August 27, 1971
On this day, Dr. Robert B. Forney, professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the IU School of Medicine, returned from South Vietnam where he served as a White House consultant. Sent by President Richard M. Nixon's Advisor on Drug Abuse, Prof. Forney reviewed United States military drug-control programs and policies.
Dr. Forney had a long association with the School of Medicine, first in the 1930s as a young chemist in the (then) Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology working for Dr. Rolla Harger, the inventory of the Drunk-o-meter, to analyze poisons. After service in World War Two, he returned as a graduate student and in 1948 was the first recipient of a Ph.D. degree from the Indianapolis campus. He became Indiana's first State Toxicologist. A prominent scientist, he built a strong doctoral program and was a leading voice pressing for research as a central concern of the School of Medicine. Forney's expertise in poisons and the dangers of pesticides prompted appointments to national bodies and study committees, including his presidential appointment to review drug abuse in the armed services during the Vietnam War.
To learn more about the history of the IU School of Medicine, please contact IUPUI Special Collections and Archives firstname.lastname@example.org.