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Frost, Wade Hampton


Wade Hampton Frost (18801938) was the seventh of eight children born to a country doctor in Virginia. He graduated in medicine from the Medical College of Virginia in 1903, and after two years of hospital internship he entered the Marine Medical Service and was posted to New Orleans, where yellow fever was a persistent public health problem. His interest in epidemiology was aroused by this work, and by contact with some of the eminent medical scientists and public health specialists who were dealing with this and other problems.

When he returned from New Orleans to Baltimore, Frost began working in the Hygiene Laboratory under the direction of Milton Rosenau, where he met and worked with Joseph Goldberger, Charles Nicolle, and other leading epidemiologists of the time. For several years he worked on river and stream pollution and their relationship to outbreaks of typhoid. Then, in 1918, he began working with Edgar Sydenstricker on a statistical and epidemiological study of influenza. When Johns Hopkins University opened its School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1919, Frost was the obvious choice as "resident lecturer," and he soon was elevated to the status of professor of epidemiology. He devoted the rest of his professional life to developing an outstanding educational program in epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and he was a major influence on epidemiological teaching and research throughout the United States and beyond.

Frost became increasingly involved in international health and in the administration of the School of Hygiene and Public Health, of which he became dean in 1930. Frost published many important original articles and was responsible for several innovative epidemiological and statistical methods. His papers were collected and published in a widely consulted monograph published soon after his death.

John M. Last

(see also: Goldberger, Joseph; Sydenstricker, Edgar )


Maxcy, K. F., ed. (1941). Papers of Wade Hampton Frost. New York: Commonwealth Fund and Oxford University Press.

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