History of the Lewis College

Who is Byrdine F. Lewis? 

During the mid-1950s, hospital-based education began to transform, and significant changes required more health care professionals to support each physician. The old model of one nurse supporting one doctor no longer worked. Healthcare advances demanded many as 20 or more specialty healthcare workers per physician.

Concurrently, Grady Memorial Hospital contracted with Georgia State College to offer basic science courses to the hospital's nursing students. Following a national trend of moving health education to the collegiate environment, by 1967 the hospital strongly supported the creation of a health school at Georgia State.

In 1968, Georgia State College started a school of health professions. The founding dean, pediatrician Dr. J. Rhodes Haverty, anticipated the coming changes in health care and met them by combining traditional hospital training with university education.

“The demands of the American public cannot be satisfied by traditional means of delivery of health care…Therapeutic advances have kept pace with these diagnostic improvements by means of startling surgical manipulations, by tremendous drug knowledge and applications, and by the use of preventive vaccines and sera undreamed of twenty years ago,” said Dr. Haverty. (1969)

1967 - Medical Technology first offered as an independent program
1968 - Dr. Haverty hired; School of Allied Health began
1969 - Nursing and physical therapy programs began; occupational therapy postponed.
Late 1969 - Respiratory therapy approved by Board of Regents

Rhodes Haverty, M.D.
Founding Dean, School of Allied Health, then College of Health Sciences

Hired in 1968, Dr. J. Rhodes Haverty led the School of Allied Health, later College of Health Sciences, until 1991. As dean, he launched the school with undergraduate medical technology and nursing programs and founded the first physical therapy program offered by any university or college in Georgia. He expanded the college with respiratory therapy and nutrition degree programs, and by his retirement, he had built a robust school enrolling over 1,000 students annually.

Dr. Haverty earned his undergraduate degree at Princeton University in 1948 and graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 1953. He practiced pediatrics in Atlanta for 11 years before becoming dean. Following his retirement from Georgia State, Dr. Haverty received an honorary doctoral degree in 2004 from the university. In 2003, a lectureship was started in his name and continues as an annual event within the college. J. Rhodes Haverty Lecture speakers have included national and internationally known researchers, clinicians and policymakers.

Evangeline Lane, R.N., M.N., Ph.D.
First director of the Department of Nursing
January 1, 1969

A leader in nursing education, Lane graduated from Grady Memorial Hospital’s School of Nursing in 1945. She earned her master’s degree from Emory University and was a nurse manager at Henrietta Egleston Children’s Hospital (now Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) and Grady Hospital’s pediatric unit. Lane was director of nursing education at Crawford Long Hospital when Dr. Haverty recruited her to lead the Georgia State nursing program.

Walter L. Scott. Jr., Ph.D.
First chair of the Department of Med Tech
January 1, 1969

Dr. Scott came to Georgia State as the first official department chair for medical technology after leading a similar hospital-based program at St. Joseph’s Infirmary. Given the degree program’s pre-School of Allied Health existence, it was originally a consortium of faculty from Arts and Sciences. The first class enrolled 65 students and the first 15 graduates completed the program in the spring of 1969.

A master’s program was added in 1973 and included a hospital residency. Thirty years later, the program closed as technology changed dramatically and medical technology education once again moved to two-year colleges.

Patricia Yarborough, P.T., M.P.H., Ph.D.
First chair of the Department of Physical Therapy
April 1, 1969

Yarborough got her physical therapy post-baccalaureate education at the renowned Mayo Clinic, and went on to earn a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina. She served as the chief physical therapist at the Atlanta Orthopedic Clinic during the early-to-mid-1960s. Yarborough was leading physical therapy for the Georgia Department of Public Health at the time of her employment at Georgia State.

John M. Brown, M.D.
First medical director of the Department of Respiratory Therapy

Garold Beals, M.S.
First administrator of the Department of Respiratory Therapy
April 15, 1969

The only person in the state of Georgia authorized by the American Medical Association to teach in the new field of respiratory therapy (RT), Dr. John Brown, a physician at Crawford Long Hospital, requested an RT program for Georgia State. He became the department’s medical director and Garold Beals, a Crawford Long School of Inhalation Therapy instructor, was hired as both an instructor and administrative chair.

Staff members are the backbone of the Lewis College, providing much needed infrastructure to faculty and students. They contribute program administration, student advising, financial and human resource services, community involvement and much more. A number of staff including Becky Cain, Paula Echols, Charlotte Ivey, Barbara Smith and Leigh Walling retired from the college after devoting careers to Georgia State. Current staff, including Bill Andrews and Anthony Roberts, follow in their footsteps.

Medical assistant degree programs were added in the early 1970s, specifically in the areas of mental health and pediatrics. By 1974, the mental health assistants program morphed into a bachelor’s degree in mental health. The master’s degree was added in 1984, but ten years later the entire medical assistant program was suspended.

The pediatric assistants program closed due to outside forces when the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) discontinued the national certification examination in 1980.

At its 1968 founding, the School of Allied Health had 40 students from the pre-existing medical technology degree program. Seven of these students graduated in June 1969 as the first graduates of the new school. Two years later, 19 nursing students completed their bachelor’s degrees.

A third milestone year, 1972, produced the first graduating class of 11 physical therapy students, the first PT graduates in the state of Georgia.

In the college’s early days, faculty research consisted of individual “creative projects” outside of teaching duties. However, in 1969 a new nursing instructor, Rebecca Trooboff, brought her $182,000 five-year grant funded by the Nurse Training Act of 1964 to integrate nutrition education into the nursing curriculum, laying an early foundation for interprofessional education.

By 1975, research funding increased to over $345,000 and addressed varied and sometimes arcane subjects, such as evaluation of self-study materials in physiology, the effects of deposits of silver in albino rats, and the morphology and associated changes in cryo-preserved spermatozoa.

The apex of research funding for the college came in 2009 when research generated more than $9.9 million in funding. The following year the college received its single largest research grant of $6.6 million awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to the college’s Institute of Public Health, an academic unit started eight years earlier.

In 2015, the Lewis College received $1.1 million from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to design and evaluate interprofessional education for graduate nursing students caring for chronically ill patients. This type of educational research moves healthcare education forward, by enabling graduates to stay abreast of changes in society’s overall "bill of health."

Grady Memorial Hospital

Over the course of its existence, Georgia State has had close relation­ships with area hospitals for educa­tion, research, and post-graduation employment. Grady Memorial Hospital’s enduring relationship with Georgia State University and its health programs existed before the School of Allied Health was founded. In fact, in 1967, Grady Hospital invited officials at Georgia State to share a proposal to create a School of Allied Health. The soon-to-be school’s first program, medical technology, was also launched in the fall of 1967 with clinical labs taking place at Grady.

Once Georgia State established its degree programs, Grady contin­ued to have a role in educating students in nursing and other health­care professions, including medical technology, nutrition, physical therapy, and respiratory therapy, by providing clinical practice hours in the hospital.

By 1982 however, Grady’s nursing school enrollment was eclipsed by Georgia State and other college/ university programs. As Grady Hospi­tal faced financial crises of its own, the rising costs of maintaining a full faculty for a dwindling student enroll­ment made its nursing school no lon­ger feasible. So, after graduating its final nine diploma nursing students in June 1982, Grady Hospital’s School of Nursing merged with Georgia State’s undergraduate program.

The hospital’s nursing school, the oldest such chartered school in Georgia, produced more than 4,000 nurses from 1898 until 1982, when it linked its future with Georgia State’s School of Nursing. Grady Hospital also holds a noteworthy tie with the School of Allied Health’s founding dean. Dr. J. Rhodes Haverty completed his medical training as the chief resident in pediatrics at Grady Hospital in 1956-57.


Crawford Long Hospital/Emory Midtown Hospital

The former Crawford W. Long Hospital, now Emory Midtown Hospital, was the second hospital in Atlanta to have a profound impact on Georgia State’s health sciences programs. In the late 1960s, the Board of Regents Committee on Education sought advice from anesthesiologist Dr. John Brown of Crawford Long about the need for an inhalation therapy degree program. The board knew there was Once Georgia State established its degree programs, Grady contin­ued to have a role in educating students in nursing and other health­care professions, including medical technology, nutrition, physical therapy, and respiratory therapy, by providing clinical practice hours in the hospital.

While the hospital supported the new degree program, a lack of potential instructors challenged the young school. Only four regis­tered respiratory therapists lived and practiced in Georgia. Georgia State became just the second college or university nationwide to offer a bachelor’s degree in RT.

But Crawford Long’s impact on Georgia State wasn’t only about respiratory care. The new school’s first nursing director, Evangeline Lane, came to Georgia State directly from leading Crawford Long’s nursing school, having shepherded it through some social changes, including the acceptance of married students.

Photo credit: Bernice Dixon collection, Southern Labor Archives, Georgia State University Library