Parran, Thomas, 1892-1968

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Physician, Government executive.

From the description of Reminiscences of Thomas Parran : oral history, 1962. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122451560

Thomas Parran, Jr. was born on September 28, 1892 and raised near St. Leonard's, Maryland, on his family's tobacco farm. He attended St. John's College in Annapolis (1911, A.B.; 1915, A.M.). Finances influenced his decision to attend Georgetown (1915, M.D.) and to follow with an internship at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. A lifelong interest in research was sparked during medical school. He volunteered at a health laboratory operated by the District of Columbia, under Dr. Joseph J. Kinyoun, founder of PHS's Hygienic Laboratory (renamed the National Institute of Health in 1930). He received his Assistant Surgeon's commission in the PHS in 1917.

Parran's first leadership position was as Chief of PHS's Division of Venereal Diseases (September 1926), a program begun during World War One. At Franklin Roosevelt's request, Parran became New York state health commissioner in April, 1930. In 1936 President Roosevelt chose him to succeed Hugh Cummings as Surgeon General. His continued campaign for syphilis control culminated in the National Venereal Disease Control Act of 1938.

In addition to syphilis control, Surgeon General Parran left his mark on the scope and structure of public health, both at home and abroad. In response to wartime expansion and new opportunities for expanded duties, Parran and his deputies rewrote the statutes underlying PHS operations--the Public Health Service Acts of 1943 and 1944--establishing a four-bureau structure that would remain in place through 1967, and deftly arranged for the transfer of wartime research contracts from the Office of Scientific Research and Development, creating an extramural grants program for NIH.

Parran's leadership role in international health affairs dated back to the 1930s with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Pan American Health Organization. Parran chaired the International Health Conference where the World Health Organization (WHO)'s draft constitution was adopted (1946) and led subsequent U.S. delegations.

He continued his work in philanthropy and public health until his death on February 16, 1968, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (excerpted from http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/history/bioparran.htm)

From the guide to the Proposed ten-year postwar program of the United States Public Health Service / Thomas Parran, 1944, (History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Bugher, John C., 1901-1970. Papers, 1950-1966. Rockefeller Archive Center, Rockefeller University, Pocantico Hills
referencedIn Winslow, C.-E. A. (Charles-Edward Amory), 1877-1957. Charles-Edward Amory Winslow papers, 1874-1977 (inclusive), 1915-1945 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Pritchard, Elizabeth Gatlin, 1902-1963. Elizabeth G. Pritchard papers, 1936-1959. National Library of Medicine
referencedIn Papers, 1922-1973 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Parran, Thomas, 1892-1968. Proposed ten-year postwar program of the United States Public Health Service / Thomas Parran, 1944. National Library of Medicine
creatorOf Parran, Thomas, 1892-1968. Reminiscences of Thomas Parran : oral history, 1962. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Switzer, Mary Elizabeth, 1900-. Papers, 1922-1973 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Proposed ten-year postwar program of the United States Public Health Service / Thomas Parran, 1944 History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine
referencedIn Hugh S. Cumming Papers, 1945-1977 History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine
creatorOf Cumming, Hugh S. (Hugh Smith), 1869-1948. Hugh S. Cumming papers, 1945-1977. National Library of Medicine
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Physicians
Public health
Public health
Public health administration
Public health laws
Government executives
Health officers
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1892-09-28

Death 1968-02-16

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