William H. Park, M.D.

William H. Park

 Brief Bio

William Hallock Park (1863–1939) was the fifth president of the American Association of Immunologists, serving from 1918 to 1919. As head of the diagnostic laboratory of the New York City Department of Health from 1894 to 1936, Park oversaw the development of a major breakthrough in the treatment and prevention of diphtheria—a mass-produced antitoxin derived from the high-yield Park-Williams No. 8 strain, isolated in his laboratory by Anna Williams (AAI ’18). In addition to his post at the health department, Park served on the faculty of the New York University (NYU) College of Medicine for nearly 40 years.

Park received his M.D. from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1886. After completing his residency at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, Park spent 1889–1890 as a postdoctoral fellow in Vienna, where he became interested in bacteriology. Upon his return to New York, he resumed the practice of medicine at Roosevelt and Bellevue Hospitals, specializing in diseases of the nose and throat. Park’s association with the New York City Department of Health began in 1892, when he was appointed bacteriological diagnostician of diphtheria. Two years later, he became director of the department’s diagnostic research laboratory, a position he held for the next 42 years, although his title changed in 1910 to director of the Bureau of Laboratories as the department expanded and his responsibilities grew. While directing the health department laboratory, Park also served as visiting bacteriologist at the Willard Parker Hospital (1892–1932) and advanced through the academic ranks at the University and Bellevue Hospital College of Medicine (renamed NYU College of Medicine in 1935), where he rose from adjunct professor of bacteriology and hygiene (1898–1901) to professor of bacteriology and hygiene (1901–1933), chair of the Department of Microbiology (1933–1937), and, finally, Herman M. Biggs Professor of Preventive Medicine (1937–1939). Upon Park’s retirement from the health department in 1936, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia honored his singular achievements in public health research by naming the New York City Health Department laboratory after him. Park continued his work for the health department as director emeritus, supervising the milk certification laboratory until his death in April 1939.

 AAI Service History

Joined: 1916
President: 1918–1919
Councillor: 1916–1918, 1919–1920

The Journal of Immunology
Advisory Board: 1916–1935

 Awards and Honors

 Institutional/Biographical Links

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