The birth of public health education

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The modern era of public health education is generally credited to a May 27, 1915 report by William Welch and Wickliffe Rose, commonly known as the “Welch-Rose report.” But a March 6, 1915 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by Milton Rosenau, who at the time was the first director of the Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology School for Health Officers—precursor to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health—was a crucial, and earlier, founding document of the era that led to the creation of schools of public health in the United States and around the world.

Rosenau’s contribution to public health education’s beginnings is outlined in a March 17, 2015 JAMA article by the Harvard Chan School’s David Hunter, dean for academic affairs, and Dean Julio Frenk. Their article accompanies Rosenau’s March 1915 article, parts of which are reprinted in the issue.

“The Rosenau piece also provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind of one of our founders at a time when the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers was pioneering public health education in North America,” said Hunter.