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TODAY news for Thursday, June 8, 2006

Loma Linda University news

Reference book details LLU history of public health and preventive medicine

P. William Dysinger, MD, MPH
P. William Dysinger, MD, MPH
Ever wondered when Loma Linda University first worked in cooperation with the Peace Corps? Or who was the first biophysicist-statistician on campus?

The answers to such questions can be found in a reference book now available to the Loma Linda University community. Health to the People: A History of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Loma Linda, 1905-2004 is available on CD for the purchase price of $20 plus $5 shipping and handling.

Longtime LLU figure P. William Dysinger, MD, MPH, is the author of the history. He is emeritus associate dean in the School of Public Health and emeritus professor, department of preventive medicine, School of Medicine.

Numerous chapters of Health to the People are devoted to defining the public health disciplines, explaining their setting or stage of development when LLU became involved, and illustrating the philosophy and practice of that discipline at Loma Linda. The book also includes other chapters and offers a summary and vision for the future.

In the appendices, Dr. Dysinger included a timeline of important events, people, and newsnotes; a glossary; a list of faculty and major staff; a student roster; a bibliography of Adventist Health Study reports; and an explanation of the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which owns Loma Linda University.

“I am much impressed by my review of history that God is alive and has worked marvelously through His human servants at Loma Linda during the past 100 years,” Dr. Dysinger says in the preface. “It is truly wonderful to see how God has blessed and the many, many unique contributions Loma Linda has made to general public health education and to the promotion of health to many people in many places.”

To Dr. Dysinger, the book has been a “three-year labor of love,” according to the dedication page. He first conceived of the idea years ago, and it was one of the projects he planned to delve into after his retirement in 1992. But other pressing matters caused him to abandon the idea. In the year 2000 the idea resurfaced, he explains in his preface.

The Dysingers attended a memorial service in New Hampshire for Pastor J. Lee Neil, whereupon Dr. Dysinger recounted his friend’s contributions to the School of Public Health. Afterward, some of Pastor Neil’s children told Dr. Dysinger that they had been unaware of their father’s influence.

“It struck me forcibly that the pioneers were dying off and the records of their lives would never be recorded, or known even to their own children, unless someone took the effort to research and record them,” Dr. Dysinger writes.

Health to the People is based on extensive research, including some that he conducted at Loma Linda University and at the archives of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. His efforts included reviewing almost 100 years of minutes from the University Board of Trustees and LLU’s official publications throughout the past century. Dr. Dysinger also interviewed dozens of people.

Dr. Dysinger now lives in Tennessee with his wife, Yvonne.

To obtain a copy of Health to the People, contact Claire Ficken, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, 24951 North Circle Drive, Nichol Hall Room 1704, Loma Linda, California 92350. • Telephone: (909) 558-4664 • Fax: (909) 558-0845 • E-mail: cficken@llu.edu

By Heather Reifsnyder

TODAY news for Thursday, June 8, 2006