The C.-E.A. Winslow medal commemorates the outstanding contributions of Charles-Edward Amory Winslow, the founder of our School, and many would say the founder of modern public health in the United States. The recipients' work exemplifies C.-E.A. Winslow's ideals, especially his concern for the social factors affecting health as well as outstanding achievement in public health leadership, scholarship or contribution to society.
The C.-E.A. Winslow Award was created in 1999 to recognize leading innovators in the public health profession. It is the Yale School of Public Health's highest honor.
Linda S. Birnbaum, PhD, was the first toxicologist and first woman to head the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) at the National institutes of Health (NIH). She is a scientist emerita at NIH and a scholar-in-residence at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Birnbaum was honored with the Winslow Medal for her foundational work regarding the health hazards of persistent organic pollutants, mechanisms of action of toxic environmental contaminants, endocrine disruption, and linking real-world exposures to human health problems. During her distinguished career, she led the paradigm development that that all health is an integration of both genes and environment. Dr. Birnbaum was among the first scientists to demonstrate that early-life contaminant exposure was associated with adverse health effects in children.
Dr. Birnbaum spent 19 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where she directed the largest division focusing on environmental health research. She continues to provide national and international leadership in the investigation of potential health hazards associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS. She also developed a vigorous program in community engagement and involvement in all environmental health studies. She has led the Toxicology Division of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the American Aging Association, the Society of Toxicology, and the International Union of Toxicology. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Judith Rodin is president of The Rockefeller Foundation, one of the world’s leading philanthropic organizations. In her Centennial Winslow address, she presented a vision for planetary health for the next century to sustain and advance human health.
Rodin was previously president of the University of Pennsylvania, and provost of Yale University. Since joining the Foundation in 2005, Dr. Rodin has recalibrated its focus to meet the challenges of the 21st century and to support and shape innovations to expand opportunity worldwide and build greater resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses.
A widely recognized international leader in academia, science, and development issues, Dr. Rodin has actively participated in influential global forums, including the World Economic Forum, the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton Global Initiative, and the United Nations General Assembly. Dr. Rodin is also a member of the African Development Bank’s High Level Panel and a Board member of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (co-created by The Rockefeller Foundation). In November 2012, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo named Dr. Rodin to co-chair the NYS 2100 Commission on long-term resilience following Superstorm Sandy.
A centennial recipient of the Winslow award, Sir Michael Marmot has led research groups on health inequalities for over 35 years. He was Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), which was set up by the World Health Organization in 2005, and produced the report entitled: ‘Closing the Gap in a Generation’ in August 2008. He conducted a Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010, which published its report 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives' in February 2010. This was followed by the European Review of Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide, for WHO Euro. He chaired the Breast Screening Review for the NHS National Cancer Action Team and was a member of The Lancet-University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health. He is a Principal Investigator of the Whitehall II Studies of British Civil Servants, investigating explanations for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality. He leads the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and is engaged in several international research efforts on the social determinants of health. In 2000 he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen, for services to epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities.
C.-E.A. Winslow was born in 1877. He received his bachelors and masters of science degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in 1898 and 1899 respectively. He then taught at the University of Chicago, the College of the City of New York, Columbia University and at Yale. Winslow also served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Bacteriology and as editor of the American Journal of Public Health. He was a member of the American Red Cross Mission to Russia and president of the American Public Health Association.
At Yale, he was Professor and Chairman of the University’s Department of Public Health at its inception in 1915. This was made possible through receipt by the University of an endowment from the Anna M.R. Lauder family to establish a chair in public health in the Medical School. In the course of Winslow's 30-year tenure as Professor and Chair, he brought Yale, the department which he led and himself considerable international and national distinction, public favor and acclaim. From his strategic position within a major medical school, Winslow developed his department as a premier educational institution from which went forth, not only students with the Master's and Doctoral degrees of Public Health, but also medical students imbued with a "preventive spirit." In the first ten years of his tenure as Chair, Winslow established a comprehensive non-medical program that graduated 18 students with a Certificate in Public Health, 10 with a Ph.D., and 4 with a Dr.P.H. In fact, the Yale University School of Medicine was the first academic institution to recognize the importance of public health and establish a degree-granting program in the field.
Winslow sought to move the field of public health in new directions, based upon his belief that public health was not a static discipline, or a sanitary science but rather a social science. According to Winslow's view, public health was emergent, optimal and mutable. It included not only infectious disease control, but also the prevention and control of heart disease, cancer, stroke, mental illness, the diseases of infancy and those diseases associated with poverty. Public health, he wrote, encompassed medical and nursing services and the development of "the social machinery to ensure to every individual a standard of living adequate for the maintenance of health."
During Winslow's thirty years at Yale, some important evolutionary changes occurred in areas of importance to public health. Hygiene developed into preventive medicine; bacteriology evolved into microbiology to include parasitology and virology; classic epidemiology expanded to include clinical epidemiology; control of communicable diseases became chronic disease control; and public health assimilated the social dimensions of sickness and health and appropriated such disciplines as medical economics and medical care organization. In 1946, the program Winslow started was accredited as a school of public health by the Council on Education for Public Health.
Due to Winslow’s innovative foresight and determination, many of the advances made in public health nationally and internationally during the last fifty years were a result of contributions made by Yale faculty, such as John Rodman Paul, Dorothy Horstmann, Jim Niederman, John Thompson, Max Theiler and Jordi Casals. The evolution of EPH has continued in more recent decades, building upon the intellectual vision of Winslow.