5 belief that microorganisms cause disease, gained traction in the mid19th century, Melton found evidence of community-level efforts to fight life-threatening infectious diseases. In the 1840s, an image of a “pest house” illustrates early quarantine efforts. “Monterey attracted people with education, information, training, and sophistication,” said Melton. From this innovative environment, the work of the MCHD would evolve to handle waves of threats to community wellbeing. The 20th century brought an explosion in diversity to Monterey County, with the first significant recruitment of immigrant labor emerging in the 1920s. By 1924, Salinas became the wealthiest city per capita in the United States, per the Monterey County Historical Society. Advances like “ice-bunkered railroad cars” sparked a switch to nationwide shipments of lettuce and artichokes instead of the valley’s previously-prized sugar beet crop; the region was becoming The Salad Bowl of the World. By 1930, the population of Salinas ballooned to 10,263 and Dust Bowl migrants joined the expanding and increasingly diverse immigrant farmworker labor force. According to the Salinas Public Library, this concern about an influx of migrant workers grouped into labor camps motivated community-level efforts to control infectious disease. Melton described nurses as the primary influencers of public health in the MCHD’s earliest work. Their efforts reached into the forgotten 1923 One part-time doctor, one part-time nurse, and $5,000 establishes the County of Monterey Health Department (First) the health department primarily did things for people. Then we did things to people. Now we do things with people. – Dr. Robert Melton