Public health physician, author, and professor Harry S. Mustard became a national figure in the emerging field of public health in the early twentieth century through his work in Tennessee. Mustard was educated in his native state at the Medical College of South Carolina and the College of Charleston. He began his public health career with the U.S. Public Health Service in 1916 and was health officer for Preston County, West Virginia, in 1923.
The Commonwealth Fund selected Mustard as director of its Child Health Demonstration in Rutherford County, Tennessee, from 1924 to 1928. He also served as the county's public health officer. Mustard's success in developing a rural public health program there led to his appointment as assistant to the state commissioner of health in 1929 and as assistant commissioner in 1930. He published the results of the Rutherford County demonstration in Cross-Sections of Rural Health Progress for the Commonwealth Fund in 1930.
In 1932 Mustard joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University Medical School and then moved to the New York University College of Medicine in 1937. From 1940 to 1950, he directed the Columbia University School of Public Health, and held the DeLamar Professorship of Public Health Practice. Mustard wrote several texts, including An Introduction to Public Health (published in five editions from 1935 to 1969), Rural Health Practice (1936), and Government in Public Health (1945).
Mustard may have best described himself when he wrote in his 1935 text that “the physician entering this field . . . must be socially minded and socially adjusted . . . He must be conscious of his own work as but one cog in society's machine for human betterment.” (1)