Sara Josephine Baker, MD, DrPH, was a physician known for her work in child and maternal health in the United States. She was born on November 15, 1873, in Poughkeepsie, New York. Baker attended the Woman’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary from 1894-1898. After graduation, she landed an internship at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston, Massachusetts, where her interest in helping underprivileged children began.
New York City created the first Bureau of Child Hygiene and appointed Dr. Baker as director in 1908. She used her expertise in disease prevention and education to develop programs on basic hygiene for immigrants, mothers, and children that were adopted by 35 states. Dr. Baker’s impact resulted in New York City having the lowest infant mortality rate of any major American city by 1923.
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