A historic image of the Bloomberg School

Masters of Public Health: The MPH Centennial

Celebrating a century of cultivating public health leadership.

By Karen Kruse Thomas

For 100 years, the School’s MPH Program has prepared leaders—from physicians to surgeons general, from nurses to health commissioners, and from presidential advisers to WHO directors—to address public health problems with multidisciplinary, evidence-based approaches. Its legacy is not just knowledge but the generations of alumni whose work continues to shape health in the U.S. and around the world.

Public Health Policy, Nursing, Politics

Public health policy, nursing, politics

  • Margaret Gene Arnstein, MPH ’34, the first nurse to graduate from JHSPH, was a giant in 20th-century American public health nursing who led the U.S. Public Health Service Division of Nursing (1960–1967) and Yale University School of Nursing (1967–1972).
  • Lauren Underwood, MSN/MPH ’09, is the youngest Black woman ever elected to Congress. Representing Illinois’ 14th congressional district since 2019, Underwood has fought for affordable health care and child care, sponsored a law to lower the cost of insulin, and is working to ensure essential workers are well treated and supported during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal Agency Leadership

Federal agency leadership 

  • Robert Felix, MD, MPH ’42, the first director of the National Institute of Mental Health (1949–64), was an architect of national programs that revolutionized mental health research and training and substantially improved the quality of psychiatric care.
  • Lynn Goldman, MD, MPH ’81, MS, dean of the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, was the EPA’s assistant administrator for Toxic Substances (1993–98). While on the School’s Environmental Health Sciences faculty (2000–10), she founded the Johns Hopkins National Children’s Study Center in 2000 and co-founded, with Gabor Kelen, MD, the National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Response (PACER), a DHS Center of Excellence, in 2005.
Epidemiology, CDC

Epidemiology, CDC

  • Alexander Langmuir, MD, MPH ’40, the CDC’s chief epidemiologist from 1949 to 1970, established the Epidemic Intelligence Service in 1951. The EIS has trained thousands of epidemiologists, including three JHSPH deans and scores of faculty in “shoe-leather epidemiology” and the science of disease surveillance. 
  • Donna Hubbard McCree, PhD ’97, MPH ’87, RPh, has served since 2010 as associate director for Health Equity in the CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. She has led in developing testing and behavioral intervention strategies to prevent and treat HIV infection, as well as training materials to support pharmacists in counseling patients about HIV and other STIs.
Public Health Law

Public health law

  • Steve Teret, JD, MPH ’79, helped establish the fields of public health law and gun violence prevention. Serving on the Health Policy and Management faculty beginning in 1979, he directed the Center for Injury Research and Policy (1988–1995) and founded the Center for Law and the Public’s Health and the Center for Gun Policy and Research.
  • Gabe Eber, JD, MPH ’02, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Prison Project, investigates wrongful deaths of incarcerated individuals and conditions that threaten their medical and mental health. He has filed class action lawsuits to end systemic inhumane treatment of prisoners and is currently evaluating the correctional response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Excellence in Research and Education

Excellence in research and education

  • Moyses Szklo, MD, DrPH ’74, MPH ’72, has advanced the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease. In his 31 years as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Epidemiology (1988–2019) and as founding director of the JHSPH Graduate Summer Institute in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, he has formulated the knowledge base of a generation of epidemiologists. 
  • David Serwadda, MBChB, MMed, MPH91, has served as dean since 2007 of the Makerere University School of Public Health in Kampala, Uganda. He was one of the first Ugandan physicians to recognize and treat HIV/AIDS and became founding principal investigator of the Rakai Health Sciences Program. Serwadda and professors Maria Wawer and her husband Ron Gray in Epidemiology, have transformed the science of HIV by providing key insights into HIV transmission and prevention. The Rakai-JHSPH partnership has trained dozens of Ugandan public health researchers.
Genetic Epidemiology

Genetic epidemiology

  • JHSPH epidemiologists Bernice H. Cohen, PhD, MPH ’59, and Abraham M. Lilienfeld, MD, MPH ’49, pioneered the integration of epidemiology and genetics and established the nation’s first graduate program in genetic epidemiology at JHSPH in 1979.
  • Priya Duggal, PhD ’03, MPH ’98, a genetic epidemiologist and professor in Epidemiology, works to understand why some people get sick and others don’t. Her research identifies genetic mutations in human hosts that make them more or less susceptible to certain viral and parasitic infections.
Child survival, humanitarian health

Child survival, humanitarian health

  • Peter J. Winch, MD, MPH88, professor in International Health, has pioneered behavioral health interventions to improve child survival in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. His research and advocacy have improved health care access for young children in remote rural areas, and he promotes policies that recognize the connections between environmental sustainability and food security.
  • After serving for 14 years as CEO of Last Mile Health, a nonprofit he cofounded to develop teams of community and frontline workers to provide primary health care in rural communities, Raj Panjabi, MD, MPH ’06, was appointed in 2021 by President Joe Biden to lead the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative as the U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator.
  • 1920

    The School begins offering a one-year certificate in public health.

  • 1935

    The School establishes a standard one-year public health curriculum. 

  • 1945

    MPH graduates lead new postwar agencies such as CDC and WHO.

  • 1946

    APHA begins accrediting MPH programs.

  • 1951

    First Aviation Medicine residency programs are established.

  • 1957

    Faculty revolt when a committee proposes eliminating the MPH. 

  • 1958

    USPHS establishes traineeships and sustained funding for MPH programs.

  • 1978

    Associate Dean Edgar Roulhac starts minority recruitment and retention programs. 

  • 1980

    The MPH curriculum is modernized and expanded from 9 to 11 months.

  • 1999

    Henry Mosley receives a CDC grant for an MPH part-time online option. 

  • 2005

    The MPH program enrolls Tulane students in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. 

  • 2019

    The School begins offering a fully online MPH program.