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Delta Omega


By Gerard J. Shorb, Johns Hopkins University

Part 5: The Reemergence of Delta Omega

Alpha Chapter would not return to Delta Omega until 1978, thirty-six years later. Like an orphaned child, Delta Omega struggled to come into its own during this period. From 1944 to 1948 the national Delta Omega office and the local chapters remained idle. In 1948, however, a special review of the Society, at the request of C-E.A. Winslow, former national president, took place. A Committee on Reorganization formed. In 1949, it recommended the continuation of the Society with the objective of encouraging excellence in scholarship. The chapters at Harvard, Michigan and California reactivated in this period, but Johns Hopkins, Yale and MIT did not.46 It was becoming apparent that it would take time to rebuild the Society.

In 1950, at Tulane University, a new chapter, the Eta chapter, joined Delta Omega. In 1953 the Theta Chapter at the University of North Carolina received a charter.47 The next chapter was not admitted to the Society until 1968. At that time, the University of California at Los Angeles received a charter as the Iota Chapter. Unfortunately, the very next year, the Beta Chapter at Harvard officially de-activated and in 1971, there were additional de-activations at The University of Michigan (Delta) and the University of California at Berkeley (Zeta). There was some good news, however, in 1971, as Loma Linda University received a new charter as the Kappa Chapter. By 1974, however, there were only three chapters in the Society actually active. These were the groups at Loma Linda, North Carolina and Tulane.48

The Delta Omega Lectures were given only sporadically during this period. The sources indicate that in 1951 the first Delta Omega lecture in eleven years was given. Brock Chisholm was the speaker. Apparently, there were no lectures given, however, from 1952 to 1954. In 1955 Franklin D. Murphy delivered the lecture and in 1957 it was given by Lowell Reed. In 1958, Leroy E. Burney, former Surgeon General, spoke and in 1959 M.G. Candau, former Director-General of the World Health Organization, presented the lecture.49

During the 1960s and 1970s the lectures were on a more regular basis. In 1960, George W. Beadle delivered the lecture and in 1961 it was given by Luther Terry. Fowler Hamilton gave the 1962 lecture followed by William E. Willard in 1963 and John Snyder in 1964. The next year, there was a change in format and the Society held a symposium instead of the usual lecture. The title of the symposium was "The State of the Art in Control of Communicable Diseases." In 1968 the lecture format returned. Entitled "Future Roles of Schools of Public Health," it was given jointly by George James and Reuel A. Stallones.50

In 1969, the Society offered another symposium on "New Trends in Public Health: Is Present-Day Training Relevant?" The 1970 Delta Omega Lecture was entitled "Where are We in the Race Against Starvation?" and given by Grace Goldsmith. The 1971 lecture was "The Future of the Society: A Report to the Membership" by Cynthia Stewart. In 1973, Lester Breslow delivered a lecture entitled, "Do HMO's Provide Health Maintenance?" The 1975 talk by Cicely Williams was on the topic, "The Function of Schools of Public Health." In 1976, Henrik Blum spoke on the subject of "When Do Research Findings and Public Evidence Require Action in Health Prevention and Promotion Activities?" William Herzog gave the 1977 lecture entitled "The Goal of Excellence, The Problem of Equity and the Stigma of Elitism."

Between 1942 and 1978, nine new honorary members were inducted into the Society. These included William Wilson Jameson, William Hallock Park, John Donaldson Porterfield, John C. Cutler, Anthony M.M. Payne, Abraham Horowitz, Ernest L. Stebbins, Walter Leroy Mallmann and Margaret Mead.

During this period, Delta Omega re-published two more public health classics. In 1958, the society republished George Baker's An Essay Concerning the Cause of the Endemial Colic of Devonshire. This edition contained an introduction by Huntington Williams. There were 500 copies printed of this careful study of lead poisoning in the cider-drinking population of Devonshire, England. In 1969, the Society sponsored the republication of Florence Nightingale's Notes on Nursing by Dover Publications. This was a paperback issue with a foreword by Margaret B. Dolan.