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John E. Fogarty papers

Biographical note

John E. Fogarty served in the United States House of Representatives for twenty-two years (1941-1967) representing Rhode Island's Second Congressional District. His distinguished career was highlighted by a tireless promotion of program to improve and safeguard the nation's health.

As Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare, Mr. Fogarty actively encouraged the Federal Government to support and initiate health programs.

During his tenure on the Appropriations Committee the budget of the National Institutes of Health increased from approximately 3 million to 1.4 billion dollars. Fogarty's name was associated with virtually every important piece of health legislation that passed through Congress between 1949 and 1966.

The Congressman also championed the rights of labor, increased aid to education and library services, and the expansion of programs in the arts and humanities.

In other legislative efforts, Fogarty worked with Senator Lister Hill (D-Alabama) to establish the Library Services Act (1956). The history of this effort is highlighted in James Healey's monograph: John E. Fogarty: Political Leadership for Library Development. According to Healey, it was the work of Rhode Island state librarian, Elizabeth Myer that inspired Congressman Fogarty to champion library services.

Specific bills Fogarty sponsored or worked on, in conjunction with Senator Hill, included the Hill-Fogarty "Health for Peace" Bill, which opened up opportunities for research and training on an international basis. In addition, Fogarty was responsible for the enactment of authorizing legislation and the appropriation of funds for construction of the National Institute of Dental Research.

Other bills introduced by Fogarty to provide for the expansion of teaching and research for mentally retarded citizens were enacted, as were his bills to authorize distribution of books and special instruction materials for the blind, and to provide teachers for the deaf and educational films for the deaf.

The White House Conference on Aging was the result of legislation successfully sponsored by Mr. Fogarty and led to the enactment of his bill to establish an Administration of Aging in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He was the original sponsor of legislation that established the Older Americans Act of 1965.

Other legislation sponsored by Fogarty included legislation for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Control of Drug Abuse, Community Mental Health Centers Act Amendments, Community Health Service Amendments, Health Research Facilities Amendments, Water Pollution Control Act, Medical Complex Centers for Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke, Medical Library Assistance Act, Library Services Act Amendments, The Model Secondary School for the Deaf Act, and the Vocational Rehabilitation Act.

Fogarty was also the original sponsor of the legislation providing for the National Foundation on Arts and Humanities and was instrumental in the enactment of the Manpower Act of 1965, the Economic Opportunity Amendments of 1965, as well as numerous other acts to improve health services for Americans.

John Fogarty was awarded distinguished service citations by many national health organizations, veterans groups, educational associations and business chambers. He was appointed by the President of the United States as Congressional Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the World Health Assembly on seven different occasions, and was honored by the Italian Government by a decree from the President conferring the title "Commedatore al Merito della Repubblica Italiana."

Four health and educational facilities have been dedicated in Mr. Fogarty's name in the State of Rhode Island – The John E. Fogarty Occupational Training Center for the Mentally Retarded – the John E. Fogarty Medical and Rehabilitation Unit at the Joseph H. Ladd School for the Mentally Retarded – the John E. Fogarty Health Science Building at the University of Rhode Island Colleges of Pharmacy and Nursing – and the John E. Fogarty School in Foster, Rhode Island. His legislative leadership and humanitarianism earned his the title "Mr. Public Health."