International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Sister Hilary Ross

    Status Medical Researcher
    Country USA


    Sister Hilary Ross was a member of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul. She began her work at the USPHS Hospital at Carville in 1923 as a pharmacist and was appointed their biochemist in 1928 until her retirement in 1960. There was no laboratory when she first arrived at Carville and she established the first one during her time there, serving as lab technician, photographer, microbiologist and supervisor.

    During the time when sulfones were discovered, Sister Hilary Ross undertook the project of taking pictures of patients both before and after treatment with the experiemental drug. She received a silver medal in 1947 at the Convention of the American Leprosy Association for her photographic exhibit on sulfone therapy. She was considered an international authority on absorption and excretion of sulfones in the blood and tissues, and from her work the exact dosages of sulfones were estimated. She also conducted investigations of the changes that take place when the leprosy bacillus invades the body.

    Sister Hilary Ross researched and illustrated an historical book on Carville hospital from its beginning until 1958. She also preserved newspaper clippings and magazine articles during her stay at the hospital.

    She was a member of the International Leprosy Association and consulting editor of the International Journal of Leprosy. She received the Damien-Dutton Award in 1958, and is considered one of the eminent pioneers in the field of leprosy. Sister Hilary Ross has published over forty papers on her investigations.

    Information from: International Journal of Leprosy: Centennial Festskrift, 1 1873-1973 and The Star, July-Sept 2001, p. 4.

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