Skip to main content
Tulane Home Tulane Home

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.

The Medical College of Louisiana is founded in New Orleans by seven young doctors eager to address Yellow Fever, malaria, and smallpox.
Thanks to a generous gift from wealthy merchant Paul Tulane, the university becomes Tulane University
Creighton Wellman publishes compelling argument for the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at Tulane and begins acting as dean.
The Board of the Tulane Educational Fund formally recognizes the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as such.
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.
The school is officially folded back into the School of Medicine.
Tulane hires Ernest Carroll Faust as chair of the Department of Parasitology, who goes on to publish Human Helminthology.
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.
Faust retires and is appointed coordinator of the Tulane-Colombia Program in Medical Education. Paul C. Beaver becomes chair of parasitology.
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.
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.
James Banta becomes dean. He was the first to cultivate dengue virus in tissue culture and to demonstrate the cytopathogenic effect.
SPHTM becomes one of the first schools to participate in the Peace Corps’ Master’s International program. (Peace Corps concluded this program in 2016.)
Dean Pierre Buekens begins his tenure.
SPHTM is named a Milestones in Microbiology site by the American Society of Microbiology.
Tulane SPHTM celebrates its 100th anniversary with a gala, multi-day celebration!
Tulane SPHTM named number one in Peace Corps volunteer placement for four years in a row.
Thomas A. LaVeist begins his tenure as dean.