Senator Lister Hill

Joseph Lister Hill (1894 – 1984), an Alabama native named for the pioneer of antiseptic surgery, Sir Joseph Lister, served his home state in the U. S. Congress for over 45 years. Of his many accomplishments, two in particular influenced public health. First, he co-authored legislation, the 1946 Hill-Burton Act, which eventually helped to finance 9,200 medical facilities and was credited with raising the number of hospital beds in low-income states and bringing medical care to rural areas. Second, as the chair of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee, Lister Hill built partnerships with citizen-advocates and activist physicians to bring unheard of increases in federal funding to medical research. This research was conducted through the National Institutes of Health and by 1967 represented more than 40% of biomedical research performed in the United States.