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A Brief History

The Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is the oldest school of public health in the country with a rich, global history. We look forward to what the next century has in store for the school!

Collage of old and new SPHTM images, showing faculty and students.

1834
The Medical College of Louisiana is founded in New Orleans by seven young doctors eager to address Yellow Fever, malaria, and smallpox.
 
1884
Thanks to a generous gift from wealthy merchant Paul Tulane, the university becomes Tulane University
 
1912
Creighton Wellman publishes compelling argument for the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at Tulane and begins acting as dean.
 
1913
The Board of the Tulane Educational Fund formally recognizes the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as such.
 
1914
Creighton Wellman’s career trajectory at Tulane takes sudden and unexpected turn when he abruptly resigns. That same year, the first DrPH degree is granted to Herbert Maxwell Shilstone and the first Diploma in Tropical Medicine is granted to Walton Todd Burres.
 
1918
The school is officially folded back into the School of Medicine.
 
1928
Tulane hires Ernest Carroll Faust as chair of the Department of Parasitology, who goes on to publish Human Helminthology.
 
1931
Charles Franklin Craig is hired as chair of tropical medicine. He and Faust wrote Craig and Faust’s Clinical Parasitology, long a go-to text for students.
 
1956
Faust retires and is appointed coordinator of the Tulane-Colombia Program in Medical Education. Paul C. Beaver becomes chair of parasitology.
 
1967
The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine reemerges as a standalone school. Professor Grace Goldsmith is named dean and becomes the first woman to lead a school of public health.
 
1971
SPHTM and the School of Medicine launch a combined MD/MPH program, the first such program in the country. It remains the largest such program in the U.S.
 
1975
James Banta becomes dean. He was the first to cultivate dengue virus in tissue culture and to demonstrate the cytopathogenic effect.
 
1988
SPHTM becomes one of the first schools to participate in the Peace Corps’ Master’s International program. (Peace Corps concluded this program in 2016.)
 
2003
Dean Pierre Buekens begins his tenure.
 
2011
SPHTM is named a Milestones in Microbiology site by the American Society of Microbiology.
 
2012
Tulane SPHTM celebrates its 100th anniversary with a gala, multi-day celebration!