Pitt Public Health was founded in 1948 with a $13.6 million grant from the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust. The school opened its doors in 1950 as the 13th public health school in the nation.
At first, the school focused on occupational and industrial health and hygiene, especially in Pittsburgh. At that time, Pittsburgh was the world's largest producer of steel. So prominent was Pitt Public Health's research that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration used only Pitt Public Health data to create the first national standards for worker safety and health on the job.
As Pittsburgh's economy changed from heavy industry to service and high-tech industries, with a population shift from blue-collar to white-collar and elderly, Pitt Public Health's focus also changed. Since about 1986, the school has broadened its efforts to include chronic disease and geriatrics.
Research continues in such traditional Pitt Public Health study areas as infectious disease, workplace and environment problems, infant mortality, strokes and heart disease, and radiation safety.
Pitt Public Health research grants have increased dramatically since the school's founding. From 1948 to 1952, they amounted to roughly $800,000. By 1958, they rose to nearly $2 million. In 1987, they grew to $13 million, and today they are $63 million.
However, the school's most enduring contribution is its graduates, the public health leaders of tomorrow. School administrators continue to re-examine Pitt Public Health's role in training public health professionals, to improve the quality of Pitt Public Health's education, and to make students' experiences here more rewarding and satisfying.
Parran Hall, circa 1958. View more historic images in our photo gallery.
Parran Hall today.
Click here to read Research and Resources, a summary of important research conducted at Pitt Public Health in the new millennium.