About U-M SPH

Historical Timeline

1881: Teaching of sanitary science begins at the University of Michigan. 1887
Chair of hygiene and physiologic chemistry, as well as the Hygienic Laboratory, are established.

1897: University awards its first Master of Science in hygiene to Edna Day.

1911: Curricula for master's and doctoral degrees in public health approved by the Board of Regents.

1915: First Master of Science in Public Health degrees granted.

1916: First Doctor of Public Health degrees conferred.

1918: Program leading to the BS in Public Health Nursing established.

1920: Regents highlight interdisciplinary nature of public health by moving programs from the Medical School to a new Graduate School Division of Hygiene.

1939: UM’s Nathan Sinai develops voluntary health insurance plan, prototype for Blue Shield.

1941: School of Public Health chartered.

Dean from 1941-1959: Henry Frieze Vaughan.

1943: School of Public Health building is completed; provides 63,000 square feet of laboratory, classroom, and administrative space.

1944: Thomas Francis Jr., professor and chair, Department of Epidemiology, develops Influenza vaccine for U.S. Army.

1944: National Sanitation Foundation (now NSF International) founded at SPH as independent, not-for-profit organization to set standards for the food-service industry.

1945: SPH researchers participate in groundbreaking water fluoridation studies in Grand Rapids.

1945: Bureau of Public Health Economics established within SPH. Its reference collection becomes nation's primary source of archival information on community aspects of medical care.

1950: Teaching program involving social as well as medical aspects of care of workers is established.

1955: Thomas Francis Jr. concludes two-year national field trials of Salk poliomyelitis vaccine; over 1,800,000 children participate. Francis announces to the world that the polio vaccine developed by former student Jonas Salk is "safe, effective, and potent." More information.

1955: Regents establish Bureau of Hospital Administration in School of Business.

1956: Tecumseh Community Health Study begins, focusing on behavioral, environmental, and family factors associated with cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. Converted in 1961 to NIH-supported Center for Study of Diseases of the Heart and Circulation, and Related Disorders.

Dean from 1960-1973: Myron E. Wegman.

1961: SPH Professor S.J. "Sy" Axelrod expands program in Medical Care Organization (MCO) as the subject achieves greater importance in public health. MCO becomes central part of educating administrators for Social Security Administration, established by Congress in 1965.

1965: Ford Foundation grant aids in funding new teaching program and research center on population planning.

1966: Regents transfer Program in Hospital Administration from School of Business Administration to the School of Public Health, an action that highlights the special character of health-related institutions.

1970: Professor Morton Hilbert is involved in the planning for what will become Earth Day.

1972: SPH Professor Marshall H. Becker, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, pioneers study of how patients’ beliefs affect their willingness to follow medical regimens.

1972: SPH Professor Roy Penchansky introduces once-a-month weekends on campus with directed home study to provide class contact equivalent in time and intensity to the standard MPH curriculum in medical care. This On Job/On Campus (OJ/OC) program soon extends to other departments.

Dean from 1974-1982: Richard D. Remington.

1976: Following a long tradition of university-governmental cooperation, faculty and students help create new Michigan State Public Health Code; code becomes model for other states.

Interim Dean from 1982-1984: John P. Kirscht.

Dean from 1984-1993: June E. Osborn.

1985: SPH Professor Ken Warner’s study and Senate testimony on health implications of tobacco solidify policy on federal taxation as smoking disincentive; Warner edits 25th-anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health four years later.

1985: Increasingly, public health faculty, particularly those in Biostatistics, work with colleagues in the Medical School to design rigidly controlled studies of experimental procedures. The promising development of extra-corporeal oxygenation is a case in point.

1990: SPH Professor Avedis Donabedian publishes the Seven Pillars of Quality. The Donabedian Paradigm forms the basis for the statistical model used to rank hospitals and health care facilities.

1992: W.K. Kellogg Foundation helps establish new Community-Based Public Health program.

Interim Dean from 1993-1995: Richard G. Cornell.

Dean from 1995-2005: Noreen M. Clark.

1996: Interdepartmental concentration in Public Health Genetics highlights University of Michigan's eminence in the area.

1998: Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health is established.

1998: Interdepartmental concentration in Reproductive and Women’s Health enrolls its first cohort of students.

1998: Vice President Al Gore names SPH one of eight Centers of Excellence in Children’s Environmental Health Research.

1999: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates SPH one of 23 national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1999: Tobacco Research Network established at Michigan with SPH Professor Ken Warner as first director.

2000: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awards $5 million to Health Behavior and Health Education Professor Ruth Simmons for research to help improve reproductive health services in Brazil.

2000: United States Agency for International Development awards $48 million to continue funding Population Fellows Programs at SPH.

2001: Allies Against Asthma, a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, launches $12.5 million nationwide campaign to reduce pediatric asthma .More news from 2001.

2002: University of Michigan Bioterrorism Preparedness Initiative established. More news from 2002.

2003: University of Michigan Board of Regents approve design for 125,000-square-foot addition and renovation for the School of Public Health. More information.

2003: FDA approves FluMist nasal flu vaccine developed at SPH by Hunein "John" Maassab. More highlights from 2003.

2004: Center for Risk Science and Communication established to promote informed decision-making about health risks through use of analytical methods and effective communication techniques.More highlights from 2004.

2005: On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Salk polio vaccine announcement, a video is commissioned to celebrate UM SPH's role. UM President Mary Sue Coleman awards first-ever Thomas Francis Jr. Medal in Global Public Health to William Foege. More news from 2005.

Dean from July 1, 2005 to December 31, 2010: Kenneth E. Warner.

2006: Grand opening of the SPH's Crossroads & Tower complex. More news from 2006.

2007: NSF International establishes department chair in UM SPH. More news from 2007.

2008: Creation of Certificate in the Foundations of Public Health, a 16-credit hour online program that may be transferable to a UM SPH degree program. More news from 2008.

2009: Dean Warner chairs IOM committee that finds stronger effort needed to prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral problems in young people. More news from 2009.

2010: Comprehensive health care reform is enacted, and SPH faculty reflect on the legislation. The UM-based Center for Value-Based Insurance provided the conceptual foundation and empirical research to allow health plans nationwide to remove barriers for high-value preventive diagnostic and therapeutic medical services, as directed by the legislation.

Martin Philbert appointed dean, effective Jan. 1, 2011.

2011: An innovative new Health Informatics degree program is established jointly by UM SPH and the UM School of Information. Top HHS scientist Charles Friedman becomes inaugural director.