Media Advisory: New York State Department of Health Unveils Statue to Honor Hungarian Physician Who Championed Handwashing to Prevent the Spread of Illness

Event: New York State Department of Health holds a ceremony to unveil a statue of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician who discovered disinfection through handwashing to prevent the spread of illness.

What: On Wed., April 24, 2019, the New York Department of Health will host a ceremony in front of Biggs Laboratory at Wadsworth Center to unveil a statue of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician who observed in 1847 that the practice of disinfection, including handwashing, drastically reduced mortality in maternity wards at Vienna General Hospital in Austria – a practice he championed until his death despite much criticism. The statue is one of twenty similar statues gifted from Tokyo to Los Angeles by the Semmelweis University to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Dr. Semmelweis's birthday in 1818. Featured ceremony speakers include Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Health Commissioner, H.E. Ambassador Istvan Pasztor, Consul General, New York, Dr. Jonathan Jakus, Director Obstetrics and Gynecology Montefiore Nyack Hospital, US Representative, Semmelweis Memorial Committee, and Dr. Jill Taylor, Director of the Wadsworth Center.

When: Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Where: The entrance of Biggs Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, NYS Department of Health, Corning Tower Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY

**For the convenience of the public, to expedite access through building security, it is suggested that anyone wishing to attend the meeting email:, to have their name placed on a list of attendees. For entry to the building, meeting attendees additionally must present a photo ID to the security personnel.**