The following article appears to contain the earliest mention of the title Sanitarian in North Carolina Public Health records.
The Sanitarian Deserves Highest Rank Among Professional Men. Author: J Howell Way, MD, President of the North Carolina State Board of Health, Waynesville, NC
It was Wm. E. Gladstone who said the world appreciated and graded the professions in the place of public esteem according to its conception of the real value of itself of the work performed by the members of that profession in bettering the conditions of society. Accordingly at a time in the past the clergy held first place in the public mind, later the crown of perfection in human achievement was worn by the members of the medical profession, and the great Gladstone some thirty years ago said we were now on the eve of an era when the medical profession would rank all others in public esteem because its work was benefiting the world most.
It requires no specially clever discernment to perceive that we are now living in that period, and while popular conception of greatness is just now ennobling the surgeon it is evident that his right to first place is being questioned by the admirers of the medical hygienist and sanitarian, who while the surgeon rescues from imperiled position his scores or his hundreds of human lives, they are relatively few when compared with the thousands and tens of thousands whose existence with comfort and happiness is made possible by the application of modern sanitary science. High in the lists will stand, with the future social historian, the names of the men whose labors are making possible the ridding of our country from the baleful influences of hookworm disease. Now that its hurtful results to our people have been fully demonstrated, the question of helping to eliminate, in so far as may be possible, its destructive effects on the youth of the country, ceases to be purely a problem for the doctors, but becomes one for the thoughtful consideration of every intelligent citizen who regards the welfare of his community with consideration.