2005 UW Honorary Citation Report – Parascandola

After receiving his PhD in history of science from UW-Madison in 1968, John Parascandola spent a postdoctoral year at Harvard University and returned to UW-Madison as a faculty member to teach history of pharmacy and history of science from 1963 to 1983. From 1973 to 1981, he also served as Director of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, and since 1989 has been Chair on the Institute’s Council. In 1980, he received the Edward Kremers Aware for distinguished writing in the history of pharmacy by an American.

Parascandola was appointed Chief of the History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland in 1983 and held that position until 1992. During his tenure at HMD, Parascandola significantly increased the application of computers and other technologies to the Library’s historical collections, was notably active in promoting the Division’s services to a wide variety of audiences and developed a number of new scholarly programs. In 1992 he became the first incumbent of the position of Public Health Service Historian. His contributions as a federal employee were recognized through such honors as the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Award (1989 and 1996), the Assistant Secretary for Health’s Superior Service Award (1999), and the National Institute of Health Merit Award (1988). During his years outside academia he has continued to teach, holding visiting appointments at Johns Hopkins University, the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences at Rutger’s College of Pharmacy.

His book, The Development of American Pharmacology: John J. Abel and the Shaping of a Discipline, was awarded the George Urdang Medal for distinguished pharmaco-historical writing by the American Institute of History of Pharmacy in 1994. In 2002, Parascandola was awarded the Sidney M. Edelstein Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry by the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

Upon his retirement from the Department of Health and Human Services in January 2004, Parascandola was awarded the Surgeon General’s Medallion, the highest honor that the Surgeon General can bestor. Parascandola remains active by teaching, doing research, writing, lecturing and consulting as an eminent expert in the history of science and medicine.