Rogers, David Elliot (1926-1994)

 Digital Record
Identifier: 832
Rogers, David Elliot (1926-1994)


  • 1959 - 1994

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Historical or Biographical Note

David Elliot Rogers, M.D., went to college before completing high school. After just one year of college, he was accepted at Cornell University. Having just turned 22 years of age, Rogers graduated from Cornell Medical School with the John Metcalf Polk Prize for highest honors and then completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Rogers returned to Cornell Medical Center to specialize in infectious diseases. He was appointed chief resident in medicine at the New York Hospital and received a Cornell faculty appointment as well as a position as visiting investigator at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research under Rene Dubos. Within a year, Rogers was appointed Chief of Infectious Diseases and had written the definitive chapter on staphylococcal infections in the third edition of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. He went on to author more than 250 major articles in medicine.

In 1959, Rogers was recruited and became chair of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical School, at the time the youngest person ever to hold such a position. In 1968, he was appointed dean of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Medical Director of Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he pioneered efforts in comprehensive care for the inner-city area of east Baltimore. When he arrived at Hopkins, only one black student had graduated in the school's history. In his first year as dean, 13 black men and women were admitted.

In 1972, he became the first president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The newly created $1.2 billion foundation became the nation's largest private philanthropy devoting its resources to addressing the problems in U.S. health care. The foundation improved access to care for the poor and underserved, infants, the elderly, the homeless, and the mentally ill.

Rogers was a founding member of the Infectious Disease Society of America, president of the Association of American Physicians, member of the Institute of Medicine, chair of the board of the Council of Foundations, as well as holding 60 other prominent appointments. In 1986, he returned to Cornell as the first Walsh McDermott University Professor of Medicine. He later assumed the reins of chair of the National AIDS Fund in Washington DC and devoted his energies to HIV prevention in a number of other appointments as well. Rogers passed away in 1994.

Language of Materials



Biographical file includes several magazine articles and newspaper clippings, a wealth of photographs, DVD, memorials, a CV, obituaries, a copy of 'Vanderbilt Alumnus' (Jan./Feb. 1968), and a memorial pamphlet from the New York Academy of Medicine (March 30, 1995).

Repository Details

Part of the VUMC Historical Images and Biographies Repository

Eskind Biomedical Library
2209 Garland Ave.
Nashville TN 37232


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