William A. Reinke, international health expert

William A. Reinke, a statistician and professor for 50 years at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who helped develop its department of international health, died of lymphoma Oct. 4 at his Broadmead retirement community home in Cockeysville. He was 86.

"Dr. Reinke was a central part of the Department of International Health and the School over the last five decades, serving in many capacities as professor, deputy chair, and assistant dean," David Peters, a professor and chairman of international health at Hopkins, said in an announcement of Dr. Reinke's death.


"One of the things about him was his outstanding knowledge in a wide variety of fields of public health. Today, people are trained in very narrow technical fields, but he was a generalist when it came to health planning," said Alan L. Sorkin, an adjunct professor at the Bloomberg School who established and taught the health economics course there for 33 years and is now semiretired.

"He was a pioneer in the use of operations research in public health, which was a great step forward when looking at programs," he said. "He was also an excellent statistician when working in the field with developing countries and program evaluation. His death is a great loss to the school."

The son of William Adolph Reinke, a purchasing agent, and Agnes Stranberg Reinke, a homemaker, William Andrew Reinke was born and raised in Cleveland, where he graduated from public schools.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Kenyon College in 1949 and a master's degree in business from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1950.

Drafted into the Army, he served from 1953 to 1955 at Aberdeen Proving Ground and was discharged with the rank of sergeant.

He was a mathematics instructor at Case Western Reserve University from 1959 to 1961, where he also earned his doctorate in statistics and economics in 1961.

Dr. Reinke was a senior researcher in mathematics at Corning Glass from 1961 to 1963, when he joined the University of Maryland School of Medicine as an assistant professor of preventive medicine.

He was recruited in 1964 to join what was then the Hopkins Division of International Health in the department of public health administration as an associate professor.


Dr. Reinke joined in the effort to found the department of international health, which was the world's first academic department of international health, and established the general preventive medicine residency program.

"Dr. Reinke had a meteoric rise in the department. He went from assistant professor to associate professor in 1967 to full professor in 1970," said Dr. Sorkin. "To do that in six years is almost unheard of and reflects his great intelligence and accomplishments."

He served as interim chairman of the department from 1982 to 1985, and as deputy chairman from 1989 to 1999.

Dr. Reinke urged faculty and students to apply rigorous statistical and economic methods in their evaluations of interventions, packages of services and programs.

For many years, Dr. Reinke taught management courses and research and evaluation in developing countries. He demonstrated through his teaching and research how statistical methods, management and economics could be applied to the delivery of health services in low- and middle-income countries.

"Dr. Reinke was a bedrock in the Department of International Health and his contributions to our academic programs and their rigor were unparalleled; in some ways we are all his students," Dr. Adnan Hyder, a professor of international health and an associate chair of the department, said in the Hopkins statement.


In addition to his work at Hopkins, Dr. Reinke was a consultant to the World Health Organization, the U.S. Agency for International Development and UNICEF, which took him to many developing nations.

Dr. Reinke was still working at the time of his death. Last spring, when his disease was in remission, he taught a course in behavioral economics and decision making.

"He wanted to help his students when they got into difficulties," said Dr. Sorkin, "and he always kept in touch with them after they left Hopkins."

Dr. Reinke was the author of eight books and a prolific contributor to journals and other publications.

Dr. Reinke and others who helped found the international health department were honored in 2003 as Public Health Heroes and a scholarship fund was established in their names.

The former Ruxton resident moved eight years ago to Broadmead, where he was an active member of the residents association and had served as treasurer and chairman of the finance committee.

Dr. Reinke was a member and former elder of Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church, where he had also taught Sunday school.

He was a Baltimore Colts, Orioles and Ravens fan.

A celebration of Dr. Reinke's life will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 8 at Broadmead, 13801 York Road.

He is survived by his wife of 18 years, the former Marcia Damon; a son, William Kenneth Reinke of Carroll Valley, Pa.; three daughters, Cara Ferguson, of Lynchburg, Va., Cheryl FitzGerald and Deborah Kinder, both of Towson; two stepsons, James Brockelman of Boxford, Mass., and Andrew Brockelman of Methuen, Mass.; a stepdaughter, Laura Brockelman of Leominster, Mass.; and 14 grandchildren. An earlier marriage to the former Charlene Pelton ended in divorce.

An earlier inadvertently omitted the name of a survivor. The Sun regrets the error.