25 Most Famous Public Health Figures

  1. Robert S. McNamara – Robert McNamara headed the World Bank. His focus was on projects for education, food, and health. His most well known projects were the Maternity and Child Program and the Family Welfare Program.
  2. Lee Jong Wook – He was the Director General of the World Health Organization. While working with WHO, he worked on the Global Programme for Vaccines and Immunizations and the Stop Tuberculosis program.
  3. Dr. Mirta Roses Periago – Dr. Periago is the Director of the Pan American Health Organization, and a famous epidemiologist. In addition, she is a specialist in the fields of public health and tropical medicine. She developed partnerships with health organizations to improve in the countries serviced.
  4. Sir Edwin Chadwick – A social reformer of the 1800s. He’s known for his reforms to the Poor Laws. He worked to improve the public health and sanitary conditions.
  5. Dr Margaret Chan – Dr. Chan is a Director General of the World Health Organization. She successfully handled the H5N1 flu outbreak in 1997 and SARS outbreak of 2003 in Hong Kong.
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  7. Margaret Mead – Margaret Mead was an anthropologist most famous for work among the people of New Guinea and Samoa. She was a curator of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History.
  8. Charles Menninger – Dr. Menninger founded the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, which was the first group practice in the field of psychiatry.
  9. John Snow – Dr. Snow was most famous for his work as an epidemiologist, and for teaching the medical community about anesthesia. He developed a theory about cholera transmission.
  10. Roberto Morales Ojeda – Current Minister for Public Health in Cuba. Since he took the position, mortality rates for infants have improved, and AIDS is one-sixth as common as in the United States.
  11. Mason Andrews – Dr. Andrews was responsible for delivering the first in vitro baby in the United States, and is president of the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society.
  12. Virginia Apgar – Dr. Apgar was the anesthesiologist responsible for developing the Apgar score used on all newborns.
  13. Christiaan Barnard – Dr. Barnard performed the first heart transplant in 1967, assisted by his brother Marius.
  14. Harvey Cushing – He was a graduate of Harvard, who developed modern-day neurosurgery methods.
  15. Charles R. Drew – Researcher and surgeon who developed techniques for blood transfusions and storage of blood.
  16. Sigmund Freud – The founder of the field of psychoanalysis. He was most known for theories about repression and the unconscious mind.
  17. Theodor Kocher – Kocher was a famous thyroid surgeon, and the first surgeon to win the Nobel Prize.
  18. William Worrall Mayo – Dr. Mayo, a pioneer doctor from Minnesota was a co-founder of the Mayo Clinic.
  19. James Mayo – Son of William Mayo, was a co-founder of the clinic, and joined the practice in 1883.
  20. Charles Horace Mayo – Joined the practice run by his father and brother in 1888.
  21. Sara Josephine Baker – Her studies reduced infant mortality, health education, and hygiene. She taught girls to care for infants in their families so mothers could work.
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  23. Edward Jenner – Jenner was the scientist responsible for developing the small pox vaccine. Small pox was eradicated largely in part to Jenner’s research.
  24. Charles-Edward A. Winslow – A pioneer in the field of public health who worked to ensure health, disease prevention, and longevity, by controlling infections, and community sanitation.
  25. Clara Barton – Nurse, humanitarian, and teacher who is best known for founding the American Red Cross.
  26. Florence Nightingale – She is famous for establishing the nursing school at St. Thomas Hospital in London in 1860.
  27. Dr. Jonas Salk – Jonas Salk develop the vaccine that eradicated polio.


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