Lloyd Noland

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Lloyd Noland

Lloyd Noland (born July 25, 1880 in Gordonsville, Virginia; died November 27, 1949 in Fairfield) established a groundbreaking public health, sanitation and medical care system on behalf of the Tennessee Coal Iron and Railroad Company in Jefferson County in the early 20th Century.

Noland was the son of George Cuthbert Powell and Rosalie (Haxall) Noland of Virginia. He graduated from Central High School in Washington D. C. in 1898 and earned his doctorate in medicine at the Baltimore Medical College in 1903. He began to practice as a resident at the Maryland General Hospital and was soon recruited to serve General Gorgas, chief sanitary officer of the Isthmaian Canal Commission in Panama in 1904. He became the chief of the Surgical Clinic at the Isthmian Canal Hospital at Colon in 1906 and married the former Margaret Gillick of New York, whom he saved from Yellow Fever, in 1907.

Lloyd Noland as a young doctor. courtesy BPL Archives

In 1913 Noland was commissioned assistant surgeon in the Medical Reserve Corps of the U. S. Navy and was soon recruited to head the industrial health and sanitation efforts of the Tennessee Company. With Gorgas' recommendation he was brought to the Birmingham District in 1917 to head the health department for TCI's Alabama division.

Noland was instrumental in reducing malaria, typhoid, smallpox, and dysentery that had been rampant among local workers. The $750,000 system he designed and implemented for TCI was a pioneering model for industrial healthcare in the United States, and influenced the development of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). In 1919 a massive new employees' hospital was constructed in Fairfield and placed under Noland's control. There he created a pioneering training program in anesthesiology as part of his efforts to recruit and train young doctors.

Noland maintained his department's offices at the TCI Employees' Hospital and resided in the Ridgely Apartments in Birmingham, where he was an active member of the Athletic Club, Southern Club, and Roebuck Golf Club. He later moved 2930 Rhodes Circle in Highland Park, and from there to Mountain Brook.

Noland died at the hospital that bears his name in 1949, following a high fever. His ashes are interred at the Sharon Cemetery in Middleburg, Virginia.

The corporation's Lloyd Noland Hospital in what is now Fairfield, as well as a main thoroughfare were named in his honor. He was inducted into the Alabama Men's Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame in 2000.