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“B” is for Banov, Leon (1888-1971)

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“B” is for Banov, Leon (1888-1971). Physician, public health official. Born in Poland, Banov immigrated to South Carolina in1896 to join his parents in Charleston. He received his pharmacy and medical degrees from the Medical College of South Carolina. In 1920 he became Charleston County’s first health officer. The county’s infant mortality rate led the nation, but Banov secured external funding to train midwives and a nursing service. He built an eighty-bed tuberculosis sanitorium outside the city and promoted awareness of the disease through the press and on radio. Because of his national reputation Charleston was selected as one of the initial sites for the demonstration of the Salk polio vaccine. For Leon Banov, preventive medicine and the health of Charleston’s poor and working-class citizens were the primary mission of his long and distinguished career.