Underwood, Felix

Felix J. Underwood

Mississippi State Board of Health

For demonstrating how a long-sustained, sound and expanding pattern of health services benefits a people.

For more than three decades, Felix Underwood has demonstrated how a state health official can soundly build an expanding health service for the people of a state. Under his aegis, Mississippi has extended the concept of public health from the control of epidemics to a modern concept embracing the promotion of health as well as the prevention of disease.

As an administrator, Dr. Underwood sought and received help from the medical profession, health workers of all kinds, political leaders, private foundations, and private citizens to produce a steady stream of accomplishments—county health units, child guidance clinics, supervision and training of midwives, unique programs for rural medical education, a new state medical school, a model hospital and health center survey and construction program, broad health education, mental health and service programs for workers and children—including education for responsible parenthood—and activities designed to control cancer and heart disease.

Many of these developments have influenced practice outside Dr. Underwood’s native state, even as he individually has influenced health work elsewhere. It is because of his excellent and long sustained pattern of activity in public health administration that the American Public Health Association is honored to give this Lasker award. In such work resides the essence of sound public health administration to which this Association is dedicated.