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Béla Schick

Born: 16-Jul-1877
Birthplace: Balatonboglár, Hungary
Died: 6-Dec-1967
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Infection

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor, Scientist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Schick test for diphtheria

Military service: Austro-Hungarian Army (Medical Corps)

Béla Schick conducted important studies on allergic reactions, nutrition for infants, scarlet fever, and tuberculosis, but he is best known for introducing a quick, reliable test for diphtheria. A serious contagious disease of the throat, diphtheria causes difficulty in breathing, and can cause death by asphyxiation. Young children are especially susceptible, and the disease was responsible for tens of thousands of infant deaths annually before introduction of Schick's test, which allowed vaccinations for those deemed susceptible to the disease. Schick was a leader in the public call for widespread vaccination, which has reduced diphtheria to a rare disease in western societies.

Though his own marriage was childless, Schick authored a popular and progressive guide to raising children, Child Care Today, in which he advised against corporal punishment decades before such advice was commonplace. He founded the American Academy of Pediatrics, but generally eschewed publicity and spent as much time as possible with children on the ward and in his medical practice.

Father: Jacob Schick (grain merchant)
Mother: Johanna Pichler Schick
Wife: Catherine Fries Schick (no children)

    High School: Staats Gymnasium, Graz, Austria (1894)
    Medical School: MD, Karl Franz University
    Professor: Pediatrics, University of Vienna
    Professor: Pediatrics, Columbia University (1936-67)

    Mount Sinai Hospital Chief of Pediatrics (1923-43)
    Bethel Hospital Chief of Pediatrics (1950-62)
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    Naturalized US Citizen 1924
    Hungarian Ancestry

Author of books:
Child Care Today (1932)
The Care of Your Child from Infancy to Six (1949)
Serum Sickness (1951)


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