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History of Public Health at Harvard

Manuscripts and archival collections for researching the history of public health, including resources related to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

|| Nutrition ||

Timeline of Departmental Names and Chairs

The following research was conducted by Heather Mumford in 2023. Please email us with corrections, clarifications, or questions. Also, please see the Department of Nutrition's website for a more robust narrative and a celebration of 75 years of their history. 

1913-1921: Formal departments did not exist in the early school. Rather, courses were grouped together in the catalog, and these specific “groups” were given titles. Students took public health courses at HMS, HU in Cambridge, and MIT. As far as we can tell, there were no early groups with direct connections to Nutrition. To see an isolated list of the first "departments" of the school, see The Early School (1913-1921).


1940 - Department of Biological Chemistry founded

  • A Baird Hastings (1940-1944) (or 1946?)


1942 - Department of Nutrition founded

  • Frederick J Stare (1942-1975) 


1944- Department of Biological Chemistry merges with Department of Nutrition

  • Frederick J Stare (1942-1975) 

  • Robert Geyer (1976-1982) 

  • No chair (1983-1984) 

  • Peter Goldman (1985-1990) [acting] 

  • Walter Willett (1991- 2016)

  • Frank Hu (2016- present)


Biological Chemistry


  • Founded 1940 

  • Merges with Nutrition 1944 


  1. A Baird Hastings (1940-1944) 

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