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Russell Andrew Nelson

Russell Andrew Nelson


Nelson, a president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He received his A.B. from the University of Minnesota in 1933. Nelson transferred from the University of Minnesota Medical School to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine after a physician in Minot, North Dakota helped to underwrite his tuition and expenses; he received his M.D. in 1937.

After completing an internship and residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Nelson joined the staff of the hospital as a physician and later became director of medical clinics and assistant director of the hospital. He was appointed associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1947.

In 1952, Nelson was named director of the hospital. In 1958, he became executive vice president and director and in 1963, he was named president of the hospital. During his tenure, $50 million worth of new buildings were constructed, medical services were expanded in East Baltimore and established in Columbia, and the hospital grew by 300 beds and 2,000 employees. Nelson retired from the presidency in 1972 and was named president emeritus.

Nelson served as a consultant to medical schools and hospitals in Europe and consulted frequently on other national, state and local health care projects. He published papers on penicillin therapy for syphilis and articles on hospital management and health care.

Sound recording: Interview with Dr. Russell Nelson. 1976.

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