Understanding the Cause of Disease
With the development of the science of bacteriology at the beginning of the 20th century, breakthrough discoveries were made into the causes of highly infectious epidemics. Diseases such as yellow fever, pellagra, and tuberculosis were tackled head on by esteemed alum and faculty of NYU and Bellevue, leading to important milestones in understanding not just the cause of these diseases, but also how to prevent them.
Without the discovery of bacteria and germ theory, it would have been difficult to make the connection between the spread of disease and the importance of sanitation. Only after the underlying cause of epidemics was understood, did it become imperative to advocate for public health as a means to reduce the extensive damage epidemics brought to society.