C.-E.A. Winslow was born in 1877. He received his bachelors and masters of science degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in 1898 and 1899 respectively. He then taught at the University of Chicago, the College of the City of New York, Columbia University, and at Yale. Winslow also served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Bacteriology and as editor of the American Journal of Public Health, and was a member of the American Red Cross Mission to Russia, and president of the American Public Health Association.
At Yale, he was Professor and Chairman of the University’s Department of Public Health at its inception in 1915. This was made possible through receipt by the University of an endowment from the Anna M.R. Lauder family to establish a chair in public health in the Medical School. In the course of Winslow's 30-year tenure as Professor and Chair, he brought Yale, the department which he led, and himself considerable international and national distinction, public favor, and acclaim. From his strategic position within a major medical school, Winslow developed his department as a premier educational institution from which went forth, not only students with the Master's and Doctoral degrees of Public Health, but also medical students imbued with a "preventive spirit." In the first ten years of his tenure as Chair, Winslow established a comprehensive non-medical program that graduated 18 students with a Certificate in Public Health, 10 with a Ph.D., and 4 with a Dr.P.H. In fact, Yale University School of Medicine was the first academic institution to recognize the importance of public health and establish a degree-granting program in the field.
Winslow sought to move the field of public health in new directions, based upon his belief that public health was not a static discipline, or a sanitary science but rather a social science. According to Winslow's view, public health was emergent, optimal, and mutable. It included not only infectious disease control, but also the prevention and control of heart disease, cancer, stroke, mental illness, the diseases of infancy, and those diseases associated with poverty. Public health, he wrote, encompassed medical and nursing services and the development of "the social machinery to ensure to every individual a standard of living adequate for the maintenance of health."
During Winslow's thirty years at Yale, some important evolutionary changes occurred in areas of importance to public health. Hygiene developed into preventive medicine; bacteriology evolved into microbiology to include parasitology and virology; classic epidemiology expanded to include clinical epidemiology; control of communicable diseases became chronic disease control; and public health assimilated the social dimensions of sickness and health and appropriated such disciplines as medical economics and medical care organization. In 1946, the program Winslow started was accredited as a school of public health by the Council on Education for Public Health.
Due to Winslow’s innovative foresight and determination, many of the advances made in public health nationally and internationally during the last fifty years were a result of contributions made by Yale faculty, such as John Rodman Paul, Dorothy Horstmann, Jim Niederman, John Thompson, Max Theiler and Jordi Casals. The evolution of EPH has continued in more recent decades, building upon the intellectual vision of Winslow.