Sentinel Events in the History of Public Health

Sentinel Events in the History of Public Health

Submit a 200-word journal entry in which you discuss the sentinel events in the history
and development of the public health profession and their relevance for practice in the
field. You must include three major historical events. One of the three events should
have occurred prior to 1950. Please include in-text citation and a reference list.

Sentinel Events in the History of Public Health

The profession of public health profession begun between 1914 and 1939 when
philanthropists financed the establishment of public health schools in America, towards
the end of 19 th century there was a remarkable growth of medical schools as well as
nursing schools established by hospitals to offer manpower to the labor market (Gebbie,
et al, (2004)
Earlier than 1914, there were no clear guidelines on career and education for
public health officers and most practitioners were physicians.This prompted The
Rockefeller sanitary commission to recruit public health officers in the United States
with the aim of participating in a campaign to kick out hookworms. Because of little
interest seen and lack of dedication towards public health, under the leadership of
Wickliffe Rose, Abraham Flexner was mandated to develop a separate public health
profession. This led to the convention of a meeting in October 26, 1914 attended by
twenty people nine of whom were Rockefeller trustees and eleven public health
representatives. This team agreed divides public health into three main categories. One,
technical experts like statisticians, engineers and bacteriologists. Secondly the field
workers and lastly were workers with executive authorities. Public health education
system was then developed with focused on research and scientific training and was

Sentinel Events in the History of Public Health 2

segregated from medical schools. By 1918, The John Hopkins Public Health School was
made the first public health institution to act against the influenza epidemic; later
schools of public health were established in Harvard and Toronto whose students were
graduating by 1930s (Gebbie, et al, (2004)
Due to the act on social security established in 1935, funding to support public
health services was established. The federal law set the lowest qualification for federal
health personnel. This was at minimum a post graduate training in a recognized school
of public health. The push for training of more public health officers led to the
establishment of 10 schools of public health by 1936. By 1946 the committee mandated
with oversight of public health profession started to monitor standards of training of
public health practitioners to arising complaint (Gebbie, et al, (2004)
The conference on public health training of 1958 also lobbied for finances to
construct teaching facilities as well as teaching grants and requested for salary support to the
teaching faculty members. Currently there are many public schools around the world offering
diploma, undergraduate as well as graduate programs in public healh.They have produced
quality graduates whose contributions have greatly help in reduction of disease prevalence.

Sentinel Events in the History of Public Health 3


Gebbie, K., Rosenstock, L., & Hernandez, L. (2004). Who will keep the public healthy?
Educating public health professionals for the 21st century. Choice Reviews Online,
41(05), 41-2850-41-2850.

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