Anna M. Baetjer '20

Alumnae Achievement Awards 1972

Anna M. Baetjer ’20
Public-Health Advocate


Anna M. Baetjer ’20 was a pioneer in the fields of occupational health and industrial hygiene. After graduating from Wellesley College with degrees in English literature and zoology, Baetjer attended the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and she received her doctor of science degree in 1924. She joined the faculty of the School of Hygiene and Public Health and began exploring the ways in which the home, the factory, and the streets affected an individual’s health.

When the department of physiological hygiene became the department of chemical hygiene at Johns Hopkins in 1935, Baetjer was the only remaining physiological hygiene faculty member and was given absolute freedom in her research. She received national recognition when she completed a study for the Army concerning the effects of Army workplaces on women’s health. The National Research Council published this study in 1946 as Women in Industry, Their Health and Efficiency.

In the 1940s, Baetjer began her best-known work, studying the relationship between chromium exposure and cancer. With her significant findings, Baetjer advised companies on the hazards of chromium, and worked with the World Health Organization on establishing workplace standards for chromium exposure.

In 1951, Baetjer was elected the first female president of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, and she continued her work in environmental health. At Johns Hopkins University, Baetjer set up one of the first research and training programs in environmental toxicology, due to her concern with the effect of chemicals on health.

Baetjer retired from her faculty position in 1970, but she remained active in her research until her death in 1984.


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