Established in 2010 by family, faculty, alumni and friends in honor of Dr. George Comstock

GEORGE W. COMSTOCK, MD, SPH ’56 (DrPH), was one of the world’s premier epidemiologists, conducting seminal research on tuberculosis control and treatment and on cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Dr. Comstock served as a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service for 21 years and taught at The Johns Hopkins University for more than 50 years.

Among his accomplishments, in 1957 he organized one of the first cluster-randomized trials in medicine, a study in the Bethel region of Alaska where tuberculosis was rampant, that demonstrated the effectiveness of the drug isoniazid in preventing TB. Throughout his career, Comstock developed and conducted many innovative community health studies. His work influenced generations of students who now hold top leadership positions in public health agencies and academic organizations throughout the world.

He became professor emeritus at the Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2003, but continued to teach courses on the epidemiologic basis for tuberculosis control until his death in 2007 at the age of 92. He had a thesis to review at his bedside at the end of his life.


"George Comstock was a model to generations of epidemiologists, as a researcher and teacher and above all as a caring person who worked tirelessly to make the world healthier."
Jonathan Samet, MD, former chair, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


JOSEF CORESH is the inaugural George W. Comstock Professor in the Department of Epidemiology. He also is a professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and in Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He directs the Bloomberg School’s George W. Comstock Center for Public Health Research and Prevention.

The 2010 recipient of the National Kidney Foundation’s Garabed Eknoyan Award, Coresh led the first rigorous evaluation of the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the U.S. and wrote the definitive paper on CKD trends over time. He played a leadership role in the development of the most widely used equations to estimate kidney function and was instrumental in the standardization of serum creatinine. His research activities have led to key contributions to national and international clinical practice guidelines and to the standardized definition of CKD and its stages. The CKD Prognosis Consortium, formed under his leadership, now includes 50 cohorts with over two million participants and produces several high-impact publications each year.

Coresh has led the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Program at the Bloomberg School since 1997. In 2010 he received the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention Mentoring Award. He leads the Washington County Field Center of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort, recruiting many talented ARIC investigators at Hopkins.

Since 1988, Coresh has co-authored more than 300 scientific papers and numerous book chapters cited in over 30,000 articles.