This commentary reviews the contributions of each of the 7 Chairs of the Department of Epidemiology from the Department's inception in 1919 to the advent of the Centennial Celebration of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2016. The founding Chair, Wade Hampton Frost (1919-1938), was among the handful of foundational thinkers in the discipline of epidemiology. Kenneth Maxcy (1938-1954) and Philip Sartwell (1954-1970) oversaw the Department through the epidemiologic transition from a preponderance of morbidity and mortality due to infectious diseases to a preponderance of noncommunicable diseases. Abraham Lilienfeld (1970-1975) and Leon Gordis (1975-1993) were perhaps best known for their mastery of teaching, influencing generations of both medical and public health students. Jonathan Samet (1994-2008) oversaw a major curriculum revision and expanded the Department significantly, and David Celentano (2008-) is working to rebalance the practice of epidemiology with the etiological foundations of epidemiology. All Chairs were a product of their times, and their research focus and portfolios influenced the direction of the Department. Future generations of Johns Hopkins students will be influenced directly or indirectly by the heritage of these Chairs' actions and those of their faculty.
- history of epidemiology
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