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Henderson To Give Second FIC Global Health Lecture

By Irene Edwards

Dr. D.A. Henderson, distinguished service professor at Johns Hopkins University and director of research and development for the Office of Public Health Preparedness, will deliver a lecture entitled "Dreams and Realities in Disease Eradication," on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. The lecture is the second in a year-long series on global health issues sponsored by the Fogarty International Center to commemorate its 35th anniversary.

Dr. D.A. Henderson
A giant in the history of the fight to eradicate disease, Henderson has been on the front lines of this effort over the life of his career. From 1966 to 1977 he directed the World Health Organization's global smallpox eradication campaign. The disease was then endemic in Africa, Brazil, the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia and caused several million deaths a year. After a massive effort masterminded by Henderson, smallpox was declared eradicated as a naturally occurring disease in 1980. During this period, he founded the WHO Expanded Program on Immunization, which is now providing six vaccines to children throughout the world and which served to launch the global program for the eradication of poliomyelitis.

A graduate of Oberlin College, Henderson received his M.D. from the University of Rochester and an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. In 1955, he joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tracking disease outbreaks for the Epidemic Intelligence Service and began his lifelong interest in infectious diseases.

From 1977 to 1990, after directing the smallpox eradication campaign, Henderson was dean of the faculty of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. After 5 years of federal government service, in which he served initially as associate director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and later as deputy assistant secretary and senior science advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services, he rejoined the Hopkins faculty in 1995. From 1998 to 2001 he served as founding director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, which was established to increase national and international awareness of the medical and public health threats posed by biological weapons.

Most recently, Henderson has been called upon to help coordinate a national response to public health emergencies, including the spectre of a bioterrorist attack with smallpox or other biological agents. From November 2001 to May 2002, he was director of the HHS Office of Public Health Preparedness, of which he is now director of research and development; last August he was named by HHS Secretary Thompson as chair of the Council on Public Health Preparedness, which advises the agency on appropriate actions to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies, including those related to the threat of bioterrorism.

Henderson has been recognized for his work by many institutions and governments. In 1986 he received the National Medal of Science; he is the recipient of the National Academy of Sciences' highest award, the Public Welfare Medal, and with two colleagues he shared the Japan Prize. Recently he received from the Royal Society of Medicine the Edward Jenner Medal. In all, 13 universities have conferred honorary degrees and 15 countries have honored him with awards and decorations. In June 2002, President Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor to recognize distinguished service to the country.

All who are interested are welcome to attend the lecture and to meet with Henderson at an informal reception that will follow the talk.

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