The Sanitarian and His Duties

The Sanitarian and His Duties

The Sanitarian and His Duties (1937) is an analysis of inspection duties in environmental health, together with suggestions regarding requirements  of sanitary inspectors. This publication is a dissertation by Grace L. Loye, master of science in public administration within the Department of Public Administration of the University of Southern California. Loye was a student of Walter S. Mangold.

In its introductory chapter, Loye effectively outlines the development of inspectional services and emphasizes the need of additional consideration to the qualifications and duties of our profession. She wrote the following:

“One of the principal conclusions which forces itself upon investigators in this field is the serious need for adequate standards. Those standards which do exist arose mainly in response to local needs and out of custom and usage. There is, however, no adequate standardization of inspectional procedure or objectives, with the result that both the public and governmental officials are uninformed concerning inspectional activities. The inspectors in the main, create their own standards of inspection, restricted only by departmental rules and policies. This obviously makes for great variance in inspectional methods and procedures and undoubtedly has a deleterious effect on the morale of the inspector, for, without standards to guide him, he tends to become more or less indifferent and lax in the performance of his duties. . . . Perhaps the greatest need of inspectors, however, is adequate training. . . . The untrained layman or political appointee is no longer able to execute these duties properly.”

The analysis of duties is developed for the components of environmental health. Loye outlines the essential features of inspection for each component with major type situational subheadings. In  parallel columns opposite these situations are listed items of required information. This material dealing with the knowledge and abilities required of sanitary inspector is further subdivided into “Technical” and “Auxiliary.” The content is further classified under specific titles such as science, laws and regulation, forms and records, finance, safety measures, and public relations.

The general topic covered include: Communicable Disease Control, Water Supply, Sewage Disposal, Dairy Products, Food Sanitation, Housing, and General Sanitation. The references cited are extensive for each topical heading.

In short, this publication is our Holy Grail.  And other than the earlier licensing regulations, such as New Jersey in 1903 where a test was developed, it is the first time that our professional duties were detailed.

The copy pictured here was given to me in 1977 by A. Harry Bliss when I was a postdoc at the NEHA headquarters working on the “Report on the Role Delineation Project for Practitioners in Environmental Health.” Bliss was one of the founders of the National Association of Sanitarians and the first editor of The Sanitarian, later to be renamed the Journal of Environmental Health. The copy is autographed by Loye to Bliss, in which she enscribed:

“To A. Harry Bliss:
With every good wish for the success of your own
literary venture into the field of sanitation.
Grace L. Loye”

The Sanitarian and His Duties was published by Edwards Brothers, Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is 200 pages and originally cost $1.


NEHA History Project

Back to the NEHA Virtual Museum Webpage