A slew of new obituaries for D.A. Henderson have been published in the last week, testament to D.A.’s enduring contributions to public health. The Lancet obituary relies on epidemiologist William Foege, who developed the ring vaccination strategy used by the smallpox eradication campaign that D.A. led. “He had such great tenacity. When he saw something was possible, he didn't give up,” says Foege.
In a powerful article in The Guardian, Linda Geddes surveys the decisions large and small that D.A. made and made sure they were followed to ensure the success of the campaign. This included rotating everyone (including senior leaders) through stints in the field.
“No one was allowed to dictate policy from Geneva or Washington who was not out regularly in the field and engaged in the actual work of the effort,” says Chris Beyrer, Desmond Tutu professor of public health and human rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
David L. Heymann, of the Centre on Global Health Security pens a tribute to the “great man” in Science Magazine (paywall).
If you want to read more about D.A., see his Bloomberg School obituary.
And if you have a great memory to share (or want to read some moving stories), please visit the D.A. Henderson Tribute page.
He was indeed “a great man.” And will be missed.