David D. Rutstein: Distinguished Physician

By , July 29, 2010
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Letter to Dr. Rutstein on his appointment as Distinguished Physician at the Veteran's Administration. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Public Health project staff are currently working on the papers of Dr. David D. Rutstein, Ridey Watts Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. He was a former chief of the cardiac bureau of the New York State Department of Health; deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Health (1943-1946), and taught at Harvard from 1946 to 1975.

Recently discovered in the collection were two cubic feet of records from Dr. Rustein’s career with the U.S. Veteran’s Administration.  His research at the VA concentrated on measuring and improving the quality of medical care and studies involving the genetics of alcoholism.  As a result of his recognition as an authority on national and international health care standards and policies, Dr. Rutstein was appointed a “Distinguished Physician” on July 4, 1976. The Distinguished Physician program was established in 1968 to enable the VA to benefit from the talents of outstanding medical scientists and educators. The appointment is one of the highest honors bestowed by the VA Department of Medicine and Surgery. At the time, Rustein was one of nine such physicians in the United States to be given the title.

Foundations of Public Health Policy (FPHP) is an initiative currently funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). With grant funding, the Center for the History of Medicine is enabling, for the first time, access to the manuscript collections of influential leaders in the field of public health and public health administration. FPHP is part of the Center’s larger effort to chronicle the history of public health, starting with the Harvard School of Public Health, its centers, and its institutes.

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