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The Cover
February 16, 2000

Victor C. Vaughan

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Dr Markel is associate professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases, associate professor of history, and Director of the Historical Center for the Health Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2000;283(7):848. doi:10.1001/jama.283.7.848

Victor Clarence Vaughan (1851-1929) was best known as the dean of the University of Michigan Medical School from 1891 to 1920. A biochemist, hygienist, public health authority, medical educator, and administrator, Vaughan was a leading figure in US medicine during the late 19th century and through the Progressive Era. For example, in 1889 (along with Michigan bacteriologist Frederick Novy), he developed one of the first systematic courses on bacteriology and germ theory for medical students. He was instrumental in the implementation of medical educational reforms years before the landmark Flexner report on medical education of 1910. In the laboratory, Vaughan applied biochemical methods to identifying putrefactive bacteria in food products in order to significantly reduce the incidence of "ptomaine poisoning" in Michigan and beyond .