Shank, Robert E.

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Shank, Robert E.

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  • Shank, Robert
  • Dr. Robert Shank

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Robert E. Shank (1914-2000) was a graduate of Washington University School of Medicine, Class of 1939, and a resident at Barnes Hospital (1939-1940) and at St. Louis Isolation Hospital (1941). In late 1941 he became an assistant in research and resident physician at the hospital of the Rockefeller Institute in New York. While retaining these positions, Shank entered the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was assigned to the hospital's Naval Research Unit. Returning to civilian life in 1946, he became an associate of the New York Public Health Research Institute. In 1948 Shank was called to his alma mater in 1948 to become Danforth Professor of Medicine and head of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health.

As head of Preventive Medicine, Shank brought a new research emphasis to his department, that being nutrition studies. He contributed to many projects in this specialty of national and international importance. He was particularly associated with the formation of standards for minimum dietary allowances by the National Research Council Food and Nutrition Board. He served as a consultant to the U.S. Public Health Service, the Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defense, the Pan American Health Organization, and several food industry associations. Under his leadership, the scope of the department broadened to include work in rehabilitation, health maintenance organizations, biostatistics, applied physiology, and lipid research.

Shank became professor emeritus in 1981. He proved to be the last regular head of the department: after five years under interim leadership, Preventive Medicine and Public Health was discontinued in January 1987 and its faculty and programs assigned to other departments, notably Internal Medicine.


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David P. Wohl, Jr., Memorial—Washington University Clinics (1960-Present)

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RES played a leading role in the construction of two Medical Center buildings, the Irene Walter Johnson Institute of Rehabilitation and the David P. Wohl, Jr. Memorial Clinics and in the development of the services housed there.

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Entered into the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives December 16, 2019 1:38 PM
Revised March 30, 2020


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  1. Ordered into Aeon: Robert E. Shank correspondence. RG028-S02-ss08-B16-F06 Folder 1977, Part of Occupational Therapy Program Records
  2. Ordered into Aeon: General correspondence, 1947-1975. FC034-S15. Part of Robert E. Shank Papers
  3. Ordered into Aeon: Shank, Robert E., Vertical File

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