Called “the intellectual and ethical founder of modern environmental medicine,” Dr. David Rall helped create the scientific field of environmental health. Many of the discoveries made in the 19 years he served as director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences continue to influence health policy and environmental regulation today. He campaigned to strengthen laws protecting water from pesticides; he released studies linking asbestos to lung damage; and he oversaw research showing lead exposure could affect children’s development.
As a young researcher at the National Cancer Institute, Rall’s work resulted in ways to prevent leukemia from spreading to the brain. The author of 180 scientific papers and recipient of many national and international honors, his contributions to science began at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, a small liberal arts school from which he graduated with a degree in zoology.