In the 1940's, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP), also known as the March of Dimes and founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt, awarded funds to the University of Minnesota for polio research. Because of the polio epidemic sweeping the nation, and especially Minnesota, the NFIP, which usually worked with local chapters, made available special funds to be administered by a coordinating service committee to combat the emergency in the affected area. The Minnesota Poliomyelitis Research Committee was established and chaired by Dr. Maurice Visscher, head of the department of physiology at the University of Minnesota.
Various faculty members in the University's Medical School and School of Public Health were involved in studies investigating the causes and treatment of polio. They include Ancel Keys (physiological hygiene), Cecil Watson (medicine), Elexious T. Bell (pathology), Ernst Gellhorn (neurophysiology), Irvine McQuarrie (pediatrics), Raymond Bieter (pharmacology), Gaylord Anderson (public health), Berry Campbell (anatomy), Maurice Visscher (physiology) and A.B. Baker (neurology).
An extensive survey of polio patients was also conduced, which led to the report by the Minnesota Poliomyelitis Research Commission, "A Partial Statistical Survey of the 1946 Poliomyelitis Epidemic in Minnesota with Some Details on Cases Hospitalized in Minneapolis Hospitals."
From the guide to the Minnesota Poliomyelitis Research Committee papers, circa 1940s-1970s, (University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc])