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In Memoriam

Donald A. Cornely, MD, MPH (1924-2003)
Donald A. Cornely, MD, MPH ’58, former chair of the School’s Department of Maternal and Child Health, passed away in March. He was 79.

Dr. Cornely joined the Department of Maternal and Child Health (now part of the Department of Population and Family Health Sciences) in 1965. He became chair of the department in 1970. As a trained pediatrician, Dr. Cornely focused his efforts on programs to improve the well-being of infants and children. Under his leadership, the School established a nurse-midwifery training program and a formalized doctoral program for the department.

“One of Don Cornely’s greatest contribution to the field of maternal and child health is to have pioneered doctoral education for maternal child health researchers and practitioners. His legacy is the large number of MCH leaders whom he mentored here at Hopkins,” said Bernard Guyer, MD, MPH, who succeeded Dr. Cornely as department chair in 1989 and is the School’s Zanvyl Kreiger Professor of Children’s Health.

In 1990, the School established the Donald A. Cornely Scholarship in Maternal and Child Health. The fund supports a doctoral student whose research work has application for the practice of maternal and child health.

In addition to his work at the School, Dr. Cornely taught at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh and worked for the Pennsylvania Health Department. He also served as chair of the National Research Committee for the Easter Seal Society and with the organization’s board of directors. Among his prestigious awards, Dr. Cornely received the Clifford G. Grulee Award for outstanding service to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Dr. Martha Mae Eliot Award for exceptional achievement presented by the American Public Health Association.

Dr. Cornely lived in Mount Pleasant, S.C. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Marie, and their 13 children.

Charlotte Silverman, MD, MPH (1913-2003)
Charlotte Silverman, MD, MPH ’42, DrPH ’48, an influential epidemiologist at the state and federal levels championed the application of epidemiologic data when formulating public health policy, died April 17. She was 89.

In 1941, she was awarded the Mary Pemberton Nourse Memorial Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, for graduate study in public health, a prize that allowed her to enter the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (then the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health) to get her master of public health (1942) and her doctorate of public health (1948).

During World War II, she was a field epidemiologist in the U.S. Public Service’s Tuberculosis Control Division, and for a year after the war worked as an epidemiologist at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in Boston. In 1946, she moved to Baltimore to further her research in tuberculosis, first working for the Baltimore City Health Department and then in 1956 for the Maryland State Department of Health. Beginning in 1950, she also became a lecturer on epidemiology at the School.

As her career took her ever deeper into the realm of research and public health, she joined the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 1962, and studied the epidemiology of depression. Before leaving the NIMH in 1968, she had summed up her work in an authoritative text, The Epidemiology of Depression.

She next signed on with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health to evaluate the efficacy and safety of radiologic devices and to assess the long-term effects of various forms of non-ionizing radiation on human health, from the electromagnetic fields created by electric power lines to the use of X-rays and other imaging techniques. She won the FDA’s Award of Merit in 1974.

Over time, she became particularly interested in the policies and recommendations having to do with mammography. “The mammography story,” she once noted, “is a good case study for understanding the way epidemiological data must be used and how our findings must underpin the policy we develop. The ongoing debate over both the frequency of mammography and the age at which they should begin, show how dangerous it can be when we are unable to fully integrate the data we have in the policy process.”

In 1996, Dr. Silverman established The Charlotte Silverman Fund at the School of Public Health to support outstanding students and young faculty working at the juncture of epidemiology and policy.

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