Example of a Successful Program: Community Rodent Control, Philadelphia, 1959-1963

In 1959, Dr. Walton P Purdom, Director of the Division of Environmental Health, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and several of the section chiefs visited a new District Environmental Health Supervisor, Herman Koren, at Health District 5, located at 20th and Berks Streets. Their objective was to meet with the staff of the district health office including Dr. Rotan Lee, District Health Director to help in the orientation of the new supervisor to all of the facets of a complete environmental health and community health program. During the visit, Dr. Purdom suggested to Herman Koren and his staff that Health District 5 develop an innovative program in community rodent control in order to try to reduce the high levels of rats and rat bites within the district. This was the beginning of one of the most successful rodent control programs in the country and the basis for the federal War on Poverty rodent control effort.

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