“I am strongly attached to this memorial room partly because of József Fodor himself and partly because I had my heart set on establishing the room following my becoming director. József Fodor is a role model, I deeply respect his work.”, said Dr. Anna Tompa, professor of the Department of Public Health.

József Fodor was an internationally recognised expert of public health, thanks to whom Semmelweis University was among the first in Europe to establish an institute of public health in 1874. He identified several basic principles of environmental health that are still neglected today, including air, water and soil hygiene. One of the showcases in the memorial room holds his related books.

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Dr. Anna Tompa came from the József Fodor National Public Health Centre in 2005 to head the Department of Public Health, and one of her first projects was to create the room honouring the memory of József Fodor.

“Previously, it was a storage room for out-of-date computers, where obsolete devices were piled up in disarray. Everything was moved out, the walls were painted and a 19thcentury interior was created. The refurbished furniture was borrowed from the storeroom of the Museum of Applied Arts on a long-term basis and the laboratory devices were obtained from the Hungarian Technical Museum.”, recalled Dr. Anna Tompa.

In addition to Fodor’s own works, contemporary professional books with his notes can be found in the memorial room. Visitors can also look at the correspondence of József Fodor with major international experts, such as Robert Koch. The memorial room is located on the 20th floor of the Nagyvárad tér Theoretical Building and can be visited after previously booking an appointment with the Department of Public Health.  

Similarly to József Fodor, Dr. Anna Tompa considers the field of environmental health of utmost importance and loves nature just like her grandfather, a gardened did.

“Environmental forces have a significant impact on our lives, therefore it is important to teach the doctors of the future the most relevant information.”, she said.

Pálma Dobozi
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University
Translation: Ágnes Raubinek