SCUA

UMass Amherst. School of Health Science

UMass Amherst. School of Health Science, 1953-2007.

(5 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 012

In response to an epidemic of scarlet fever at Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1912 and the death of four students, the Massachusetts Legislature finally appropriated funds to construct an infirmary. Staffed initially by a nurse, and later (1930) by a physician, the infirmary had grown sufficiently by the 1940s to require the creation of a separate department of Student Health. Formal instruction in public health began in 1939 and the first public health department, Bacteriology, was created one year later, followed by Nursing and other departments. In 1973, the School of Health Sciences was formed, comprised of the Division of Nursing, the Division of Public Health, and (after 1975), the Department of Communication Disorders. The School of Health Sciences split into the School of Public Health and the School of Nursing in 1989. In 1993, the School was renamed the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, which provides education for graduate and undergraduate students, as well as health professionals.

Record group consists of annual reports; department histories; accreditation reports; correspondence and memoranda; proposals; technical reports; faculty lists; course descriptions, course of study guides and syllabi; training handbooks and laboratory exercises; brochures and fliers; newsclippings, newsletters and articles; surveys; conference materials; and related materials.

Historical Note

In 1912, the Massachusetts Agricultural College experienced a fatal epidemic of scarlet fever. In response to this disaster, the Massachusetts Legislature appropriated sufficient funds to construct an infirmary. When the infirmary opened in 1915, a resident nurse was placed in charge of the new facility; and in 1930, Dr. Ernest J. Radcliffe served as college physician. In the 1940s Curry Hicks, while serving as director of the Athletic Program, was also made responsible for student health services and Dr. Radcliffe provided the leadership for a newly created department of Student Health.

In 1939, MAC, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, approved a cooperative program in public health instruction. To support the program, a new Department of Bacteriology was established in 1940. The Board of Trustees approved additional public health courses in 1941 and voted to continue public health courses in 1944. The public health curricula included courses in General Bacteriology and Community Sanitation within the Department of Bacteriology and Public Health. In 1947 the program of undergraduate instruction was expanded to include a Master of Science degree, and in 1948, it graduated its first students.

A graduate program was established in environmental health in 1948. In 1951, the Trustees approved the establishment of a nursing program curriculum and in 1953, Mary A. Maher was appointed Director of a newly formed Division of Nursing. The first class was organized in September 1954. Agreements were reached with a nearby Springfield Hospital for the use of clinical facilities during the following summer session. In 1960, on recommendation of the President and vote of the Trustees, the Division was officially redesignated the School of Nursing.

In 1961, public health courses were moved from the Bacteriology Department, which then became the Department Of Microbiology. Robert W. Gage was appointed as head of the newly-created Department of Public Health while also serving as director of University Health Services. At that time the unit comprised two faculty members, experts in both health department administration and environmental sanitation. The academic offerings consisted of a master’s level program and courses for undergraduate students. The primary purpose of the program was to educate graduates in conventional hygiene and sanitation and prepare them for management of local health departments. By 1964, the department had grown, and Dr. Howard A. Peters was given a joint appointment as director of Environmental Health in the University Health Services and as assistant professor in the Department of Public Health. The appointment of William A. Darity in 1965 introduced community health education as an essential component of the academic public health program.

In 1973, the School of Health Sciences was formed, comprised of the Division of Nursing and a separate Division of Public Health. The Department of Communication Disorders was added in 1975. The School of Health Sciences split into the School of Public Health and the School of Nursing in 1989. In 1993, the School of Health Sciences was renamed the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. In addition to educating graduate and undergraduate students and providing continuing education for health professionals, the school emphasized pursuit of basic and applied research as well as outreach through technical assistance and consultation to health and other human service agencies, to communities in the private sector, and to innovative demonstration programs. The School also began strong participation in scientific, professional, and policy-making bodies at the state, national, and international levels. The Center for Research and Education of Women’s Health (CREWH) was established in 1997 to provide for the exchange of knowledge from current research; education on disease prevention, exercise and fitness; and nutrition information for women in the University and local community.

Scope and Content

Record group consists of annual reports; department histories; accreditation reports; correspondence and memoranda; proposals; technical reports; faculty lists; course descriptions, course of study guides and syllabi; training handbooks and laboratory exercises; brochures and flyers; newsclippings, newsletters and articles; surveys; conference materials; and related materials.

1. Division of Public Health
School of Public Health (created July 1989)

School of Public Health and Health Sciences (created August 1993)

1. Northeast Regional Environmental Public Health Center
2. Center for Research and Education in Women’s Health (CREWH) 1997-2007
3. Nursing
The School of Nursing was created July 1, 1989.

Contributors

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. School of Nursing
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. School of Public Health and Health Sciences
Special Collections and University Archives logo