Dr. Myron Wegman's long life (1908-2004) and career connected him with the most important and formative period of child health in American history. His work paralleled momentous changes in federal child health policy and in the fields of pediatrics and public health. He began professional life at a moment that gave him entrée into the forefront of that history, and he was part of it at every level, from the most rural local settings to the international stage. Despite his high profile, little has been written about his early career in Maryland or how that period shaped him as a leader in maternal and child health (MCH). This article describes Wegman's work in rural Maryland and his initiation into academic public health at Johns Hopkins University.We suggest that Wegman's time in Maryland was formative, both for himself and for the MCH field. His work during this time influenced his own thinking and subsequent work in MCH education, his understanding of the healthy development of children, and his emergence as a social conscience for the field. This apparently modest start to his career gains import because his achievements rose above the individual level: His life and his ideals became part of our current approach to maternal and child health science and social philosophy. This article is based on life history interviews and less formal discussions conducted with Wegman by the authors, his own colloquia and lectures on child health history presented at Johns Hopkins from 1991 through 1998, his manuscripts, and the written and oral accounts of his contemporaries.
- Maternal and child health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health