Alice Hamilton's groundbreaking epidemiologic studies investigating the occupational exposures of workers to poisonous substances used in manufacturing were critical to the development of the field of industrial toxicology and epidemiology. Hamilton's work contributed to the development of regulations enforcing healthier conditions in America's workplaces. Her career powerfully illustrates how epidemiologic research can stimulate and inspire scientific inquiry to serve the public good.

Hamilton was born in 1869 to a close-knit, patrician family in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Trained as a physician in the medical department of the University of Michigan, she joined the faculty at the Woman's Medical School of Northwestern University in Chicago as professor of pathology in 1897. For 22 years, Hamilton was a resident of Hull House, a famous American settlement in Chicago founded ...

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