1877 – 1967
Who was Béla Schick?
Béla Schick was a Hungarian-born American pediatrician. He is the founder of the Schick test. Bela Schick was born in Balatonboglár, Hungary, and brought up in Graz, Austria, where he attended medical school. In 1902 he joined the Medicine Faculty of the University of Vienna where he remained until 1923. Studying problems of immunity, he and Clemens von Pirquet first coined the term 'allergy' as a clinical entity. His discovery of a test for susceptibility to diphtheria made him world famous. From 1923 he directed the Pediatric Department of Mount Sinai Hospital, New York. From 1936 he was also professor at Columbia University. From 1950 to 1962 Schick headed the Pediatric Department of Beth-El Hospital, Brooklyn, NY. His later interests included the nutrition of the newborn and feeding problems in children.
Young Bela Schick quoted the Talmud: "The world is kept alive by the breath of children," to help persuade his father to allow him to pursue continued education in pediatrics, rather than to join the family grain merchant business in Graz, Austria. Schick became assistant at the Children's Clinic in Vienna, and later associate professor of pediatrics at Vienna University.