Ralph R. Frerichs

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Ralph R. Frerichs
Born (1942-10-03) October 3, 1942 (age 80)
Berlin, Germany
EducationDVM University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
MPH & DrPH Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
SpouseRita Flynn

Ralph R. Frerichs is Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology at UCLA where he was active as a full-time faculty member in the School of Public Health for 31 years and as the Epidemiology department chair for 13 years, before retiring in late 2008.[1] Both at UCLA and in international workshops he taught epidemiologic methods, the use of rapid community-based surveys,[2][3] epidemiologic simulation models for focused research, and screening and surveillance methods for HIV/AIDS and other diseases.[4][5]

In addition, he consulted on epidemiological and management-related issues with many international agencies including the Albert Schweitzer Foundation, Population Council, UN, WHO, USAID and CDC in 16 countries:Colombia, Bolivia, Honduras, Brazil, Kenya, Bangladesh, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Mongolia, Federated States of Micronesia and the country of Georgia.

Since retirement, he authored Deadly River: Cholera and Cover-up in Post-Earthquake Haiti (Cornell University Press, 2016),[6] is engaged in panoramic photography,[7] and continues to manage the popular John Snow website,[8] which he created to honor the historical father of epidemiology, known for his insightful research on cholera.

Life and career[edit]

Ralph Frerichs was born on October 3, 1942 in Berlin, Germany, the son of physicist Rudolf Frerichs known for development of the cadmium-sulfide photoconductive cell,[9] and artist and writer Gisela Frerichs. The family moved to the United States in 1947–48, where his father joined the faculty of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.[9] Frerichs obtained his DVM in 1967 from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine at Urbana-Champaign. Following two years in Birmingham, Alabama as Captain in the US Army Veterinary Corp, he obtained the MPH and DrPH (epidemiology) in 1970 and 1973, respectively from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. While working on his doctoral dissertation (development of a computer simulation model for the control of urban rabies)[10][11] he was both a research associate with the International Center for Medical Research and Training in Cali, Colombia and an instructor at Tulane University.[12] After graduation, Frerichs became Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans,[13] and epidemiologist for the Bogalusa Heart Study, a longitudinal study of cardiovascular disease risk factors in children in the biracial community of Bogalusa, Louisiana. During his LSU years from 1973 to 1977, his publication topics included pediatric levels of blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels,[14] lipoproteins,[15] blood pressure,[16] hemoglobin.[17] and obesity.[18]

In early 1978, Frerichs joined the epidemiology faculty at UCLA, rising through the ranks from assistant to full professor, while expanding his research interests both domestically and internationally. Nationally, he focused on airport noise and mortality,[19] mental depression,[20] spatial patterns of cardiovascular disease mortality,[21] and the health impact of recycled wastewater.[22] Globally, his research included health status measures and costs of care in Bolivia,[23] microcomputer applications in Bangladesh,[24] Burma[25] and elsewhere,[26] and pediatric health indicators in Burma.[27] While in Burma (later renamed Myanmar), he developed an approach for quickly conducting community-based surveys,[28] which soon became a component of international surveillance systems. Several years later he introduced a more advanced form of the rapid survey method for use in the United States.[29]

Becoming increasing involved with HIV/AIDS, he realized the need for a simple saliva test to assist screening and surveillance activities.[30] His 1994 call in The Lancet for personal HIV screening in developing countries invoked controversy during a time when detection was viewed as worse than the disease,[31] as did his Epidemiology commentary on HIV winners and losers,[32] and his AIDS article on the harm of not permitting personal HIV screening in developing countries.[33] Controversy continued in his retirement years, when he wrote of the United Nations involvement in the origin of the world's largest cholera epidemic in Haiti,[34] later expanded in his book Deadly River featuring French epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux.[35]

Honors included the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society (1970); the American Epidemiological Society (1982, an honorary society of epidemiologists since 1927);[36] UC Berkeley's 1988 invitation as Ralph Sachs Visiting Scholar for his work in computer technology in developing countries; outstanding alumnus in 1992 of Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine;[37] and in 1997 the Prestigious Plaque for HIV/AIDS Education from Thailand's Ministry of Public Health and Bangkok's College of Public Health at Chulalongkorn University.[1]

Frerichs has two adult children, Peter[38] and Christine,[39] and is married to Rita Flynn, following the death of wife Marcy after 34 years of marriage. The couple resides in Southern California at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains.


  1. ^ a b "Ralph R. Frerichs | Department of Epidemiology". Archived from the original on 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  2. ^ Frerichs, RR (1988). "Rapid microcomputer surveys". J. Trop. Pediatr. 34 (4): 147–9. doi:10.1093/tropej/34.4.147. PMID 3172323.
  3. ^ "Rapid Survey Course".
  4. ^ Frerichs, Ralph R; Ungchusak, Kumnuan; Htoon, Myo T; Detels, Roger (2016). "HIV Sentinel Surveillance in Thailand -- An Example for Developing Countries". Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health. 8: 20–26. doi:10.1177/101053959500800105. S2CID 72699858.
  5. ^ Frerichs, RR (1991). "Epidemiologic surveillance in developing countries". Annu Rev Public Health. 12: 257–80. doi:10.1146/annurev.pu.12.050191.001353. PMID 2049138.
  6. ^ "Home". deadlyriver.com.
  7. ^ "Home". ralphfrerichs.com.
  8. ^ "John Snow - a historical giant in epidemiology".
  9. ^ a b "Collection: Rudolf Frerichs (1901-1982) Papers | Archival and Manuscript Collections".
  10. ^ "Development of a computer simulation model for the control of urban rabies | Tulane University Digital Library".
  11. ^ Frerichs, Ralph R; Prawda, Juan (1975). "A Computer Simulation Model for the Control of Rabies in an Urban Area of Colombia". Management Science. 22 (4): 411–421. doi:10.1287/mnsc.22.4.411.
  12. ^ "Back Matter". Management Science. 22 (4): 505–507. 1975. doi:10.1287/mnsc.22.4.505. JSTOR 2630116.
  13. ^ "Frerichs Description".
  14. ^ Frerichs, R. R.; Srinivasan, S. R.; Webber, L. S.; Berenson, G. R. (August 1976). "Serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels in 3,446 children from a biracial community: the Bogalusa Heart Study". Circulation. 54 (2): 302–309. doi:10.1161/01.cir.54.2.302. ISSN 0009-7322. PMID 939028.
  15. ^ Srinivasan, S. R.; Frerichs, R. R.; Webber, L. S.; Berenson, G. S. (August 1976). "Serum lipoprotein profile in children from a biracial community: the Bogalusa Heart Study". Circulation. 54 (2): 309–318. doi:10.1161/01.cir.54.2.309. ISSN 0009-7322. PMID 181171.
  16. ^ Voors, AW; Foster, TA; Frerichs, RR; Webber, LS; Berenson, GS (1976). "Studies of blood pressures in children, ages 5-14 years, in a total biracial community: the Bogalusa Heart Study". Circulation. 54 (2): 319–27. doi:10.1161/01.cir.54.2.319. PMID 939029.
  17. ^ Frerichs, RR; Webber, LS; Srinivasan, SR; Berenson, GS (1977). "Hemoglobin levels in children from a biracial southern community". Am J Public Health. 67 (9): 841–5. doi:10.2105/ajph.67.9.841. PMC 1653704. PMID 900323.
  18. ^ Frerichs, RR; Webber, LS; Srinivasan, SR; Berenson, GS (1978). "Relation of serum lipids and lipoproteins to obesity and sexual maturity in white and black children". Am. J. Epidemiol. 108 (6): 486–96. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a112647. PMID 216263.
  19. ^ Frerichs, RR; Beeman, BL; Coulson, AH (1980). "Los Angeles airport noise and mortality--faulty analysis and public policy". Am J Public Health. 70 (4): 357–62. doi:10.2105/ajph.70.4.357. PMC 1619404. PMID 7361953.
  20. ^ Frerichs, RR; Aneshensel, CS; Clark, VA (1981). "Prevalence of depression in Los Angeles County". Am. J. Epidemiol. 113 (6): 691–9. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a113149. PMID 7234858.
  21. ^ Frerichs, RR; Chapman, JM; Maes, EF (1984). "Mortality due to all causes and to cardiovascular diseases among seven race-ethnic populations in Los Angeles County, 1980". Int J Epidemiol. 13 (3): 291–8. doi:10.1093/ije/13.3.291. PMID 6490299.
  22. ^ Frerichs, Ralph R; Sloss, Elizabeth M; Satin, Kenneth P (1982). "Epidemiologic impact of water reuse in Los Angeles County". Environmental Research. 29 (1): 109–122. Bibcode:1982ER.....29..109F. doi:10.1016/0013-9351(82)90012-3. PMID 7140702.
  23. ^ Frerichs, RR; Becht, JN; Foxman, B (1980). "Prevalence and cost of illness episodes in rural Bolivia". Int J Epidemiol. 9 (3): 233–8. doi:10.1093/ije/9.3.233. PMID 6777313.
  24. ^ Frerichs, RR; Miller, RA (1985). "Introduction of a microcomputer for health research in a developing country--the Bangladesh experience". Public Health Rep. 100 (6): 638–47. PMC 1425319. PMID 3934700.
  25. ^ Frerichs, R. R.; Tar, K. T. (1988-06-01). "Use of Rapid Survey Methodology to Determine Immunization Coverage in Rural Burma". Journal of Tropical Pediatrics. 34 (3): 125–130. doi:10.1093/tropej/34.3.125. ISSN 0142-6338. PMID 2969981.
  26. ^[bare URL PDF]
  27. ^ Frerichs, RR; Tar, KT (1988). "Breast-feeding, dietary intake and weight-for-age of children in rural Burma". Asia-Pac J Public Health. 2 (1): 16–21. PMID 2968087.
  28. ^ Frerichs, RR; Tar, KT (1989). "Computer-assisted rapid surveys in developing countries". Public Health Rep. 104 (1): 14–23. PMC 1580285. PMID 2522230.
  29. ^ Frerichs, RR; Shaheen, MA (2001). "Small-community-based surveys". Annu Rev Public Health. 22: 231–47. doi:10.1146/annurev.publhealth.22.1.231. PMID 11274520.
  30. ^ Frerichs, RR; Htoon, MT; Eskes, N; Lwin, S (1992). "Comparison of saliva and serum for HIV surveillance in developing countries". Lancet. 340 (8834–8835): 1496–9. doi:10.1016/0140-6736(92)92755-5. PMID 1361596. S2CID 43211596.
  31. ^ Frerichs, RR (1994). "Personal screening for HIV in developing countries". Lancet. 343 (8911): 1506. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(94)92617-4. PMID 7911208. S2CID 10715335.
  32. ^ Frerichs, RR (1995). "HIV winners and losers". Epidemiology. 6 (3): 329–31. doi:10.1097/00001648-199505000-00025. PMID 7619946.
  33. ^ Frerichs, RR (1997). "Harm of not permitting personal HIV screening in developing countries". AIDS. 11 (7): 936–7. PMID 9189225.
  34. ^ Frerichs, RR; Keim, PS; Barrais, R; Piarroux, R (2012). "Nepalese origin of cholera epidemic in Haiti". Clin. Microbiol. Infect. 18 (6): E158–63. doi:10.1111/j.1469-0691.2012.03841.x. PMID 22510219.
  35. ^ Frerichs, Ralph R. (2016-05-01). Deadly River: Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti. The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9781501713583.
  36. ^ Paul, O. (1998-07-01). "The Last Twenty-Five Years of the American Epidemiological Society: 1972-1996". American Journal of Epidemiology. 148 (1): 104–130. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009550. ISSN 0002-9262. PMID 9663413.
  37. ^ "Tulane University" (PDF).
  38. ^ https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterfrerichs[self-published source]
  39. ^ "Home". christinefrerichs.com.