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Dorothy M. Horstmann

Former faculty

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Dorothy M. Horstmann


Years active at Yale: 1942-1982

Dorothy M. Horstmann was a noted epidemiologist whose findings that poliovirus is present in the blood of infected patients laid the groundwork for the development of a vaccine.

She was a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she obtained her undergraduate degree and of the University of California, San Francisco, where she earned her medical degree in 1940. She completed her residency at Vanderbilt University Hospital. She arrived in New Haven in 1942 as the Commonwealth Fund Fellow in the Section of Preventive Medicine, which was then part of the Department of Internal Medicine.

In 1961, Dr. Horstmann became the first woman at the School of Medicine to earn tenure as a full professor when she became professor of epidemiology and pediatrics. Eight years later, in 1969, became the first woman to receive an endowed chair at Yale University. In 1975, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences; she was also an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and held an honorary membership in the Royal Society of Medicine. Aside from a brief stint teaching medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and researching under a National Institutes of Health fellowship in London, she spent her entire academic career at Yale. She retired in 1982 as an emeritus professor and a senior research analyst. She died in 2001. The School of Medicine created an endowed lectureship in her name in recognition of her achievements throughout her long career at Yale.