Public Health in Indiana - Timeline
*Entries in Italics indicate Indiana connection.
391 to 400 BC
Hippocrates, a Greek, founds profession of physicians, develops Hippocratic oath, and encourages separation of medicine from religion; earns title "Father of Medicine" (Hellemans and Bunch, 34).
The Canon of Medicine written about this time by Avicenna (Ibn Sina) is a five volume treatment of Greek and Arabic medicine that dominates the teaching of medicine in Europe until the 17th century (Hellemans and Bunch, 72).
King John of England proclaims the first English food law prohibiting adulteration of bread with ingredients such as ground peas or beans ("Milestones," 1).
Paracelsus argues that medicine should be based on nature and its physical laws; he is first to suggest the use of chemical substances, such as mercury and antimony, as remedies (Hellemans and Bunch, 106).
Lady Montagu brings to England the Turkish practice of inoculating children with smallpox. She has her two children vaccinated (Hellemans and Bunch, 179).
Zabdiel Boylston introduces inoculation against smallpox into America during the Boston epidemic (Hellemans and Bunch, 181).
First American medical society is founded in New London, Connecticut (Hellemans and Bunch, 215).
John Morgan founds first medical school in America at the College of Pennsylvania (Hellemans and Bunch, 217).
Massachusetts enacts first general food adulteration law in the United States ("Milestones," 1).
Life expectancy of male infants at birth in Massachusetts and New Hampshire is 34.5 years (Cummings, ).
An epidemic of yellow fever in Philadelphia kills about 10% of the population (Hellemans and Bunch, 243).
Napoleon offers prize for practical method of food preservation. Francois Appert eventually receives prize by introducing process of bottling or canning, heating, and then sealing (Hellemans and Bunch, 245).
English physician Edward Jenner performs first inoculation against smallpox by infecting a boy with cowpox (Hellemans and Bunch, 245).
Benjamin Waterhouse is first U.S. physician to use new smallpox vaccine--on his son (Hellemans and Bunch, 251).
Vincennes Western Sun, August 20, 1808, states the cause of diseases affecting town are to be found in the decaying grasses growing along the river.
Théophile René Laënnec of France invents the stethoscope (Hellemans and Bunch, 265).
Pandemic of cholera spreads over India, East Africa, and Asia (Hellemans and Bunch, 265).
Cholera epidemic prevails throughout Indiana. Governor Noble proclaims second Monday in November as day of fasting and prayer (Indianapolis Indiana Journal, October 27, 1832).
Oliver Wendell Holmes of Massachusetts advises doctors to prevent childbed fever (puerperal fever--common to mothers after childbirth at the time) by washing their hands and wearing clean clothes (Hellemans and Bunch, 311).
The Commission for Enquiring into State of Large Towns establishes a connection between dirt and epidemic disease in England (Hellemans and Bunch, 311).
American Medical Association is founded (Hellemans and Bunch, 315).
Indiana Medical Society is founded in Indianapolis (Russo, 40).
4.5% of Indiana's population lives in towns of more than 2,500; by 1880 this number had risen to 19.5% of Indiana's population (Thornbrough, 555).
California passes a pure food and drink law ("Milestones," 1).
A city ordinance gives the Indianapolis Board of Health broad powers over vaccination against smallpox (Thornbrough, 572-73).
Englishman, John Snow, shows that prohibiting use of well contaminated with sewage reduces incidence of cholera in the vicinity of the well (Hellemans and Bunch, 325).
Massachusetts law prohibits adulteration of milk, and three years later prohibits the feeding of distillery waste to cows (Cummings, 55).
England enacts a Food and Drugs Act (Grun, 425).
President Lincoln appoints a chemist to serve in the new Department of Agriculture - the beginnings of the Bureau of Chemistry ("Milestones," 1).
Joseph Lister of England introduces phenol as a disinfectant in surgery, reducing surgical death rate from 45% to 15% (Hellemans and Bunch, 337).
A patent for a refrigerator car is granted to William Davis, Detroit, Michigan. Davis also designs first refrigerated railroad car which is built 1869 (Carruth, 299).
Illinois passes first general state food law (Cummings, 97).
President of the Indiana State Medical Society emphasizes contaminated water, adulterated food, and "air impregnated with noxious gases" as causes of disease (Thornbrough, 668-69).
Survey of Indiana physicians shows that there is general acceptance among them that typhoid, malarial fever and cholera are caused by germs (Thornbrough, 667-68).
Louis Pasteur develops the germ theory of disease (Hellemans and Bunch, 355).
By this time all major Indiana cities have some sort of sewers, mainly to carry off rain. No more than 10% of private houses in Indiana have indoor plumbing (Thornbrough, 572).
Indiana General Assembly votes to establish a State Board of Health (Thornbrough, 668).
New York, New Jersey, and several other states pass pure food laws (Cummings, 97).
Robert Koch discovers bacterium that causes tuberculosis, the first definite association of a germ with a specific human disease (Hellemans and Bunch, 359).
Robert Koch discovers bacterium that causes cholera and shows that cholera can be transmitted by food and drinking water (Hellemans and Bunch, 361).
Dr. Harvey W. Wiley of Indiana becomes chief chemist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("Milestones," 2).
Indiana State Board of Health officially endorses germ theory in its published report (Phillips, 470).
Life expectancy of white males at birth in the U.S. is 42.5 years (Statistical Abstracts of the U.S.).
Dr. John N. Hurty is elected to the secretaryship of the Indiana State Board of Health (Russo, 44).
Paul-Louis Simond, fighting the bubonic plague pandemic in Bombay, India, realizes that fleas on rats transmit the disease to humans (Hellemans and Bunch, 391).
Indiana General Assembly passes comprehensive food and drug legislation (Phillips, 471).
U.S. Congress appropriates funds to establish food standards and to study the effects of chemicals on digestion and health ("Milestones," 2).
Congress passes law organizing U.S. Public Health and Marine Hospital Service thus establishing for the first time a federal role in public health (Duffy, 240-41).
Pure Food and Drugs Act is passed by Congress; on same day, Meat Inspection Act passes requiring federal inspection for all plants in interstate commerce (Carruth, 402, 404).
Indiana General Assembly revises its food and drug legislation, aligned more closely with federal Pure Food and Drugs Act (Outdoor Indiana, September 1970, 33).
Dr. John Hurty, Indiana State Board of Health, is elected president of the American Public Health Association (Russo, 46).
Due to influenza epidemic, Indiana Board of Health issues order banning all public gatherings in the state until October 20 (Indianapolis Star, October 10, 1918, 1).
Life expectancy of white males at birth in the U.S. is 56.34 years; all other males, 47.14 (Statistical Abstracts of the U.S.).
Indiana General Assembly passes law requiring pasteurization of milk or tuberculin testing of cattle (Madison, 314).
A separate law enforcement agency is formed--the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration. In 1930 its name is changed to the Food and Drug Administration ("Milestones," 3).
Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin in molds; it is not used clinically until the 1940s (Hellemans and Bunch, 451).
The Postum Company begins marketing frozen foods for the first time (Hellemans and Bunch, 457).
Sliced bread is introduced (Hellemans and Bunch, 457).
German chemist Gerhard Domagk discovers first sulpha drug--Prontosil (Hellemans and Bunch, 461).
Domagk uses Prontosil on his daughter to prevent infection; its success makes Prontosil famous as the first "wonder drug" (Hellemans and Bunch, 469).
Congress passes Social Security Act which immediately provides millions of dollars for public health services (Duffy, 258).
A special session of the Indiana General Assembly passes a law enabling the state to receive monies from the federal Social Security Act of 1935 (Madison, 325).
After a 5 year battle, Congress passes the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, a major revision of the 1906 law ("Milestones," 3).
Birds Eye markets first precooked frozen foods (Hellemans and Bunch, 479).
First food standards are issued--canned tomatoes, tomato puree, and tomato paste ("Milestones," 3-4).
Howard Florey and Ernst Chain develop penicillin as an antibiotic in England (Hellemans and Bunch, 483).
Freeze drying, developed first for medicine, is used for food preservation in the U.S. (Hellemans and Bunch, 483).
Study by the American Public Health Association finds Indiana far behind most states in providing public health services (Madison, 328).
Fluoridation of the water supply to prevent dental decay is introduced into the U.S. (Hellemans and Bunch, 489).
U.S. agency to control malaria in war areas becomes Communicable Disease Center, known today  as the Center for Disease Control (Duffy, 279).
X-rays from a synchrotron are used for the first time in medical diagnosis and treatment (Hellemans and Bunch, 509).
Life expectancy of white males at birth in the U.S. is 66.31 years; all other males, 58.91 (Statistical Abstracts of the U.S.).
Polio epidemic strikes U.S. affecting 47,665 persons (Hellemans and Bunch, 513).
Jonas Salk develops vaccine against polio; used for mass inoculations starting in 1954 (Hellemans and Bunch, 515).
Evarts Graham and Ernest Wydner show that tars from tobacco smoke cause cancer in mice (Hellemans and Bunch, 517).
In U.S., deep freezers capable of freezing fresh food go on sale (Hellemans and Bunch, 521).
Three weeks before Thanksgiving, U.S. cranberry crop is recalled to test for presence of a weedkiller ("Milestones," 5).
Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments pass Congress requiring drug manufacturers, for the first time, to prove to the FDA the effectiveness of their products before marketing them ("Milestones," 5).
Drug Abuse Control Amendments are enacted to regulate problems caused by abuse of depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens ("Milestones," 6).
James L. Goddard, commissioner of U.S. Food and Drug Administration, refuses to permit canned ham that has been radioactively sterilized to be used by the U.S. Army (Hellemans and Bunch, 561).
Environmental Protection Agency begins its work. Established by President Richard Nixon in July, the EPA's first director is William D. Ruckelshaus of Indiana (Carruth, 674).
National Air Quality Control Act calls for ninety percent reduction in automobile exhaust pollution by 1975 (Carruth, 677).
Over President Nixon's veto, Congress passes the Water Pollution Control Act requiring industry to stop waste discharges into water by 1985 (Carruth, 689).
Last recorded case of smallpox found in the wild is in Somalia. Smallpox thought to be extinct except in research laboratories (Hellemans and Bunch, 581).
U.S. Centers for Disease Control recognizes AIDS for first time (Hellemans and Bunch, 587).
In the aftermath of poisoning of Tylenol capsules, the FDA issues regulations requiring tamper-resistant packaging. Federal Anti-Tampering Act of 1983 makes it a crime to tamper with packaged consumer products ("Milestones," 7).
Nutrition Labeling and Education Act passes Congress requiring all packaged foods to have nutrition labeling. All health claims for foods must meet standards defined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services ("Milestones," 8).
The FDA approves the use of irradiation to kill bacteria such as E. coli in beef. The process is already in use for poultry, fruits, vegetables, and spices. Interest in irradiation increased after meatpacker had to recall 25 million pounds of contaminated hamburger (Christian Science Monitor, Archives www page, December 3, 1997, p. 2).