The Passing of Dr. Martin D. Keller

It is with deep sorrow that we share news of the passing of Dr. Martin D. Keller, who died peacefully on Thursday, Sept. 27, at age 95.


  • Steve Barrish
October 15, 2018
Dr. Martin D. Keller

Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1923 and having studied at Yeshiva University, NYU and Cornell, Dr. Keller became a nationally recognized epidemiologist and professor who played a critical role in the formation of what is now The Ohio State University College of Public Health. 

After holding appointments at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and the Department of Preventive Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Keller took a position as associate professor of preventive medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, where he would spend nearly 40 years. 

While chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Ohio State, Dr. Keller shared his vision that the department might one day become a college of public health at Ohio State. He worked diligently over the years to secure numerous grants and develop a depth of expertise and a prestigious national reputation. His dedication paid off when in 1995 Ohio State established the first school of public health in Ohio. The school became the College of Public Health in 2007, realizing Dr. Keller’s vision. In 2014, Dr. Keller was recognized by the College of Public Health as a Champion of Public Health.

As an epidemiologist, Dr. Keller worked against the spread of infectious disease from the county level in Ohio to the national level at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His impact in Ohio continued through roles at the Ohio Department of Health, including acting chief of the Division of Communicable Diseases, chief of the Division of Chronic Diseases and Tuberculosis and chief of research and training.

We at the college send our deepest condolences to his wife, Geraldine, his three children and three grandchildren. 

In remembrance, the Keller family requested his friends and loved ones contribute to Doctors Without Borders or to our college, where he touched so many lives.

Dr. Keller’s legacy will live on at The Ohio State University College of Public Health and around the world through all the students and colleagues he inspired.

We are in touch with Dr. Keller’s family and will update you in the near future on an opportunity to celebrate his remarkable life.


About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond.  The College’s divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy.   It is ranked 23rd among all colleges of public health in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report, and also includes the top 7-ranked MHA degree program.  The College provides leadership and expertise for Ohio and the world through its Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Evaluation Studies (HOPES), Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP), and Center for the Advancement of Tobacco Science (CATS).