World War I -- Life Histories/Section 001/Milton J. Rosenau

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Milton J. Rosenau, M.D.

Page summary[edit]

Milton J. Rosenau was a surgeon and public health expert in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rosenau was born in Philadelphia in 1869 and received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania at age twenty[1] During his lifetime, he held a plethora of positions in the medical field, including quarantine officer, surgeon, professor, and researcher. He also served as an inspector for the navy during the first world war. Notably, Rosenau founded the schools of public health both at Harvard University (the first such school in the U.S.) and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Rosenau is best known for his work in the public health field, especially his research on the pasteurization of milk and his book, Preventive Medicine and Public Health.

Medical research[edit]

Vaccination and Hygiene[edit]

Rosenau was a strong proponent of vaccination, which he researched and wrote about extensively. He is quoted saying "Vaccination affords a high degree of immunity to the individual, and well-nigh perfect protection to the community."[2] Rosenau pioneered research in areas such as vaccine longevity,[3] vaccine purity,[4] and the use of animals in diagnosis,[5] along with many other subjects. One of his most important discoveries in preventive care was the low temperature, slow pasteurization of milk, which killed milkborne diseases without creating the "cooked milk" taste that was the largest obstacle to widespread acceptance of pasteurization.[6] His research was crucial with the advent of World War I, where poor sanitary conditions (especially in European trenches) heavily contributed to soldiers' deaths.

Preventive Medicine and Public Health[edit]

Publichealthbook.jpg

Perhaps Rosenau's greatest work is his book, Preventive Medicine and Public Health. First published in 1913[7], the book is currently in its fifteenth edition and remains widely in use to this day. The book comprises seventy-five chapters split up into six sections, covering a bruad range of topics in public health, from historical accomplishments to modern dilemmas. [8] Since Rosenau's time, the book has had several editors, with the latest being Robert B. Wallace.[9] Preventie Medicine and Public Health is still considered by many to be the standard book in the public health field.

Activities during World War I[edit]

A member of the U.S. Marine Hospital Service since 1890,[10] Rosenau wrote in March of 1917 to then surgeon general W.C. Braisted expressing willingness to work with the military "in case of an emergency."[11] On July 29 of that year, he signed an oath of office as a surgeon of class 4 in the U.S. naval reserve forces.[12] He worked inspecting sanitation on naval bases along the northern east coast, splitting his time between his work with the navy and continuing his position as professor and dean of public health at Harvard.[13] During his time working with the navy, Rosenau helped deal with an outbreak of Spanish flu at Mt. Sinai hospital in Chelsea, Massechusetts.[14] Shortly following the end of the war, he requested to be moved to inactive duty in order to research a vaccine for Spanish flu. [15]During World War I, Rosenau published the third edition of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, which was specifically geared towards military use.[16] Known as the the "medical officer's Bible" by troops,[17] the book was invaluable to the war effort. The military issue of the book focused on hygiene in trench and naval situations, the treatment of battle wounds, and the importance of preventive care in the military.[18]

Academic Career[edit]

Harvard University[edit]

Rosenau was appointed to Harvard University's medical school in 1909 after working for ten years at the Marine Hospital Service hygienic laboratory for ten years.[19] Five years later, he founded Harvard's school of public health, the first in the U.S.[20] He continued to work at Harvard through the war and retired from the university in 1936.[21]

Rosenau Hall, UNC

UNC-Chapel Hill[edit]

After his retirement from Harvard, Rosenau moved to North Carolina and took up a teaching position at UNC-Chapel Hill, heading the new division of public health within the school of medicine.[22] In 1940, Rosenau, working with a group of people including Frank Porter Graham, expanded the division into the UNC school of public health.[23] A record 63 students enrolled in the school the very year it opened.[24] He remained dean of the school of public health until his death in 1946. [25]

Political and Community Organizations[edit]

Aside from his paid work, Rosenau was involved in a multitude of political and community organizations. Most of these, such as the Alpha Omega Alpha honorary fraternity[26] and the Baby Hygiene Association[27] were medical in focus, but he was also a member of several Jewish and Zionist associations, such as the American Jewish Congress District Board of Elections[28] and the Palestine Sanitation Committee,[29]. During his time in the military, he often took leaves of absence in order to attend meetings of medical societies. Rosenau was also a prohibitonist.[30]

References[edit]

  1. Milton J. Rosenau, M.D." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web.
  2. Leavitt, Judith Waltzer. "Be safe. Be sure." Sickness and Health in America. Ed. Judith Waltzer Leavitt and Ronald L. Numbers. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978. 407-417. Print.
  3. Roesnau, Milton J., M.D., and W. Palmer Dearing, M.D. "Duration of Immunity following Vaccination against Smallpox." Journal of the American Medical Association (1934): n. pag. JAMA Network. Web.
  4. Willrich, Michael. Pox : an American History. New York: Penguin Press, 2011. Print.
  5. Roesnau, Milton J., M.D., "The Role of Animal Experimentation in the Diagnosis of Disease." Journal of the American Medical Association (1910): n. pag. JAMA Network. Web.
  6. "Milton J. Rosenau, M.D." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  7. Bullock, J. Marshall. "Rosenau, Milton J." Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. N.p.: U of North Carolina, 1979-1996. NCPedia. Web.
  8. Ragland, David R., Ph.D. "Book Review — Maxcy-Rosenau-Last Public Health and Preventive Medicine." New England Journal of Medicine. New England Journal of Medicine, n.d. Web.
  9. "Public Health - Maxcy-Rosenau-Last Public Health and Preventive Medicine,." OEM Press. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, n.d. Web.
  10. "Milton J. Rosenau, M.D." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  11. Rosenau, Milton J. "Letter to W.C. Braisted." 9 Mar. 1917. TS. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  12. United States Navy. "Oath of Office." 29 Jul. 1917. Suffolk County, Mass. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson libray, UNC Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  13. Braisted, W.C. "Letter to Lowell A. Lawrence." 7 Ju. 1917. TS. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  14. "Letter of thanks for service" 30 Oct. 1918. TS. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  15. Rosenau, Milton J. "Request to be moved to inactive duty." 19 Nov. 1918. TS. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  16. Rosenau, Milton J. "Letter." 20 Sept. 1917. TS. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  17. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  18. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  19. "Milton J. Rosenau, M.D." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  20. Bullock, J. Marshall. "Rosenau, Milton J." Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. N.p.: U of North Carolina, 1979-1996. NCPedia. Web.
  21. Bullock, J. Marshall. "Rosenau, Milton J." Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. N.p.: U of North Carolina, 1979-1996. NCPedia. Web.
  22. "Milton J. Rosenau, M.D." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  23. Bullock, J. Marshall. "Rosenau, Milton J." Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. N.p.: U of North Carolina, 1979-1996. NCPedia. Web.
  24. "Public Health School Breaks Record as 63 Enroll - Dean Rosenau Heads Division." Daily Tar Heel [University of North Carolina] 16 Oct. 1940: 4. Newspapers.com. Web.
  25. "Milton J. Rosenau, M.D." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
  26. "Letter to Milton J. Rosenau." 26 Jan. 1917. TS. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  27. "Letter to Milton J. Rosneau." 27 Mar. 1918. TS. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  28. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  29. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.
  30. M.J. Rosenau papers, Wilson library, UNC, Chapel Hill. 11 Feb. 2015.