Nov 252020

Teviot Place, EH8 9AG

Usher Institute
Usher Institute

The Usher Institute, originally called the John Usher Institute of Public Health, opened in 1902 at a site in Warrender Park Road (see last stop) and was funded by distiller Sir John Usher of Norton. Usher’s generosity to promote and fund public health research was inspired by the French biologist Louis Pasteur. Together with local brewers, Usher took interest in Pasteur’s fermentation experiments and the new science of microbiology. Pasteur, appalled by the state of population health in Edinburgh, convinced the brewers about the new possibilities of disease prevention presented in his research. The idea that illness was caused by germs led to a surge of optimism about medicine’s power to defeat disease. In 1986, when the Usher Institute moved here to the (Old) Medical School Building, the Royal Infirmary still operated just across the road at Quartermile. By this time, the Institute had broadened its work to focus on epidemiology (the study of health and disease in populations broadly understood) and the investigation of other factors that influence population health, such as the efficacy of health services. Plans are underway to relocate the Institute to the BioQuarter (Little France) campus, closer to the current buildings of the Medical School, where a second site has already opened.

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