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.
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.
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.