Haven Emerson, physician and public health official, was educated at Harvard (1896) and received his M.D. in 1899 from the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University (P&S); he received an honorary doctorate from Columbia in 1954. Emerson was an associate in physiology and medicine at P&S, 1902-14, and was the first Director of Columbia's DeLamar Institute of Public Health (1922-1940), now the Mailman School of Public Health. He held numerous public health positions including Deputy Commissioner (1914-1916) and Commissioner (1916-1918) of the Department of Health of the City of New York, and served as a member of the city's Board of Health from 1938 until his death.
Emerson served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps 1918-19. Afterwards, he directed several health and hospital surveys including those in Cleveland, 1919-1920; Athens, Greece, 1921-1931; and New York City, 1935-1937. He also served as a member of the Community Expert Statisticians of the Health Section of the League of Nations, 1920-1940.
He is credited with helping to found the Hospital Council of Greater New York in 1938, was a member of numerous professional associations and societies, the recipient of various medals and awards, and was a prolific author and editor. He married Grace Parrish in 1901 with whom he had five children. He died at Greenport, NY on May 21, 1957.