Test of Time
departments, and the changing landscape of knowledge at Emory
program does not necessarily become its own field or discipline
or department. The test really is time.
Sanders, Professor of English and African American Studies and Chair
of the Department of African American Studies
its an emergent property of the people who are here, a program
can respond to and provide the most cutting-edge intellectual environment
at that moment.
Lennard, Director of the Program in Neuroscience and Behavioral
ought to be something in Atlanta.
a program became a school
and programs featured in this article
Like Emorys most highly
regarded interdisciplinary programs and departments, the beginnings
and evolution of the Rollins School of Public Health played to existing
strengths. Public health at Emory had its beginnings in the early
1970s as an informal group of university-wide faculty who gathered
regularly to discuss issues in biomedical ethics. In 1975, the first
class of sixteen students began their studies for the Masters
in Community Health, a program in the Department of Preventive and
Family Medicine of the medical school.
Its purpose was to train the people who were going to deal
with health reform in the Nixon administration, explains Dick
Levinson, then a faculty member in the sociology department and
now executive associate dean of the School of Public Health. It
was about assessing needs and determining appropriate care and use
of technologypart of cost containment in that era.
The programs faculty ranks soon outgrew its offices in a residence
on Clifton Road and moved to two small houses on Gatewood Road.
In the 1980s, under the leadership of Eugene Gangarosa, a Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) veteran, the program grew
in enrollment, fiscal strength, and sustainability. The degree was
re-cast into a Masters in Public Health, and the international
health track was launched with an influx of CDC-assigned faculty.
In 1989, the program became a division in the medical school. Then-Emory
president Jim Laney had taken a strong interest, as did then-vice
president for health affairs Charles Hatcher, then-provost Billy
Frye, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, and then-CDC director
At that point, we [the faculty] were talking among ourselves
about whether we ought to become a school, says Levinson.
In the midst of our own internal discussions, we were told
that the trustees had decided it would be a good time to become
a school. There was this sense that there ought to be something
in Atlanta. With the CDC, the largest concentration of epidemiologists,
biostatisticians, and social and behavioral scientists interested
in public health, it was a rich environmenta natural.
On September 13, 1990, the Board of Trustees made the Division of
Public Health into the School of Public Health.