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In October 1918, The Johns Hopkins University launched the first graduate school in the United States for research and training in public health. William H. Welch, the founding director of the School of Hygiene and Public Health, had long been involved in local and national programs to prevent disease and promote health. He led the initiative to plan for the school and to secure funding for its establishment.
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Welch collaborated with Wickliffe Rose, a veteran of major public health campaigns, to submit a proposal to the Rockefeller Foundation that justified the need for professional education in public health. Submitted in 1915, the Welch–Rose Report became the seminal “blueprint” for development of schools of public health in the United States. In 1916, the General Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation selected the Johns Hopkins University as the site for a professional school of health and hygiene.
Welch was the driving force of the school in its formative years. He assembled faculty with expertise in preventive medicine, sanitation, epidemiology, bacteriology, immunology, and nutrition. The Rockefeller Foundation supported the school at its establishment and in its early years with annual grants. In 1922, the foundation awarded the school an endowment fund. In 1925, the school opened its own building on the east Baltimore campus.
Since its founding, the school has focused on programs for improving health, preventing disease and disability around the world, training public health leaders, and translating research findings into policy. Major advances of the school’s faculty, staff, and students have led to important public health campaigns, including the eradication of smallpox; improvement of drinking water; increased child survival; and reduction in transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The school’s researchers have also been instrumental in advancing nutritional science and applying its findings.
On April 22, 2001 The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health was renamed The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in honor of Michael Bloomberg, a major benefactor and long-time advocate for the school. Today, it is the largest graduate school of public health in the world.
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Records of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health document the founding, governance and executive leadership of the school from its inception to today. There are records pertaining to public health education, research, student life, as well as the school’s academic departments and laboratories, and publications. They also document still photos of buildings, group and portrait photographs of faculty, staff, students and alumni, oral histories, and moving images.
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