During his formative professional years, three characteristics of Dr. Stephen Smith were evident: he mobilized and enlightened citizens, researched and backed his sanitary campaigns with evidence, and declared that the public’s health required a well organized public health system staffed with well-trained professionals.
Smith and other dedicated reformers produced the landmark, “Report on the Sanitary Condition of the City,” published in 1865. His dogged pursuit of advocacy with fellow physicians led to the creation of the Metropolitan Health Board for New York City in 1866.
Smith was appointed a Commissioner of the Board and served until 1875. With other visionaries, he saw the need for a national network to engage scientists, enlighten the public, and ignite civic support for public health. Thus was born the American Public Health Association in 1872.
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