Paul, John R. (John Rodman), 1893-1971

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John Rodman Paul was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 18, 1893. He earned his bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1915 and his M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1919. He came to the Yale School of Medicine in 1928 as assistant professor. Paul studied infectious diseases and was particularly known for his work on poliomyelitis, as well as for the epidemiology of mononucleosis and hepatitis. He also developed the concept of clinical epidemiology. Paul died on May 6, 1971.

From the description of John Rodman Paul papers, 1920-1992 (inclusive), 1920-1971 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702168741

John Rodman Paul was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 18, 1893. He earned his bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1915 and his M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1919. He came to the Yale School of Medicine in 1928 as assistant professor. He studied infectious diseases and was particularly known for his work on poliomyelitis, as well as for the epidemiology of mononucleosis and hepatitis. He also developed the concept of clinical epidemiology. He died on May 6, 1971.

John Rodman Paul taught at the Yale School of Medicine for more than thirty years and made critical contributions to understanding the course of viral diseases such as poliomyelitis. He also developed the concept of clinical epidemiology, which became a thriving academic discipline.

Paul was born in Philadelphia on April 18, 1893, to Henry N. Paul and the former Margaret C. Butler. He earned his A.B. in 1915 from Princeton University and his M.D. from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1919. After serving as an assistant pathologist at Johns Hopkins from 1919 to1920, he interned at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia from 1920 to 1922. He remained at the Pennsylvania Hospital until 1928 as director of the Ayer Clinical Laboratory.

In 1928, he came to the Yale School of Medicine as an assistant professor of internal medicine and rose to the position of professor and chairman of the newly created department of preventive medicine in 1940. Paul helped devise the serological test known as the Paul-Bunnell test to identify mononucleosis in 1931. While working on the epidemiology of rheumatic fever with Indian children from Canadian to the Mexican border, he established the role of hemolytic streptococcus in the infection.

In 1931, Paul and colleague Dr. James D. Trask founded the Yale Poliomyelitis Study Unit. In 1938, they received the first research grant from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was renewed annually for thirty years. They identified strains of poliovirus in human waste and found the same strains in sewage.

During World War II, Paul served as director of the Neurotropic Virus Disease Commission of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board (AFEB). In 1943, Paul headed the Virus Commission, which included Albert Sabin. The commission went to North Africa and while in Egypt confirmed the diagnosis of poliomyelitis among U.S. and British troops. The virus was unknown in the adult Egyptian population, and Paul hypothesized that young Egyptian children acquired immunity after early exposure to the virus, but that the troops who had not been exposed to the virus before contracted polio at a surprising rate. From his later study of Alaskan Eskimos (1949), he made the important discovery that a single experience with poliomyelitis resulted in lifelong immunity. This discovery provided the impetus for the development of immunizing vaccines.

By the 1950s, Paul was a recognized international figure in virology and was asked to serve on committees for the United States Armed Forces, the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and many others. He was appointed by the United States to evaluate the Salk vaccine. He also conducted many of the early tests that confirmed the effectiveness and safety of the Sabin oral vaccine. He stimulated the development of the serum banks from persons of different ages in many different countries in order to establish reference sera for the exploration of epidemiology by serum studies.

After he became professor emeritus in 1961 and until 1966, he was the director of the World Health Organization Serum Reference Bank located in the Yale Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. He was subsequently named lecturer in the history of science and medicine at Yale. His most important contribution during this period was his A History of Poliomyelitis (1971), which chronicled the scientific discoveries and dead ends that slowly led to the complete understanding of this disease.

Paul served as president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 1938 and as president of the American College of Physicians from 1955 to 1956. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the American College of Physicians, and granted honorary membership in the Royal Society of Medicine. Yale created an endowed chair in Paul's name in 1967. He died May 6, 1971.

From the guide to the John Rodman Paul papers, 1920-1992, 1920-1971, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
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 Charles-Edward Amory Winslow papers, 1874-1977, 1915-1945 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf John Rodman Paul papers, 1920-1992, 1920-1971 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Webster, Leslie Tillotson, 1894-1943. Papers, 1909-1943. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, circa 1800-circa 1998, bulk 1863-1974 Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia
referencedIn Albert B. Sabin Papers, 1930-1993, 1939-1969 University of Cincinnati, Health Sciences Library, Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions
referencedIn Leslie Tillotson Webster papers, 1909-1943, 1909-1943 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Horstmann, Dorothy M. (Dorothy Millicent), 1911-. Dorothy M. Horstmann papers, 1927-2001 (inclusive), 1946-1995 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Harrison, Ross G. (Ross Granville), 1870-1959. Ross Granville Harrison papers, 1820-1975 (inclusive), 1889-1959 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Harrison, Ross G. (Ross Granville), 1870-1959. Ross Granville Harrison papers, 1820-1975 (inclusive), 1889-1959 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Albert B. Sabin Papers (Addendum), 1930-1993 University of Cincinnati, Health Sciences Library, Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions
referencedIn Rosen, George, 1910-. George Rosen papers, 1912-1978 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Paul, John R. (John Rodman), 1893-1971. John Rodman Paul papers, 1920-1992 (inclusive), 1920-1971 (bulk). Yale University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Epidemiology--Study and teaching
Poliomyelitis
Clinical epidemiology
Medicine, Preventive
Medicine
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1893-04-18

Death 1971-05-06

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