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August 19, 2013

Richard Morrow, Pioneer in International Public Health


Richard Harold Morrow, Jr., MD, MPH, a professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of International Health since 1991, died on Saturday, August 17, at the age of 81. Morrow was a pioneer in international public health, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Public Health Association (International Health Section) in 2006. Prior to working at Johns Hopkins, Morrow established programs in public health in Ghana and Uganda; was a professor at Harvard School of Public Health; and was director of epidemiology and field research for Tropical Disease Research and Training at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Morrow and his wife Helga moved to Baltimore in 1991.

"Dick was a wonderful man whose entire life and career was dedicated to saving lives all over the world," said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH '87, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. "One of my most recent interactions with Dick was last May at a luncheon honoring a group of our students whom Dick had mentored. They had just won the International Global Health Case Competition at Emory University where Dick had served as their coach. Dick’s passion and commitment was so obvious."

Morrow obtained his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Swarthmore College; his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine; and his master’s degree in public health from Harvard School of Public Health.

He was instrumental in the establishment of programs in public health in developing countries, particularly in Uganda and Ghana. He had more than 50 years experience working with public health, quality assurance and health systems in countries around the world.  In his field, Morrow is widely known for his expertise in quality assurance management methods for developing countries; the development of burden of disease measures and their use in health sector reform; and epidemiologic methods for field trials in developing countries. He is the author of several books and hundreds of articles on a wide range of public health topics.  In addition to his international public health work, Morrow served as a mentor to hundreds of students throughout the world.

Morrow, a lifetime learner and educator, will be remembered for his brilliance, grace, humor, curiosity, generosity and above all, his integrity. He believed in the goodness of mankind. His passion for social justice and the greater good of global public health will be carried on in the lives of his wife of 54 years, their four children, their nine grandchildren and his students all over the world. The footprint he left behind is deep and permanent.

A private memorial service for him will be planned at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Richard H. Morrow Scholarship Fund in Health Systems can be made to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Checks made payable to "Johns Hopkins University" should be mailed to: JHSPH Office of External Affairs, 615 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD, 21205. Please specify "Morrow Scholarship Fund" in the memo section of the check. Contributions may also be made online at The Morrow family will be notified of all gifts.