Maxwell Finland

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Maxwell Finland (March 15, 1902 — October 25, 1987) was an American scientist, medical researcher, an expert on infectious diseases. [1] [2] [3] [4] Finland led seminal research of antibiotic treatment of pneumonia.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Finland was born near Kiev, Ukraine. He immigrated as a child to the United States at the age of 4. Finland graduated cum laude from Harvard College in 1922, and from Harvard Medical School in 1926.[4]

Antibiotic research[edit]

In 1944, he worked with Chester Keefer at the Boston Medical Center on the first studies using penicillin to treat infectious diseases.[5]

He was noted for his strong criticism of pharmaceutical companies for their marketing of fixed-dose antibiotics. [6] His outspoken criticism helped in withdrawal of those drugs from the market.[1][7] He also made significant contributions to early identifications of new infectious issues, such as resistances of bacteria to antibiotics.[1]


Finland was a member of the National Academies of Sciences.[3] His name appeared on about 800 scientific papers.[1] Finland turned over the money he received for numerous awards to Harvard endowment.[1] It i estimated that between his money and the money he influenced companies to give to the school, the total contribution was around 6 million dollars.[1] An annual Maxwell Finland Award was established in 1988 by National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.[2] The National Academies Press called Finland "a giant in the field of infectious diseases".[3] National Foundation for Infectious Diseases called Finland "a distinguished scholar and scientist who pioneered work in epidemiology and antimicrobial resistance, and helped define the discipline of infectious diseases as we know it today".[2]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

  • a member of the National Academy of Sciences[3]
  • the Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians[3]
  • the Bristol Award of the Infectious Diseases Society of America[3]
  • the Chapin Award of the City of Providence[3]
  • the Philips Award of the American College of Physicians[3]
  • the Oscar B. Hunter Award of the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics[3]
  • the Sheen Award of the American Medical Association[3]
  • honorary degrees from Western Reserve and Thomas Jefferson Universities[3]
  • honorary doctor of science (honoris causa) degree from Harvard University (1982)[3]
  • Minot Chair at Harvard[8]