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NIH Directors' Files 1937-1983 (bulk 1950-1970)
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Biographical Note

Brief biographies of selected NIH Directors:

Rolla E. Dyer directed the National Institutes of Health from 1942 to 1950. Specializing in infectious diseases, Dyer joined the Public Health Service in 1916. As NIH Director he was instrumental in the establishment of the Clinical Center, the National Heart Institute, the National Institute of Dental Research, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

An international authority on nutrition and dietary deficiency disease, William H. Sebrell began his Public Health Service work with Dr. Joseph Goldberger in 1926. From his position as director of the Experimental Biology and Medicine Institute Sebrell was appointed director of NIH in October 1950. He emphasized the establishment of international standards of nutrition and encouraged scientific nutrition's role within local and state health departments until his retirement in 1955.

James Shannon's research interests concentrated on kidney function, chemotherapy, and malaria. After teaching and heading various research programs and work with the government on tropical diseases during World War II Shannon joined the Public Health Service in 1949. He was appointed director of NIH in 1955 after serving three years as assistant director. As director he was particularly focused on improving the public welfare. He retired as NIH director in 1968.

Shannon's successor was Robert Q. Marston, a veteran professor and administrator of medical programs. Marston became an associate director of NIH in 1966, and also directed the Division of Regional Medical Programs. He was administrator of the Health Services and Mental Health Administration when he was appointed NIH director. Marston took interest in the nation's biomedical research program, facilitated legislation that encouraged the education of an increasing pool of health care professionals. He left his position at NIH in 1973.