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Walter S. Mangold Award History

Walter S. Mangold was born in 1895. He attended The Ohio State University for three years prior to World War I and then served in the United States Army. In 1921, he was hired as a sanitarian by the Los Angeles County Health Department. At that time, the health and sanitary inspectors were political appointees with very little education and highly inconsistent, unsupervised practical experience. They handled complaints, outbreaks of disease, and enforced the health and sanitary rules and regulations of the governmental entity. Mangold recognized that these individuals needed to be taught modern techniques of sanitary science in class and standardized practices in the field under direct supervision of highly‐experienced individuals, and had to be tested to determine their competency. Mangold impressed his superiors with his knowledge of modern scientific sanitary practices, his practical field experience, his ability to communicate, and his teaching ability. In 1930, the Los Angeles County Health Department promoted Mangold to the position of Sanitary Instructor. He developed and taught a series of training courses, each lasting three months, which included lectures and appropriate field experiences. He utilized the basic sciences and advancements in the sanitary sciences including new methods of detection, diagnosis, and control of communicable diseases.

Mangold proceeded to help found the California Association of Sanitarians in 1930 and the National Association of Sanitarians (now NEHA) in 1937. He worked diligently to create a registration program for sanitarians. In the April 1935 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, Walter Mangold submitted the following plan to the public health leaders and educators of the United States:
  1. The American Public Health Association shall establish a Board for Certification of Sanitary Inspectors with a full‐time executive secretary. Such a board shall promulgate rules and procedures for certification, standards, and fees.
  2. The Board shall appoint State Boards of Examiners to conduct examinations and certify applicants to the Association.
  3. The Board shall set up a standard course of instruction for schools to teach. After two years, only those who have taken such a course will be eligible for examination (and certification).
  4. The U.S. Public Health Service and Rockefeller Foundation should be encouraged to cooperate with this plan in those counties where grants are given for public health work.
Mangold took the next step necessary to turn a successful, innovative program at a local and/or state level into a national effort by utilizing the knowledge and power of the American Public Health Association, the U.S. Public Health Service, and the Rockefeller Foundation to promote the professionalization of the sanitarian and the improvement of public health in the United States.

Meanwhile, he continued his own professional development by graduating in 1935 with a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. In 1939, he was appointed Lecturer and Campus Sanitarian at the University of California, Berkeley. Because of his far‐ sighted leadership as a faculty member, he rose through the academic ranks to the position of Professor of public health and became a member of the graduate faculty for sanitary science. Since he was the Campus Sanitarian, Mangold was constantly solving real‐life practical problems and developing programs that worked for the new field of college and university sanitation. In 1944, he became the Chief Sanitarian for all of the campuses of the University of California system while still a full Professor of public health.
Even though Mangold was a brilliant academician, he was always the practitioner. He continued to professionalize the sanitarian through many efforts at the local, state, and national level. He was the first Editor of the journal Sanitarian, now known as the Journal of Environmental Health. He served in this capacity from 1938 to 1944, and then was Chairman and a member of the Board of Examiners from 1937 to 1957. After World War II, Mangold worked towards the development of a bachelor’s degree program in sanitation, which later became a bachelor’s degree in environmental health, to help further professionalize the environmental health field.

Mangold’s many contributions to the environmental health field and his influence on the countless individuals that he mentored are too numerous to list. He always started with the premise that a problem could be resolved if a group of individuals worked together, used modern scientific theory, tested the potential solutions, and then revised the program as needed. He then advised people at the national level on how to utilize the program, with modifications, throughout the country. His two‐ pronged goal was to improve sanitary practice and professionalize sanitarians.

Walter S. Mangold, who died in 1978, was a person of great courage, foresight, confidence, and character. He recognized that physical possessions were insignificant compared to what a person can achieve by helping others live a better life through control of disease and injury and promotion of good health.

Reflections of prior Mangold Award Winners

  • Mangold will live forever because his name is as honey on the tongues of humanity and his life will always be an example to all of us of how we should live our own lives.
  • The award honoree will treasure the nominations document as much as, or more than, the award itself.
  • The (nominating) document serves as a guide for other individuals on how to live a wonderful professional and personal life.