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Julius B. Richmond Papers 1941-2004; bulk 1968-1997
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Biography

Biographical Note

Julius Benjamin Richmond was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 26, 1916. During the Great Depression, he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana where he received his B.S. Richmond earned an M.S. in physiology and his MD from Illinois's College of Medicine in Chicago in 1939. He performed an 18-month rotating internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. After completing his internship, Richmond started two residencies in pediatrics: the first at Chicago's Municipal Contagious Disease Hospital (1941-1942); the second at Cook County Hospital. When the United States entered into World War II, he left Cook to volunteer for the war efforts and was inducted into the Army Air Corps in February 1942. Richmond served as a flight surgeon with the Air Force's Flying Training Command until 1946. After the war ended he returned to Cook to complete his residency.

The time spent in the war inspired Richmond to remain in public service. In 1946, he returned to the University of Illinois to become a professor in pediatrics. He was also active in nonprofit organizations to aid children's welfare as well as the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Chicago. In 1953, Richmond left his alma mater for a position at the State University of New York at Syracuse College of Medicine (now the Upstate Medical Center). He and fellow colleague Bettye Caldwell were inspired by the Supreme Court's decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case to focus their research on how environmental conditions affected child learning and development.

Richmond's work at Syracuse received the attention of Sargent Shriver, who was then head of the Kennedy Foundation. Shriver had been appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to head a new agency, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and asked Richmond to join. In 1964, Richmond took a leave of absence from Syracuse and joined Shriver at OEO. Richmond created two important public health programs under the mandate of the OEO to directly aid local groups. The first was Project Head Start in 1965. Head Start, a school readiness program that provides services for children from low-income families, is still running today. The second program was the Neighborhood Health Centers, which brought together economic development and local oversight for health delivery services.

Returning to Syracuse in 1967, Richmond became Dean of the program, but left in 1971 for Harvard Medical School. Richmond took on the challenge of being a professor for two departments, Child Psychiatry and Human Development (1971-1973) and Preventive and Social Medicine (1971-1979). Besides his duties at Harvard, he also immersed himself in helping the youth of Boston. He directed the Judge Baker Guidance Center (1971-1977) and served as Chief of Psychiatry at the Children's Hospital.

In 1977, Richmond was approached by his former OEO colleague Joseph Califano, now President Jimmy Carter's Secretary of the Department of Health Education, to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Health. Having dedicated his life to health promotion, Richmond accepted on the condition that he also be appointed Surgeon General, the most prominent spokesperson for public health. Califano agreed, and Richmond became the 12th Surgeon General of the United States.

Throughout his tenure as Surgeon General, Richmond continued to champion programs that he had helped launch during his time at OEO and continued his leadership in devising and implementing quantitative goals for public health. In 1979, Richmond issued his Healthy People: The Surgeon General's Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention known as the Healthy People Report. The report's importance is reflected in the strategic change by which the PHS sought to influence public opinion about health promotion and disease prevention by getting out information through journalists, local health departments, and other local information outlets. Since it was first introduced, the Healthy People program continues to set national health goals for each decade.

Richmond stepped down from his dual role in 1981 and returned to Harvard. He served as Professor of Health Policy until he retired in 1988 as Professor Emeritus. Although officially in retirement Richmond has remained active in public health, serving as steering committee chair for the National Academy of Science's Forum on the Future of Children and Families.