognize that public health intersects with law, environmental studies, social sciences, genomics, spirituality, economics, medical practice and more and so many joint degrees are offered. Shown here: Public health students conduct field studies on mosquitoes and how they transmit disease on the island of Dominica.
- In addition to the teaching faculty, YSPH employs hundreds of research scientists and assistants in its 14 research units and associated labs. M.P.H. students are just as likely as Ph.D. candidates to work alongside these mentors in researching chronic disease epidemiology, microbial diseases and more. Shown here: Elizabeth Claus, a professor in the Biostatistics division and an attending neurosurgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, reviews data with students.
- Some of the world’s foremost public health authorities visit the School, offering intriguing and challenging views on today’s most pressing health issues. Recently lecturers included John Negroponte (right), former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Margaret Hamburg (center), commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Sir Michael Marmot (left), a renowned researcher whose Whitehall studies in England clearly established a link between social class and health.
- The Vector Ecology Laboratory, housed in the division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, maintains a laboratory colony of I. scapularis (known as the deer tick), and is a leader in both field- and laboratory-based studies on tick-borne pathogens, as well as other vector-borne diseases such as dengue fever and West Nile virus. The Emerging Infections Program, meanwhile, is developing a surveillance system for tick-borne diseases (TBDs) that includes active physician and laboratory surveillance for TBDs and population-based studies.
- From the School’s early days, women have played a vital role in advancing public health. In the 1940s, Dorothy Horstmann broke gender barriers while demonstrating that the polio virus reached the nervous system by way of the blood, a discovery that contributed to the development of an oral vaccine. Today, women hold some of the most senior positions at the School and are engaged in research that has health implications for everyone. Shown here: Dorothy Horstmann, Elizabeth Bradley and Serap Aksoy.
- Our 4,000-plus alumni remain an integral part of the YSPH community long after earning their degrees. Alumni share their experiences through career service events, recruitment events, mentoring job-seeking students and serving as preceptors for summer internships. Graduates take advantage of the Public Health Career Board and Yale Career Network as well as to recharge their enthusiasm at the annual alumni symposium and awards luncheon. Shown here: Alumnus John Brownstein, PhD '04, helped to create a health map to provide timely and accurate data on disease outbreaks.
- School of Public Health students have the rest of a remarkable University at their disposal. With well over 10,000 students, 167,000 living alumni and close to 13 million volumes in its libraries, Yale has something to offer every academic interest. YSPH students are encouraged to take advantage of these rich opportunities through interdisciplinary studies. The campus is also renowned for its beauty with Gothic architecture enclosing quiet courtyards. University galleries, museums and forums with eminent speakers further enhance the student experience.
- Established in 1638, New Haven is known for its rich history and great food. Home to Noah Webster, Eli Whitney and Samuel Colt, the city was a hub of activity during the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Today, it is a cultural and entertainment destination. Dining options include the famous Pepe’s and Sally’s pizzerias to numerous Zagat-rated restaurants. The medical community also congregates at the New York Times-reviewed lunch carts which feature everything from Benagali burritos, falafel, pad thai, to the all-American hamburger.
Public Health at Yale 1880s - 1960s
- Charles A. Lindsley, served as Dean of Yale Medical School 1863-1885. In his later years, he was especially devoted to issues of public health, including vital statistics, sanitary science, and preventive medicine. He played an important role in reorganizing the city's Board of Health in 1872 and served as its health officer from 1873 to 1888. He was also secretary in the Connecticut State Board of Health, organized in 1874, and served a term as President of the American Public Health Association.
- William Henry Brewer, professor of agriculture in the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale, lectured on sanitary science and public health at the Medical School from 1886 to 1898.
- The bacteriological laboratory at 150 York Street also functioned as a hygienic laboratory for the Connecticut State Board of Health. Testing of water supplies and laboratory research related to water pollution and typhoid fever, was carried out by Charles A. Lindsley, former dean then serving as Secretary of the State Board of Health, Dean Herbert E. Smith, Samuel Williston, Thomas C. Lee, and Charles J. Foote. Later Charles Bartlett examined milk supplies for the New Haven Board of Health. Photograph taken before 1909.
C-E.A. Winslow was Yale's first Chairman of Public Health and first holder of the Anna M.R. Lauder Professorship in 1915. The Lauder bequest had specified that the recipient should be a physician who would be an advocate for public health and who, specifically, would reform public health in Connecticut. Although Winslow was not a physician, he was an ideal choice to carry out the terms of the donors. He had received a BA in 1898 and a MS in 1910, under William H. Sedgwick, and American pioneer in bacteriology and sanitary science. Before coming to Yale, Winslow had held teaching posts at MIT and the College of the City of New York, served as curator of public health at the American Museum of Natural History, and was in charge of public affairs for the New York City Board of Health under Herman Biggs. Winslow's department at Yale served as a catalyst for health reform in Connecticut and led the drive to transform the State Board of Health into a Department of Health. A world-renowned public health authority and a proponent of social medicine, Winslow influenced health policies locally, nationally, and internationally. He wrote nearly 600 books and articles on bacteriology, sanitation, public health, and health care administration and served as editor of the American Journal of Bacteriology and later as editor of the American Journal of Public Health.
Through most of this period, the department consisted of Winslow, an assistant, Ira Hiscock, and support staff, but Winslow recruited people from other departments to offer courses. The department offered a Certificate of Public Health after a one-year course and a Doctorate of Public Health for more advanced training. Community service was part of the mission of the Department. Winslow led the campaign to transform the State Board of Health into a State Department of Health.
This article by Winslow, appearing in the Yale Alumni Weekly in 1923, features an illustration of Nathan Smith Hall, home of the Department from 1919 to 1928. Formerly the private Elm City Hospital, Nathan Smith Hall, located at 32 Park Street, was later used as a dormitory for the Yale School of Nursing.
Ira Vaughan Hiscock's appointment as Chairman and Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health in 1945 was a victory for Winslow. Francis Blake, John Paul, and others had hoped to appoint someone more oriented to epidemiology and laboratory work. But a committee selected by Yale President Charles Seymour favored Winslow's disciple, Hiscock, a member of the faculty since 1920. Hiscock graduated from Wesleyan University, where he came under the influence of bacteriologist Herbert W. Chonn, and received a Certificate of Public Health from Yale in 1921. Like Winslow, Hiscock became a national and international authority on public health administration and directed numerous health surveys of communities in Connecticut and around the country. He was commissioner of the New Haven Board of Health from 1928 to 1958.
The Department of Public Health moved from Nathan Smith Hall to newly renovated quarters on the second floor of Brady Memorial Laboratory and the attached Lauder hall in 1928.
- The John. B. Pierce Laboratory, founded through the will of the philanthropist John B. Pierce, to advance research and education in the areas of heating, ventilation, and sanitation. Its building on 230 Congress Avenue, specially designed for environmental testing, was opened in 1933. C-E.A. Winslow was its first director. Although the Laboratory is independent, it maintains a close affiliation with the school. The research of its members has been chiefly in the area of environmental health.
In 1928, Francis Blake invited Paul to become an assistant professor of medicine at Yale. He was appointed in 1940 to head of the new Section of Preventive Medicine, later the Section of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. Paul made significant contributions to the study of rheumatic fever, infectious mononucleosis, and hepatitis, but he is especially noted for his work on poliomyelitis. He established the Yale Poliomyelitis Study Unit in 1931 with James Trask. Paul and his colleagues made many fundamental contributions to the understanding of poliomyelitis on which the subsequent immunization programs were based. He was named to the Polio Hall of Fame in 1958.
James Trask, one of Yale's pioneer epidemiologists, worked at the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research with Francis G. Blake to demonstrate that measles is a viral disease. Trask became a member of the Department of Pediatrics and with John Rodman Paul, formed the Poliomyelitis Study Unit in 1931 with whom he collaborated until his untimely death at age 51 in 1942.
The Yale Poliomyelitis Study Unit was organized in 1931 by John Paul and James Trask who began investigating poliomyelitis when epidemics broke out in Middletown, CT in 1930 and in New Haven in 1931. They went into the homes and neighborhoods of polio patients seeking to isolate the virus and understand how it spread. They took histories, did physical examinations, and collected throat washings, which they tested by inoculating monkeys. They demonstrated that the virus was present in the intestinal tract, in sewage, and in flies that fed on feces. In 1936, they received the first research grant given by the President's Birthday Ball which became the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis.
Ira Hiscock - first row, fifth from the left. To his left is C-E.A. Winslow. John Paul, who, although a member of the Department of Medicine, also taught epidemiology to graduate students in public health, is to the far left. It may be noted that the Department of Public Health admitted African-American students at a time when neither the School of Medicine nor the School of Nursing did.
The Department of Public Health functioned as a department of the Medical School and also as a fully accredited school of public health when accreditation was introduced in 1947. Instruction covered public health administration, industrial medicine, hospital administration, maternal and child health, mental hygiene, biostatistics, epidemiology, public health nursing, health education, and environmental health.
- In 1961, the World Health Organization established one of its three reference serum banks at Yale. It was the only WHO serum bank in the Western hemisphere. John Rodman Paul served as its director until 1966.
- John Rodman Paul Professor of Epidemiology and Professor of Pediatrics Dorothy Horstmann, who joined the Section of Preventive Medicine in 1942 as a Commonwealth Fellow, received her M.D. in 1940 from the University of California. She joined the Yale Poliomyelitis Unit in 1943. Among her many notable scientific achievements, she demonstrated that the polio virus reached the nervous system by way of the blood, a discovery that made polio vaccines possible. Later, Horstmann evaluated the oral vaccine program in Russia and studied the effectiveness of a rubella vaccine. In 1961, Horstmann became the first female full professor at the Yale School of Medicine and in 1961 she became the first woman at Yale to hold an endowed chair. She was a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
- In 1961, the Rockefeller Foundation arranged to move its viral laboratories from New York to the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and to fund a major part of the construction of LEPH. In 1964, the Rockefeller Foundation Viral Laboratories moved to the new building and became the Yale Arbovirus Research Unit (YARU). This brought to Yale a group of the world's leading authorities on arthropod-borne (insects and ticks) virus infections - including Nobel prize winner Max Theiler, professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale from 1964 to 1967. YARU was recognized by the World Health Organization as the International Reference Centre for Arboviruses.
- The Hospital Administration Program, first established in the Department of Public Health in 1947, was headed by John Devereaux Thompson from 1961 to 1988. An eccentric, irreverent, and inspirational teacher, he trained some 500 students. Thompson began his career as a nurse. After receiving a master's degree in the program in hospital administration at Yale in 1950, Thompson gained experience through visiting hospitals in Europe and serving as assistant director of Montefiore Hospital. He returned to Yale in 1956. With his colleague Robert Fetter, Thompson developed the now familiar Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs) for coding medical treatments.
Our status as a school of public health is symbolized by a building separate, but connected, to the medical school. The building was designed by Philip Johnson (1906-2005), whose most notable works include the Seagram Building and Four Seasons Restaurant in NYC, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza in Dallas, the Boston Public Library, the Das Amerikan Business Center in Berlin and many more. Closer to home he also designed the Klein Biology Tower here at Yale and his personal residence - the Glass House in New Canaan, CT.
LEPH was built with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation and matching funds from the University, the Avalon and Johson Foundations, and the Baroness von Eberfeld. The illustration appeared on the program from the dedication of the building in 1965, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Department of Public Health.
- Anthony Monck-Mason Payne, first chairman, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, 1960-1966, was a British physician and epidemiologist, appointed professor of Public Health in July 1960. Payne was previously Chief Medical Officer of the Epidemic Diseases Division of the World Health Organization where he directed worldwide studies on viral diseases. He oversaw the merging of departments and the reorganization of the degree programs. In 1962, the MPH program became a two year program. His chairmanship also saw the building of and move into the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Public Health.
African American Milestones in Public Health and Medicine at Yale
Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Creed, MD 1857, the first African American graduate of Yale Medical School, was the first person of African descent to receive a degree in any discipline from Yale. Only a very small number of African Americans had previously received medical degrees from U.S. institutions before Dr. Creed, and none from the Ivy schools.
His Yale MD thesis was entitled “On the Blood” – a discourse on the physiology and chemistry of blood and circulation. Despite what Dr. Creed described in one of his letters to Douglas as a prevailing national sentiment of “prejudice against color,” he reported, “I never experienced any other than the most polite treatment from my fellow class-mates.”
Dr. Creed remained in New Haven after graduation from Yale and developed a large, successful, ethnically-mixed medical practice. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he wrote to Connecticut Governor Buckingham requesting a commission to serve, but was refused because of his race. In 1863, President Lincoln authorized the recruitment of African American troops and the Connecticut governor issued a call to arms to men of color. Creed wrote, “On every side we behold colored sons rallying to the sound of Liberty and Union.” He was appointed 1st Lieutenant and Surgeon of the 31st Regiment U.S. Colored Troops 1864 (30th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment) and served until the end of the Civil War.
Dr. Creed married Drucilla Wright with whom he had four sons. After her death, he married Mary Paul of Brooklyn, New York with whom he had six children. He briefly practiced in New York but returned to New Haven for the rest of his career. Cited frequently in the local news and The New York Times for his medical and forensic skills, he was consulted for a surgical opinion at the time of President Garfield’s assassination.
Dr. Creed died from “Bright’s disease” on August 8th, 1900 and was buried in the family plot in Grove Street Cemetery.
Henry Gamble was born of slave parents in Virginia in 1862. As a youth, he was employed as a houseboy by a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia during which time he began educating himself. In the fall of 1882, he entered Lincoln University and graduated with honors. He was the fourth African-American to matriculate in medicine at Yale. He worked nights as a janitor in order to pay his tuition, room and board. Hegraduated in 1891 with honors. His thesis was entitled “The Control of Epidemics.” Dr. Gamble quickly gained a reputation for hisexceptional ability as a surgeon and published scientific articles on topics such as thoracic aneurysms and caesarean section.
Since African-Americans were not allowed in the state medical society, Dr. Gamble helped organize the West Virginia State Medical Association, an African-American organization. He joined the National Medical Association where he served as Chairman of the Executive Board, and helped write its constitution. In 1912, Dr. Gamble was elected president of the National Medical Association.
William Penn, born in Virginia in 1871, was a descendent of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania and brother to Professor I. Garland Penn, a founder of the National MedicalAssociation.
Upon graduation from Yale, Penn began a distinguished medical career. Two years after graduation, he married Lulu Tompkins Wright and moved to Atlanta, GA. He later became vice-president of theGeorgia State National Medical Association. Around 1926 Dr. Penn moved to Tuskegee, AL, to become chief of surgery of the Veterans Administration Hospital. He died on May 31, 1934, of chronic myocarditis.
- Born in Philadelphia in 1899, Virginia Alexander was only four years old when her mother died, and at age thirteen, her father lost his once flourishing livery stable. Virginia eventually won a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania and to pay for her living expenses, she worked as a maid, a clerk and a waitress. Alexander ranked 2nd highest among medical aptitude test examinees after her entry into the Woman's Medical College of PA. African American physicians were discriminated against in many medical institutions, and no Philadelphia hospital would accept Alexander for practical training. She moved to Kansas City for her internship and within a few years, she was back in Philadelphia, running her own community health clinic and serving on the faculty of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. The Aspiranto Health Home was founded in her own home to serve Philadelphia's poor.
In 1941, Dr. Alexander earned her MPH at Yale and accepted a position at Howard University, where she was appointed physician-in-charge of women students. She also ran a private health practice and worked for the US Department of Health. When World War II broke out, physicians from across the country were dispatched to military bases to care for the injured, leaving many groups at home desperate for medical care. Alexander volunteered for the government and was sent to the coal fields of Alabama to treat miners living in extreme poverty. She died at the age of 49 from Lupus.
Dr. Ruth J. Temple was a community health crusader and the first African-American female graduate of Loma Linda University. Her many accomplishments and medical interests include the foundation of a health study club to educate the community on nutrition, sex education, immunization and substance abuse. Pushing the barriers placed on African-American women of the time, Dr. Temple committed herself to community health issues in the city of Los Angeles. Dr. Temple graduated from the College of Medical Evangelists (Loma Linda University) with her MD in 1918. When she began her career, there was not a single medical clinic in East Los Angeles. She and her husband, Otis Lawrence Banks, purchased a six room house on Central Avenue and turned it into a free health clinic, later naming it the Temple Health Institute. Overcoming the prejudices of the time, Dr. Temple was on the faculty of White Memorial Hospital teaching white medical students. In 1941, the Los Angeles City Health department gave Temple a scholarship to attend Yale University for a Master’s in public health. She went on to pioneer the city's public health program and helped to establish the Southeast District Health Center. She was appointed the first health officer of Los Angeles City in 1942 and was recognized as an authority in the field of obstetrics.
In 1983, the East Los Angeles Health Center was renamed the Dr. Ruth Temple Health Center. Dr. Temple died in 1984 at the age of 91.
Claudewell Thomas is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine at UCLA and is acknowledged by that Department to be the first African-American emeritus Professor of Psychiatry appointed at UCLA (1993). He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology (and a past examiner for the Board) and Fellow of the A.K. Rice Institute. He was Chairman and Professor of Psychiatry at Drew Medical School in Los Angeles, Vice Chairman of Psychiatry at UCLA, Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at UMDN-New Jersey Medical School, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Public Health and Sociology at Yale, and an Adjunct Professor at The Union Institute and University of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dr. Thomas served as Director of the Division of Mental Health Service Programs at the National Institute of Mental Health, and as a reserve medical officer of the 514th Tactical Wing, Mitchell Field, Mineola, New York. He was also an active duty base psychiatrist at the 6022nd USAF Hospital PACAF in Irumgawa, Japan. Somewhat unusually he was the Medical Director at Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital in Hamilton, New Zealand in 1996. He was a member of the Los Angeles Superior Court Panel of Psychiatrists and Psychologists and a psychiatric consultant for Los Angeles County. He is the author and editor of three books and over fifty academic journal articles. His last book, co-authored with Dr. Brenda Fellows and published in 2010 is titled Your Personal Power Up and has been particularly well received by women and minorities. He is now actively engaged in helping Dr. Jeffrey Thomas construct a San Francisco based Stroke Shield Foundation and continues to work with the San Francisco based Bay Area Foundation for Human Resources.
Cornell Scott, MPH '68, was Chief Executive Officer of the Hill Health Center, one of the nation’s first community health centers and the first community health center established in the State of Connecticut, providing services to low income and underserved individuals and families living in the greater New Haven area. During his 33 years with Hill, the center grew significantly--operating 17 sites in four cities with over 20,000 patients, among the poorest in the state and the nation. Founded in partnership with Yale University Medical School, Hill under Mr. Scott’s leadership, made great strides in reducing infant mortality and effectively dealing with chronic diseases in the areas of hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, lead based poisoning and sickle cell screening and treatment. In addition to primary care specialties and dental care, Hill provides homeless outreach, mental and behavioral health care, HIV/AIDS education and treatment, school-based health programs, a 25-bed alcohol and drug detoxification center, and a child and family guidance clinic.
Thomas W. Chapman, MPH '71, is President and CEO of The HSC Foundation - a nonprofit integrated health care organization. He previously served as Senior Vice President for Network Development and CEO of the George Washington University Hospital, President of the Greater Southeast Healthcare System, Senior Consultant in Health Care Planning and Management, Arthur D. Little, Inc., Assistant Executive Director, Group Health Association and President, Provident Hospital, Inc.
He serves on a variety of corporate boards, including Kaiser Permanente; Consumer Health Foundation and the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality. Dr. Chapman also serves as a consultant to varied organizations, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pan American Health Organization. He is a professor/lecturer at such universities as George Washington, Harvard, Howard, Georgetown, and Johns Hopkins. Dr. Chapman earned his Doctor of Education from the George Washington University and his Master of Public Health from Yale University, School of Public Health in 1971.
Major General Trowell-Harris, MPH '73, Ph.D., is the highest ranking African American woman in the National Guard. Dr. Trowell-Harris was the first woman in the 354 year history of the National Guard to command a medical clinic; the first African American woman in its history to become a general officer; the first person to have both a Tuskegee Airmen Chapter and Mentoring Award named in her honor. Among her numerous civilian and military honors is the Legion of Merit Award, one of the nation’s top military awards. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the Medical University of South Carolina and their highest award, the Order of the Palmetto.
Dr. Trowell-Harris knew what she wanted to do from a very young age. While working on her parent’s farm with her 10 brothers and sisters in Ohio, she watched planes as they passed overhead and dreamed that someday she would fly for a living. Her mother, however, wanted her to be a nurse. She earned a nursing diploma from the Columbia Hospital School of Nursing. Her dream of flying would not die and in 1963, she was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Air National Guard. She advanced quickly in the ranks, earning promotion to flight nurse instructor in 1966 and then to chief nurse. The Air National Guard allowed for a perfect combination of her love for airplanes and her commitment to nursing. In 1986, she was appointed commander of the 105th USAF Clinic in NY, making her the first Air National Guard nurse to command a medical clinic. She was appointed director of the Center for Women Veterans in October 2001.
Donald Moore, MD has a private practice in Brooklyn, New York. He focuses his clinical activities on diabetes, AIDS, asthma and hypertension. He is a faculty member at Cornell University and even in the age of acute-care hospitals, he provides house calls.
Hospitals horrified Dr. Moore beginning the day he visited his dying father. His police officer father was in end-stage renal failure, the result of uncontrolled hypertension. He remembers leaving the ward crying and realizing, for the first time, that his father was dying. He thought he’d never go back into a hospital. Later, as a student at Pace University in Manhattan, he majored in sociology. When he excelled in an obligatory math and science course, his professor suggested that he consider medicine. Despite his earlier reservations about the medical field, Dr. Moore enrolled at Yale and graduated with joint degrees in Medicine and Public Health.
When Dr. Moore assumed the presidency of the Association of Yale Alumni in Medicine (AYAM) his overarching mission was to engage younger alumni and more effectively capture the ethnically diverse alumni body. One of his goals as President was to foster discussion of how managed care has harmed the doctor-patient relationship. He said a capitated plan, which pays a doctor to take care of a group with a flat per-patient payment, militates against what a physician is supposed to do: care for sick people. Instead, he said, it encourages the doctor to seek healthy patients and see them as little as possible.
After receiving his MPH in 1992, Mr. Nelson was asked to take over the operational reins of Hudson Health Plan – a Medicaid Managed Care company in New York. As Executive VP & COO, he has played an invaluable role in enabling the plan to grow from fewer than 1,000 members when he started, to 75,000 members today.
While a student at YSPH he organized the African-American Alumni Network at Yale, which hosted numerous networking receptions for students of color. Nelson remains active in the YSPH community. Nelson serves on the YSPH Diversity Committee, the YSPH Alumni Advisory Board, and the board of directors for the Association of Yale Alumni in Public Health (AYAPH).
In 2000, he was named chair of the Minority Affairs Committee of AYAPH. Recognizing the evolving cultural climate of the country, he renamed the group the “Emerging Majority Affairs Committee.” From its inception, the mission EMAC has been to ensure that the interests of the emerging majority are considered in all matters concerning YSPH. In June 2007, Nelson was elected Vice President of the AYAPH Board, and in July 2007, he was elected to the Board of Governors of the Association of Yale Alumni.
A 44-year-old mother of five and grandmother who once thought admissions officers would simply laugh at her application to medical school, was the first grandmother ever to graduate from the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Morris first thought about becoming a doctor when she saw doctors taking care of her ill grandmother. However, her plans for a medical career were put on hold when she became pregnant at 16. She was meant to be the first one in her family to go to college and felt as though she had let her family down. Dr. Morris managed to stay in high school and earn her diploma. By age 29, she had five children. She still wanted to go to college, but her husband at the time did not support that dream. She studied cosmetology instead, and ran a beauty shop out of their home. Each fall, she proposed starting college, and each fall she felt pressured to wait—until the children were older, until finances were less strained. After about nine years, Dr. Morris quietly enrolled at a community college. While working full time as a secretary, Dr. Morris would do homework alongside her children, surviving on four hours of sleep. She completed her Associate’s degree summa cum laude in 1996 and enrolled at nearby York College to work toward her Bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Finding jobs first at a state psychiatric hospital and then at a prison with 3,000 male inmates, Morris enjoyed nursing, but craved more responsibility. She began taking the prerequisites for medical school. Her honors at Yale include: Medical School Banner Bearer for commencement exercises, the Community Service Award and the Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Creed Award for outstanding academic achievement, exemplary leadership and a significant commitment to the community at large.
Curtis Patton, PhD, Professor at YSPH retired after 36 years at Yale in 2006. Dr. Patton has been a prominent figure not only at YSPH but throughout the University. He has served in a variety of administrative capacities including Division Head, Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases and Acting Head of Global Health. In 2004, Dr. Patton was asked by President Levin to help re-establish and Chair the University Minority Affairs Committee (MAC). He has also served as the Director of International Medical Studies and Chair of the Committee on International Health.
Dr. Patton arrived at Yale in 1960 during a turbulent time. The Black Panthers were on trial in New Haven on the first day he arrived. There were few students of minority descent. Patton not only took a personal interest in the students, but took an interest in the Yale community. Yale's recognition of Edward A. Bouchet, Yale College's first African-American graduate, who was son of a slave, was one of Dr. Patton's most notable contributions to our community. Due in large part to Patton, Bouchet's picture now resides in Yale's bookstore. Patton will take his students there when they are going through a particularly difficult time. “I take them there,” he says, “not just black students, anyone. I point to his picture and say ‘Can you imagine what it was like for him. Don't you think there were times that he wanted to give up?'”
A scholarship, the Creed/Patton/Steele Fund was established partly in Dr. Patton's honor. It is the first endowed fund in support of underrepresented minority students at YSPH and was established to recognize the importance of diversity in graduate and professional education and to acknowledge the contributions of underrepresented minorities to the field of public health.
Dr. Curtis Patton has been a dedicated teacher, mentor and scholar for the Yale, New Haven and world communities. His commitment to our school, our university, and especially to our students is a standard to which everyone at YSPH should strive for. He has taught us about the importance of diversification and has been a demonstration of perseverance accomplishing dreams.