International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Robert R Jacobson

    Status Physician, Medical Researcher
    Country USA


    Col. Robert R Jacobson was born in Austin, Minnesota. He earned his MD from the University of Minnesota, and also gained a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. A physician and a clinician, he joined the United States Public Health Service.

    Jacobson worked at the Gillis W Long Hansen’s Disease Centre, Carville, for thirty-four years, from 1966 to 2000. He began as Chief of Medicine and in 1978 took up the position of Chief of the Clinical Branch. In 1992 he became the Director of the Division of the National Hansen’s Disease Programs and Director of the Gillis W Long Hansen’s Disease Centre, Carville.

    Jacobson's contributions to leprosy research include investigating the metabolism of anti-leprosy drugs, their immunoregulatory activity, and drug resistance, as well as epidemiology and control. He introduced Rifampin to multi-drug therapy for leprosy. He acted as an expert consultant to WHO and travelled extensively in that capacity, especially to China. He introduced the use of multidrug therapy at Carville in 1971, well before WHO arrived at a standard multiple drug therapy.

    He received Commendation, Meritorious Service, and Distinguished Service medals for his dedication and achievements. After retirement he continued to act as a clinical instruction at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine. He passed away on December 1, 2015, at eighty-three years of age.

    Source: 'Col. Robert R. Jacobson: Obituary.' The Advocate, 4 December 2015. Online.

    Go back to previous page.