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Donald (D.A.) Henderson to Deliver 2008 Cutler Lecture

Donald (D.A.) Henderson will deliver the 2008 John C. Cutler Memorial Lecture in Global Health. His address, titled, "The Eradication of Smallpox: What We Should Have Learned…But Didn’t," will take place on Tuesday, September 23, 2008, at 3 p.m. in the auditorium of the Frick Fine Arts building on the University's Oakland campus. A reception will follow in the Cloister of the Frick Fine Arts Building. The 2008 Cutler Lecture is part of the University of Pittsburgh's International Week celebration.

Henderson is a world-renowned figure in public health and is best known for leading the global effort to eradicate smallpox, and effort he describes as "a remarkable victory for international public health." His lecture will recount the history of the 10-year program, which began almost by accident, was predicted to fail even before it started, and repeatedly came close to disaster when struck with one unexpected crisis after another. It prompted major new programs in public health—some to be admired, others to be regretted. What of the future?

Henderson is distinguished scholar at the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC and a professor at GSPH and the Pitt School of Medicine. He is dean emeritus and Professor of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a founding director (1998) of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies. From November 2001 through April 2003, he served as director of the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and, later, as principal science advisor, in the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Henderson’s previous positions include associate director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President (1990-93); dean of the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (1977-90); and director of the World Health Organization’s global smallpox eradication campaign (1966-77).

In 2002, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. He is the recipient of the National Medal of Science; the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal; and the Japan Prize, shared with two colleagues. He has received honorary degrees from 17 universities and special awards from 19 countries.

Henderson serves as an advisor to many organizations in the United States and abroad. His recent roles in this capacity have included chairman of the Technical Advisory Group on Vaccines of the Pan American Health Organization and chairman of the WHO ad hoc Orthopoxvirus Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine; a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; an honorary fellow of the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico; an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London; an honorary member of the Royal Society of Medicine; and is a fellow of a number of professional medical and public health societies.

Henderson is a member of the editorial board for the peer-reviewed journal, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice and Science. Additionally, he has authored more than 200 articles and scientific papers, 31 book chapters, and is coauthor of the renowned Smallpox and Its Eradication (Fenner F, Henderson DA, Arita I, Jezek A, and Ladnyi ID. 1988. Geneva: World Health Organization), the authoritative history of the disease and its ultimate demise. 

Henderson, a Lakewood, Ohio native, graduated from Oberlin College, from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. He served as a medical resident at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, New York.

The lecture will stream live online and can be viewed there any time after the lecture date.


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