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Tulane University's Contributions to Health Sciences research and education: A Guide: Dr. Charles Bass

Distinguished Tulane Medical and Public Health Faculty and Tulane Health Sciences Alumni. Selected highlights on their contributions to medical science.

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Charles Bass

Biography

Dean, School of Medicine, 1922 - 1940
Tulane graduate - Class of 1899

Charles Cassidy Bass, M.D. (1875-1975) was Dean of the Tulane Medical School from 1922 to 1940. He was a scientist, physician, and teacher, renowned for his research in the microorganisms of tropical diseases, especially hookworm and malaria, and for the design and promotion of an effective method of personal oral hygiene. He came from a prominent medical family in Mississippi. Two of his sisters were also physicians: Mary Elizabeth Bass and Cora Bass. The bronze doors in the library were mounted in his honor and memory in 1981, through the generosity of his daughters Juanita Bass Trumbo (Mrs. Donald), Ernestine Bass Hopkins (Mrs. James W.), and Corinne Bass.

Dr. Charles Bass was known worldwide for research in bacteriology and parasitology and is credited, along with another Tulane pioneer, Dr. Foster M. Johns, as the first scientist to cultivate the parasite which causes malaria.

As an educator, Dr. Bass was responsible for the development and establishment of clinical laboratories, now in use throughout the United States and the world.

He also is known as the "Father of Preventive Dentistry" because of his study of the activity of microorganisms in human saliva. When these combine with oral plaque, tooth decay occurs. Dr. Bass advocated daily removal of the oral bacteria through proper use of a toothbrush and dental floss, making him the first to describe effective oral hygiene.