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Winslow, Charles-Edward Amory


Charles-Edward Amory Winslow (18771957) was a seminal figure in public health, not only in his own country, the United States, but in the wider Western world. His vision and intellectual leadership enabled him, more than anyone else, to influence the development of public health services in the United States as well as in many European nations. His inspired leadership did much to ensure that the rapidly developing industrial cities and the rural regions of the United States were adequately provided with the essential public health services of sanitation, regulation of food-and waterborne hazards to health, development of health-education programs, and education of public health specialists. In a period dominated by discoveries in bacteriology, he recognized the importance of a broader perspective on causation than that embraced by the germ theory of disease.

For forty years, from 1915 to 1945, Winslow was a professor of public health at Yale University. His teaching at Yale emphasized his holistic perspective, and he doubtless influenced many of his proteges and students, such as Joseph Goldberger, whose work on the dietary deficiency that causes pellagra may have derived in part from Winslow's teachings.

Winslow began his career as a bacteriologist, but he soon broadened his focus to embrace occupational and environmental health, housing conditions, epidemiology, public health administration, nursing, mental health, and the organization of medical care. Winslow's legacy includes several monographs that have become classics of public health and epidemiology, including The Evolution and Significance of the Modern Public Health Campaign (1923), The Conquest of Epidemic Disease (1943), and The History of American Epidemiology (1952).

John M. Last

(see also: Goldberger, Joseph )

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