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George W. Comstock Professor in Epidemiology

Bloomberg School of Public Health

Established in 2010 by the Bloomberg School, family, faculty, alumni and friends in honor of Dr. George Comstock

ComstockGeorgeGEORGE W. COMSTOCK, MD, DrPH ’56 (1915-2007), was one of the world’s premier epidemiologists, conducting seminal research on tuberculosis control and treatment and on cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Dr. Comstock served as a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service for 21 years and taught at The Johns Hopkins University for more than 50 years.

Among his accomplishments, in 1957 he organized one of the first cluster-randomized trials in medicine, a study in the Bethel region of Alaska where tuberculosis was rampant, that demonstrated the effectiveness of the drug isoniazid in preventing TB. Throughout his career, Comstock developed and conducted many innovative community health studies. His work influenced generations of students who now hold top leadership positions in public health agencies and academic organizations throughout the world.

He became professor emeritus at the Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2003, but continued to teach courses on the epidemiologic basis for tuberculosis control until his death in 2007 at the age of 92. He had a thesis to review at his bedside at the end of his life.

“George was a towering figure in the field of epidemiology; those fortunate enough to have been his students knew him as an extraordinary educator who gently led us through the logic of epidemiologic thinking and discovery.” David Celentano, Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Held by Josef Coresh

coreshjosefJOSEF CORESH, MD ‘92, PhD ‘92, MHS ’92, is the inaugural George W. Comstock Professor in the Department of Epidemiology. He also is a professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and in Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He directs the Bloomberg School’s George W. Comstock Center for Public Health Research and Prevention.

The 2010 recipient of the National Kidney Foundation’s Garabed Eknoyan Award, Coresh led the first rigorous evaluation of the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the U.S. and wrote the definitive paper on CKD trends over time. He played a leadership role with Dr. Levey in the development of the globally used staging system for CKD and equations to estimate kidney function. He was instrumental in the standardization of serum creatinine. His research activities have led to key contributions to national and international clinical practice guidelines for CKD. The CKD Prognosis Consortium, formed under his leadership, now includes 70 cohorts with over 10 million participants and has become the hub for using data to answer critical questions in kidney disease.

Coresh has led the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Training Program at the Bloomberg School since 1997. In 2010 he received the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention Mentoring Award. He leads the Washington County Field Center of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort, recruiting many talented ARIC investigators at Hopkins. He expanded the research from heart disease and cancer to the vascular basis of cognitive decline and the impact of age related hearing loss.