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APHA History

APHA History

The American Public Health Association (APHA) will celebrate our 150th Anniversary in 2022, APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world and has been working to improve public health since 1872. The Association aims to protect all Americans, their families and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health professionals and others who care about their own health and the health of their communities.

 APHA builds a collective voice for public health, working to ensure access to health care, protect funding for core public health services and eliminate health disparities, among a myriad of other issues. Through its two flagship publications, the peer-reviewed American Journal of Public Health and the award-winning newspaper The Nation’s Health, along with its e-newsletter Inside Public Health, the Association communicates the latest public health science and practice to members, opinion leaders and the public.

Continued Timeline Ellen Swallow Richards Timeline–1842-1911 Pioneer in Sanitary Water, Waste Treatment, Research, Food Standards, Principal Founder of Home Economics, and a Leader in APHA’s Initial Section, the Laboratory Section Annotated to Highlight Significant Contributions and Leadership https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/9781118923849.oth1

1842 Ellen Swallow born in Dunstable Massachusetts and grows up on the family Swallow Farm. Her parents of modest means give her the best education they could afford. She evidently was a remarkably perceptive and intellectually curious child.

1864 Ellen Begins Her First Teaching Job One of the few occupations open to women. She saves money to attend college.

1868 She enters Vassar College as an advanced student and initially steers toward Astronomy, but as she is exposed to more sciences, she continues studies in Chemistry as she is influenced by faculty views to using science to find solutions to practical problems.

1870 Graduate Vassar applies to MIT, where MIT President Runkle informs Ellen Swallow she is to be admitted but as a special student, with no fees. One source states this was done so that she could attend but MIT does not acknowledge her status as first-woman admission to MIT.

1872 Begins work water testing in one of the first public health water testing under the direction of Professor Nichols. Her colleagues praise the extent and volume of work she handles giving credit to her work, its extent as well as her proficiency and making key contributions

1874 Ellen Swallow teaches Science to women at Girls High School of Boston, graduates from MIT and also receives a master’s degree from Vassar College.

1875 Ellen Swallow marries Robert Richards an early MIT student & then chairman of MIT’s mining engineering dept. on their wedding trip to Nova Scotia, they bring graduate students who continue working on research projects. She & her husband donate $1000 dollars annually and Ellen Richards volunteers her service to set up and run a Woman’s Laboratory at MIT.

1876 Women’s Lab open, and Ellen teaches correspondence science courses throughout North America.

1878 Ellen and her students conduct a study on adulterated foods which leads to the nation’s first Food and Drug Acts. The American Association for the Advancement of Science elevates her status to Fellow.

1879 Ellen is the first woman elected to the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers.

1881 Ellen co-founds the Summer Seaside Laboratory that later became the world renowned Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole.

1882 Ellen co founds the organization now known as the American Association of. University Women

1883 MIT builds a new chemistry Laboratory for both women and men.

1884 Ellen appointed instructor in sanitary chemistry by MIT.

1887 Ellen’s second water study produces water purity tables leading to the nation’s first water quality standards.

1888 Ellen becomes a member of the American Public Health Association.

1889 MIT’s Institute of Technology Women’s Association established with Ellen as first President.

1890 Ellen Establishes the New England Kitchen offering instruction in low cost & nutritious food primarily directed to the working classes

1892 Ellen introduces “oekology” (ecology) in the United States.

1893 Ellen opens the Rumford Kitchen at the Chicago’s World Fair, Columbian Exposition.

1894 Ellen overhauls Boston’s school lunch program

1899 The Laboratory Section of APHA is formed, the first section initially titled Chemistry & Laboratory Section. Ellen read a paper at the Section’s first scientific session & remained active in the Section for many years.

1899 First Annual Lake Placid Conference (see https://www.lakeplacidhistory.com/home-economics-history/ )

1908 American Home Economics Association established with Ellen as its first president.

1910 Ellen receives a Doctor of Sciences degree from Smith College.

1911 Ellen Swallow Richards dies March 30 at age sixty-eight