Dr. Amos Christie
Amos Christie (1902-1986) was a pediatrician, child health advocate, professor, and administrator at Vanderbilt University Medical School.
Born in Eureka, California on August 13, 1902, Dr. Christie earned a B.S. degree from the University of Washington and an M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco. He was a football player in college and played in the 1924 Rose Bowl game. In 1943, he came to Vanderbilt as chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Christie was a beloved teacher at Vanderbilt and a respected humanitarian in the Nashville community. After his retirement in 1968, Dr. Christie devoted much of his time to the Vanderbilt Appalachian Student Health Coalition to establish health care delivery to the underprivileged of Appalachia.
In 1958, Dr. Christie received the John Phillips Award from the American College of Physicians for his research work concerning histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis, a disease which simulates tuberculosis clinically, is caused by a fungus. It is known as "The Vanderbilt Disease" because the basic work of isolating its cause was done here during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Dr. Christie became interested in histoplasmosis after noticing that a large percentage of patients examined on his wards and clinics revealed clinical signs of tuberculosis but reacted negatively to skin testing for that disease.
In the late 1940s, long before national civil rights legislation, Dr. Christie moved his African-American patients into the whites-only ward at Vanderbilt University Hospital. His objective was to provide the best of care to all his patients. He asked no one for permission, but just moved the African-American patients downstairs and combined the wards. Dr. Christie was particularly proud of the fact that famed Olympic athlete, Wilma Rudolph, was one of the children who was successfully treated for polio at Vanderbilt. Dr. Christie's dream was for a modern state of the art medical facility for children. This dream was achieved in 2004 with the opening of the new Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.
Dr. Amos Christie received many national awards during his life. In 1979, the American Pediatrics Society gave him their highest honor, The John Howland Award. Dr. Christie touched and enriched many lives. Perhaps his greatest legacy are the many excellent pediatricians he trained during his twenty-five years as Chief of Vanderbilt's Department of Pediatrics.
The Eskind Library also has a collection of Dr. Christie's personal papers. For more information, please consult the Inventory of the Amos Christie Papers.
Dr. Christie with the University of Washington Football squad (middle row, 12th to the right). The team played in the 1924 Rose Bowl game.
Rose Bow Squad 1924
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