Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center
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Faculty and Administrative Staff

Mervyn W. Susser, MB, BCh, DPH (1922-2014)

Mervyn W. Susser
Mervyn W. Susser, MB, BCh, DPH

Gertrude H. Sergievsky Professor of Epidemiology

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Mervyn W. Susser, began his career in community and primary health care in Alexandra, South Africa, and with his wife Zena Stein was appointed to joint charge of the Alexandra Clinic and University Health Centre. He later spent a year as a chest physician, qualified as a member of the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh), was recruited to the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at Manchester University, and served as medical officer for Mental Health for the City of Salford. From 1966 through 1978, he was professor and head of Epidemiology, Columbia University Faculty of Health Sciences. In 1978, he founded the Sergievsky Center and served as Sergievsky Professor of Epidemiology until his retirement in 1990. From 1990 through 1996, Dr Susser was editor of the American Journal of Public Health. Together with Zena Stein in 1999, he served as the joint director of the newly-founded Africa Centre for Population and Reproductive Health Research in a rural site in Kwazulu/Natal, South Africa. Dr. Susser has published 263 peer-reviewed papers, 101 miscellaneous papers, and 10 books. In 2002, an auditorium was dedicated to Mervyn Susser and Zena Stein at the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, Hlabisa, KwaZulu, and in 2004 the Susser & Stein Auditorium was named at Doris Duke Research Institute, Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, Natal University. In 2005, Dr. Susser received the Rema LaPouse Award, American Public Health Association. The same year, he was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, National Maternal Child Health Conference. In January 2007, a symposium at the University of KwaZulu Natal (CAPRISA) on HIV/AIDS was dedicated to the contributions of Mervyn Susser and Zena Stein. Dr. Susser has been invited to present the Gaylord Anderson lecture, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, April 26, 2007.


Dr. Susser has published more than 350 peer-reviewed papers, more than 100 occasional papers and reviews, and 12 books (including three editions of Sociology in Medicine).

Stein Z, Myer L, Susser M. The design of prophylactic trials for HIV: The case of microbicides. Epidemiology 2003;14:80-83.

Stein Z, Susser M, Myer L. Reply to "The Need for a "Condom-only" Control Group in Microbicide Trials. Letter by Jones H, van de Wifgert J, Kelvin E. Epidemiology 2003;14:505-506.

Susser M. About George W Bush's Iraq war. Speaker’s Corner, J Epidemiol Comm Hlth 2003;57:432.

Kuhn L, Stein Z, Susser M. Preventing mother-to-child transmission in the new millennium: the challenge of breast feeding. Paed Perinatal Epidemiol 2004; 18:10-16.

Susser M. Commentary II: Evolution of some epidemiologic methods and concepts in selected textbooks of the 20th century: A review. Soc Prev Med 2004;49:107.

Stein Z, Susser M. Letter to the Editor in response to "Regulating challenges in microbicide development." Science 2004;306:1890.

Susser M. Commentary II. Evolution of some epidemiologic methods and concepts in selected textbooks of the 20th century: a review. By Zhang FF, et al. Series History of Epidemiology. Social and Preventive Medicine 2004;49:107.

Stein ZA, Susser M. Essay Review. Measured intelligence in childhood, social class and adult outcomes across Poland’s sociopolitical transitions, 1945-1995. Int J Epidemiol 2004;33:227-230. Review of Intelligence and Success in Life by Anna Firkowska-Mankiewica. Warsaw: IfiS Publishers, 2002.

Stein ZA, Susser MW. Control groups in microbicide trials: In defense of orthodoxy. Correspondence. J Infec Dis 2005;191:1377-1378.

Susser M, Stein Z. Commentary: Donald Budd Armstrong (1886-1968) - pioneering tuberculosis prevention in general practice. Int J Epidemiol 2005.

Susser M. A personal history: social medicine in a South African setting, 1952-5, Part 1: The shape of ideas forged in the second world war. J Epidemiol Community Health 2006;60:554-557.

Susser M. A personal history: social medicine in a South African setting, 1952-5. Part 2: Social medicine in a calling: ups, downs, and politics in Alexandra Township. J Epidemiol Community Health 2006;60:662-668.

Stein Z, Susser M. Emily Kark (neé Jaspan) 1913-2006: Remembrance and reminiscence. Adler Museum Bulletin 2006;32:5-9.


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Last updated: February 14, 2017
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