Halbert L. Dunn, M.D. (1896-1975) was the leading figure in establishing a national vital statistics system in the United States. He attended the University of Minnesota where he earned his M.D. in 1922 and his Ph.D. in 1923. He served as an assistant in medicine at the Presbyterian Hospital of New York City from 1923-1924, and as a fellow in medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, from 1924-1925.
He was chief of the National Office of Vital Statistics from 1935-1960, first located within the U.S. Census Bureau and later within the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, finally becoming the National Center for Health Statistics in 1960.
Dunn was one of the founders of the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS) and of the Inter-American Statistics Institute (IASI). He was secretary general of the IASI from 1941 to 1952. The Halbert L. Dunn Award, named in his honor, has been presented since 1981 by NAPHSIS in recognition of outstanding and lasting contributions to the field of vital and health statistics.