The Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy is named to honor the legacy and accomplishments of Dr. Herschel S. Horowitz, scientist, educator, and public health advocate.  Dr. Herschel S. Horowitz believed that researchers must be active members of their communities.  He felt they have a responsibility to communicate risks to health, promote methods of maintaining health, generate healthy policies for the community, educate communities and serve as expert witnesses where necessary.

Herschel S. Horowitz, DDS, MPH (1932-2003) 

An internationally recognized scientist and dental researcher, Dr. Herschel S. Horowitz was born in Detroit, Michigan and earned his DDS and MPH from the University of Michigan. He was a pioneer in clinical trials, fluoride research and prevention of oral diseases and conditions. While his primary research focus was on dental caries (tooth decay) prevention though the application of different kinds of fluoride and dental sealants he also paved the way for studies of cost-benefit and cost effectiveness and addressed key issues related to scientific research ethics. He wrote with passion and candor and had a high moral commitment to his field and the communities he served.  He was a major advocate for community water fluoridation and dedicated substantial time in the United States and abroad elucidating its health benefits to a variety of audiences.

Immediately after graduating from dental school Dr. Horowitz served in the US Army in Japan as a clinical dentist. Upon his return he provided dental care for the City of Detroit public programs before beginning his MPH program. Upon completion of his MPH he joined the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps where he began his career in dental research ultimately achieving the rank of Captain. He spent most of his career at the National Institute of Dental Research (now National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Health), National Institutes of Health where he led a team of clinical and behavioral science researchers. Dr. Horowitz authored and co-authored more than 200 scientific publications and book chapters; was a Diplomat of the American Board of Dental Public Health and later served as its President; and earned numerous U.S. Public Health Service and professional association awards.

Below are a list of Dr. Horowitz’s publications:

1. Why I Continue to Support Community Water Fluoridation

Journal of Public Health Dentistry, Spring 2000
Herschel S. Horowitz, DDS, MPH

In 1997 the journal Perspectives in Biology and Medicine published an article by John Colquhoun entitled “Why I changed my mind about water fluoridation.” [PDF]

2. The Halcyon Days of Clinical Field Studies of Dental Caries Prevention, 1960-1980

Journal of Dental Research, 1998
Herschel S. Horowitz

I was born at just the right time – neither 20 years too soon nor 20 years too late – to take part as a clinical trial investigator during the halcyon days of studies designed to measure the effectiveness of various caries preventive agents and regimens. Click here to read more

3. Remarks by Herschel S. Horowitz upon Receiving the 1994 John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health

Journal of Dental Research, Spring 1995
Herschel S. Horowitz, DDS, MPH

It is a great honor for me to receive the John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health. It is probably the most prestigious award that is conferred in the field of dental public health, and it particularly satisfying to receive recognition from a group of peers who truly appreciate and understand accomplishments in one’s discipline. Click here to read more

4. Grand Rapids: The Public Health Story

Journal of Public Health Dentistry, Winter 1989
Herschel S. Horowitz

On January 25, 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first city in the world to adjust the amount of fluoride in its drinking water supply to a concentration optimum for dental health. Findings from many dental surveys in the preceding several years, conducted mostly by the US Public Health Service, had clearly indicated that a concentration of one part of fluoride to one million parts drinking water would result in children whose teeth had remarkably fewer cavities than in children who lived in communities with insufficient fluoride in water. Click here to read more

5. Combine fluoride, school-based program in a fluoride-deficient area: results of an 11-year study

The Journal of The American Dental Association, May 1986
Herschel S. Horowitz, DDS, MPH
Rhea J. Meyers, RDH, MPH
Stanley B. Heifetz, DDS, MPH
William S. Driscoll, DDS, MPH
Shou-Hua Li, Phd

In 1972, a long term, school based program to prevent dental caries using student-administered methods of applying fluorides was initiated in Nelson County, VA, an area with fluoridedeficient sources of drinking water. Click here to read more

6. Editorial: Should The Public Be Kept Informed On Health Matters?

Journal of Public Health Dentistry, Fall 1982

I have long believed that it is good for the public to have as much understanding as possible of medical science and technology, both for their own health and welfare and because such knowledge is an essential component of a democratic society. Click here to read more

7. An Overview of Results after Four Years in Kalispell, Montana

Journal of Preventive Dentistry, May-June 1976
H.S. Horowitz, DDS, MPH
S.B. Heifetz, DDS, MPH
S. Poulsen, DDS

In May, 1970, a long term study on adhesive sealant formulated from the base polymer bisphenol A-glycidyl methacrylate (bis-GMA) and polymerized by ultraviolet light was initiated in Kalispell, Montana, a community with negligible fluoride in its water supply. Click here to read more

8. School Fluoridation Studies in Elk Lake, Pennsylvania, and Pike County, Kentucky – Results after Eight Years

American Journal of Public Health and The Nation’s Health, December 1968
Herschel S. Horowitz, DDS, MPH, FAPHA
Stanley B. Heifetz, DDS, MPH
Frank E. Law, DDS, MPH, FAPHA
William S. Driscoll

Fluoride has been added to the water supplies of rural schools in an area of Kentucky and another in Pennsylvania since 1958. Studies conducted in 1966 on the level of dental caries for children who had attended the schools in the area reported. Data on fluorosis are also discussed. Click here to read more

Click here to view photos of Dr. Horowitz’ awards and honors.